Early Intervention Can Improve Low-Income Children’s Cognitive Skills and Academic Achievement

National Head Start program conceptualized while psychologists were beginning to study preventive intervention for young children living in poverty.
As a group, children who live in poverty tend to perform worse in school than do children from more privileged backgrounds. For the first half of the 20th century, researchers attributed this difference to inherent cognitive deficits. At the time, the prevailing belief was that the course of child development was dictated by biology and maturation. By the early 1960s, this position gave way to the notion popularized by psychologists such as J. McVicker Hunt and Benjamin Bloom that intelligence could rather easily be shaped by the environment. There was very little research at the time to support these speculations but a few psychologists had begun to study whether environmental manipulation could prevent poor cognitive outcomes. Results of studies by psychologists Susan Gray and Rupert Klaus (1965), Martin Deutsch (1965) and Bettye Caldwell and former U.S. Surgeon General Julius Richmond (1968) supported the notion that early attention to physical and psychological development could improve cognitive ability.

These preliminary results caught the attention of Sargent Shriver, President Lyndon Johnson’s chief strategist in implementing an arsenal of antipoverty programs as part of the War on Poverty. His idea for a school readiness program for children of the poor focused on breaking the cycle of poverty. Shriver reasoned that if poor children could begin school on an equal footing with wealthier classmates, they would have a better of chance of succeeding in school and avoiding poverty in adulthood. He appointed a planning committee of 13 professionals in physical and mental health, early education, social work, and developmental psychology. Their work helped shape what is now known as the federal Head Start program.

The three developmental psychologists in the group were Urie Bronfenbrenner, Mamie Clark, and Edward Zigler. Bronfenbrenner convinced the other members that intervention would be most effective if it involved not just the child but the family and community that comprise the child-rearing environment. Parent involvement in school operations and administration were unheard of at the time, but it became a cornerstone of Head Start and proved to be a major contributor to its success. Zigler had been trained as a scientist and was distressed that the new program was not going to be field-tested before its nationwide launch. Arguing that it was not wise to base such a massive, innovative program on good ideas and concepts but little empirical evidence, he insisted that research and evaluation be part of Head Start. When he later became the federal official responsible for administering the program, Zigler (often referred to as the “father of Head Start”) worked to cast Head Start as a national laboratory for the design of effective early childhood services.

Although it is difficult to summarize the hundreds of empirical studies of Head Start outcomes, Head Start does seem to produce a variety of benefits for most children who participate. Although some studies have suggested that the intellectual advantages gained from participation in Head Start gradually disappear as children progress through elementary school, some of these same studies have shown more lasting benefits in the areas of school achievement and adjustment.
Practical Application

Head Start began as a great experiment that over the years has yielded prolific results. Some 20 million children and families have participated in Head Start since the summer of 1965; current enrollment approaches one million annually, including those in the new Early Head Start that serves families with children from birth to age 3. Psychological research on early intervention has proliferated, creating an expansive literature and sound knowledge base. Many research ideas designed and tested in the Head Start laboratory have been adapted in a variety of service delivery programs. These include family support services, home visiting, a credentialing process for early childhood workers, and education for parenthood. Head Start’s efforts in preschool education spotlighted the value of school readiness and helped spur today’s movement toward universal preschool.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Family-Like Environment Better for Troubled Children and Teens

The Teaching-Family Model changes bad behavior through straight talk and loving relationships.

In the late 1960′s, psychologists Elaine Phillips, Elery Phillips, Dean Fixsen, and Montrose Wolf developed an empirically tested treatment program to help troubled children and juvenile offenders who had been assigned to residential group homes. These researchers combined the successful components of their studies into the Teaching-Family Model, which offers a structured treatment regimen in a family-like environment. The model is built around a married couple (teaching-parents) that lives with children in a group home and teaches them essential interpersonal and living skills. Not only have teaching parents’ behaviors and techniques been assessed for their effectiveness, but they have also been empirically tested for whether children like them. Teaching-parents also work with the children’s parents, teachers, employers, and peers to ensure support for the children’s positive changes. Although more research is needed, preliminary results suggest that, compared to children in other residential treatment programs, children in Teaching-Family Model centers have fewer contacts with police and courts, lower dropout rates, and improved school grades and attendance.

