Cognitive Enhancements Solutions - Learning Programs for Children

J.P. Das becomes a member of the Order of Canada

das order of canada 1A professor emeritus of Educational Psychology, and a former Director of Centre on Developmental and Learning Disabilities  at the University of Alberta, JP Das  is credited for his internationally recognized work in the field of cognitive psychology, notably in the development of one of the first “brain-based” theory of intelligence, PASS.

The theory led to the co-development of the Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment System, now used as an alternative to the traditional IQ test.

He has  constructed both an assessment framework and practical tools designed to improve children’s reading, mathematics and cognitive processes.

For these contributions spanning five decades, Dr. Das was inducted into the Order of Canada — the nation's highest civilian honour — on July 1, 2015.

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Special Education Students Have a Lot to Offer Your Child

Special Education Students have a lot to offerEvery year we have parents who want to know if their child has been placed in a class with special needs students. Often parents want their children moved to a class with no special education students due to their fears that their children will not get enough of the teacher’s attention in such a class. What these parents fail to realize is that they are keeping their students from valuable learning in doing so.

First, the obvious...

Children today are often sheltered from harsh realities of life. I am as guilty of this as other parents are, trying to teach my girls about those that are less fortunate or who have physical challenges without scaring them or painting too dark of a picture of the big, bad world out there. Unfortunately when children have not been exposed to differently-abled persons, they often stare and make judgements when presented with a special education child.

Having your child in a classroom with children of many different abilities, from the most gifted and talented to those with significant learning difficulties or even physical handicaps, can teach your child valuable life lessons: to be helpful, to treat others with respect and kindness, to look for the strengths of each individual, etc. I have seen the pride in many a parent’s eyes at conferences when I share how his/her child aided another child in some way in the classroom. The awesome thing is that this has been true for both the “typical” children in my classroom as well as the special education children.

Is diversity really all that important?

A homogeneous group of students have little to offer each other in terms of learning. Valuable learning experiences come from differences in background and experiences. Students learn from their dissimilar peers to think critically, to support a position, and to investigate all possible answers before arriving at a conclusion. Your child will learn to value the opinions of others by being exposed to individuals that are unlike him/herself.

What we remember over time

Much research has been conducted about different learning and study strategies. What has emerged is a graduated list of activities that will ensure a greater level of understanding and memory of information. For those parents that worried about their children getting enough attention or learning as much as they would have with no special education students in the class, they need only be shown the value in the rehearsal their children receive in this class. Those that see, hear, or write the information remember somewhere less than 30% of what they are taught. Saying the information aloud or processing it as they explain it to someone else will move students up to the 70-90% retention rate.

The bottom line with special education students

Your child will achieve a deeper, more meaningful education in a diverse classroom with students of all levels. Special education students are required to be fully included in the regular classroom to the full extent they are able according to federal law. Children of all ability levels bring a wealth of experiences and talents to the classroom that enrich the lives of those they come in contact with.

Free Reading Activities to Aid in Reading Comprehension

Free Reading ActivitiesThe push due to the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects is to bring more challenging disciplinary texts to our students at all grade levels. Often these complex texts contain vocabulary and background knowledge that very few students bring to the table. Similarly, the sentence structure and writing style of the various disciplines is challenging even for adults. What free reading strategies can teachers use to make reading comprehension more manageable to our students in the texts of each discipline?

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Wisconsin Student Learning Objectives in Teacher Evaluation and Student Performance

Teacher Evaluation ConsortiumWisconsin’s waiver for the No Child Left Behind legislation was approved on July 6, 2012. This waiver approval set many new initiatives in motion designed to improve achievement. I am fortunate enough to be able to participate in a pilot of one of the major components in the new effectiveness teacher evaluation system that will take place during the 2012-13 school year.

Multi-faceted effectiveness in a teacher evaluation

Fifty percent of a teacher’s evaluation, according to the waiver, will be made up of factors the teacher controls independently, ie. planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities. This portion of the evaluation will be largely based on the work of Charlotte Danielson.

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How Will the Common Core Standards Affect Special Education?

Common CoreIn the search for a more rigorous education in the United States, a set of Common Core Standards are basically becoming the first set