Couples are selected to be teaching-parents based on their ability to provide individualized and affirming care. Teaching-parents then undergo an intensive year-long training process. In order to maintain their certification, teaching-parents and Teaching-Family Model organizations are evaluated every year, and must meet the rigorous standards set by the Teaching-Family Association.
The Teaching-Family Model is one of the few evidence-based residential treatment programs for troubled children. In the past, many treatment programs viewed delinquency as an illness, and therefore placed children in institutions for medical treatment. The Teaching-Family Model, in contrast, views children’s behavior problems as stemming from their lack of essential interpersonal relationships and skills. Accordingly, the Teaching-Family Model provides children with these relationships and teaches them these skills, using empirically validated methods. With its novel view of problem behavior and its carefully tested and disseminated treatment program, the Teaching-Family Model has helped to transform the treatment of behavioral problems from impersonal interventions at large institutions to caring relationships in home and community settings. The Teaching-Family Model has also demonstrated how well-researched treatment programs can be implemented on a large scale. Most importantly, the Teaching-Family Model has given hope that young people with even the most difficult problems or behaviors can improve the quality of their lives and make contributions to society.
Practical Application
In recent years, the Teaching-Family Model has been expanded to include foster care facilities, home treatment settings, and even schools. The Teaching-Family Model has also been adapted to accommodate the needs of physically, emotionally, and sexually abused children; emotionally disturbed and autistic children and adults; medically fragile children; and adults with disabilities. Successful centers that have been active for over 30 years include the Bringing it All Back Home Study Center in North Carolina, the Houston Achievement Place in Texas, and the Girls and Boys Town in Nebraska. Other Teaching-Family Model organizations are in Alberta (Canada), Arkansas, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Believing You Can Get Smarter Makes You Smarter

Thinking about intelligence as changeable and malleable, rather than stable and fixed, results in greater academic achievement, especially for people whose groups bear the burden of negative stereotypes about their intelligence.

Can people get smarter? Are some racial or social groups smarter than others? Despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, many people believe that intelligence is fixed, and, moreover, that some racial and social groups are inherently smarter than others. Merely evoking these stereotypes about the intellectual inferiority of these groups (such as women and Blacks) is enough to harm the academic perfomance of members of these groups. Social psychologist Claude Steele and his collaborators (2002) have called this phenomenon “stereotype threat.”

Yet social psychologists Aronson, Fried, and Good (2001) have developed a possible antidote to stereotype threat. They taught African American and European American college students to think of intelligence as changeable, rather than fixed – a lesson that many psychological studies suggests is true. Students in a control group did not receive this message. Those students who learned about IQ’s malleability improved their grades more than did students who did not receive this message, and also saw academics as more important than did students in the control group. Even more exciting was the finding that Black students benefited more from learning about the malleable nature of intelligence than did White students, showing that this intervention may successfully counteract stereotype threat.

This research showed a relatively easy way to narrow the Black-White academic achievement gap. Realizing that one’s intelligence may be improved may actually improve one’s intelligence, especially for those whose groups are targets of stereotypes alleging limited intelligence (e.g., Blacks, Latinos, and women in math domains.)
Practical Application

Blackwell, Dweck, and Trzesniewski (2002) recently replicated and applied this research with seventh-grade students in New York City. During the first eight weeks of the spring term, these students learned about the malleability of intelligence by reading and discussing a science-based article that described how intelligence develops. A control group of seventh-grade students did not learn about intelligence’s changeability, and instead learned about memory and mnemonic strategies. As compared to the control group, students who learned about intelligence’s malleability had higher academic motivation, better academic behavior, and better grades in mathematics. Indeed, students who were members of vulnerable groups (e.g., those who previously thought that intelligence cannot change, those who had low prior mathematics achievement, and female students) had higher mathematics grades following the intelligence-is-malleable intervention, while the grades of similar students in the control group declined. In fact, girls who received the intervention matched and even slightly exceeded the boys in math grades, whereas girls in the control group performed well below the boys.

These findings are especially important because the actual instruction time for the intervention totaled just three hours. Therefore, this is a very cost-effective method for improving students’ academic motivation and achievement.
Cited Research

Aronson, J., Fried, C. B., & Good, C. (2001). Reducing the effects of stereotype threat on African American college students by shaping theories of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1-13.

Steele, C. M., Spencer, S. J., & Aronson, J. (2002), Contending with group image: The psychology of stereotype and social identity threat. In Mark P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 34, pp. 379-440. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, Inc.
Additional Sources

Blackwell, L., Dweck, C., & Trzesniewski, K. (2002). Achievement across the adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Manuscript in preparation.

Dweck, C., & Leggett, E. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95, 256-273.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Finance and compliance


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Digital Photography Tutorials, Are a Relatively New Art

Digital Photography, now surfacing and abandoning the older art of film photography, is slowly capturing the hearts of most enthusiasts of photography in general. The more user friendly type of controls and easier accessibility made it even more popular. In film photography, where the focus is more on the negatives and developing the same, was more tuned to older enthusiasts. More, the necessity for a darkroom to develop images made this art accessible to rich people.However, say goodbye to those days where the need for darkroom is necessary and throw those negatives.Digital Photography Tutorials, are a relatively new art, is easy to learn. Just take note of this tutorial, and you would be more than prepared to take on the challenge and shoot your way to happiness!First, think of doing a Digital Photography Tutorial as a hobby, a way of capturing God’s painting to your own interpretation, which leaves you that freedom – emphasis given to the phrase “your interpretation.” Photography is a painting that is faithful to its subject, once you get to enjoy what you are doing, everything would follow.With digital photography tutorials you can use autofocus more often to make your life easier. In autofocus, you do not have to twist the focus ring as the camera would do it for you. This would come in handy in quick situations where fast shooting is needed. Try to couple it with continuous burst, and then you would be more than fine in your works!The post processing may be the very distinctive and levelled up feature that a photographer gets from transferring to digital. Post processing is the method that photographers use to enhance their photos, making them more convincing and pleasurable to the human eye. So how is this done? In post processing, you could liberally tweak the contrast of the image, brightness of the image is it is to dark or light, colour levels for emphasis of some colours, and so on. There is also an image correction option that enables you to remove blemishes from the final image – you could remove pimples or dark spots in portraits, remove vignettes that are caused by your lens hood, lessen the noise, and erase unwanted elements in the picture.But what sets from post processing is the option called high pass filter. Did you see that ultra sharp photo that looks as if it was captured using a micrometric camera? Well, those are achievable via high pass filter. The procedure for digital photography tutorials are quite simple:1. Open your image.2. Create a duplicate layer on top of the original image.3. Click on high pass filter.4. Manipulate the pixel slider. The ideal pixel count is somewhere between 2-10 px, depending on the photo, a higher pixel count is needed for more detailed photos.5. Once finished, see how the image turned grey. Change its layer mode to overlay, soft light, or hard light, depending on the picture.The high pass filter is universally used by photographers around the world, so do not be scared to use it.Photography purists are somehow bitter on what post processing has brought. They argue that is taints the very essence of photography. However, we could clearly see the improvement it had brought, so that must be taken into account. Photography, like any other form of art, is constantly growing. It must grow with other art in order to grow.Now, with the more basic principles of digital photography tutorials, it would be a lot easier for you to start. So pick up your digital camera, think of a subject, focus, and then shoot! After all, digital photography is a revolutionized art for everyone to enjoy!

Posted in Digital Arts | Tagged | Comments Off

Make Use Of The Services Of The Best Web Hosting Company and Avail Good Bandwidth

Not all people who would like to own a website or websites are knowledgeable about how the Internet and the website hosting are operating. Most novices in the Internet industry are dependent on information also provided by the Internet. For people to know how to make use of the services of the best web hosting company, and avail good bandwidth is to learn the importance of bandwidth. Actually, there are two essential components for web hosting plan, the bandwidth and web space. Web space refers to the volume of data that you can keep on the hard disk of the server of your web hosting company. Each customer of the hosting company is allowed to use a certain size of space, which is commonly between fifty and a thousand mega bytes. On the other hand, bandwidth is the volume of data that you are permitted to transfer on a monthly basis by your web hosting service provider. The things to consider in determining the size of bandwidth you need is the size of pages and the number of visitors. This means, you first must determine how much visitors you expect and how many pages they visit.The best hosting company is that one which you can trust to give the kind of service you need. It should be able to provide several extra facilities for the improvement of your website. The web hosting company will allow you to acquire the needed bandwidth at the most reasonable price and will provide additional bandwidth as your website grows. This in effect will be savings on the developmental stage of your website development. The best hosting company should also provide you with the expertise, which will help you, build your website. It should not only be concerned with profit, but on giving good service to customers.Before you enter into a contract with a web hosting company, determine the capacity of its server. Make sure that it is capable of providing the bandwidth you require and the future addition that it promises or states in the contract. This is the way on how to make use of the services of the best web hosting company for you to avail of good bandwidth.

Posted in Industrial Goods Services | Tagged | Comments Off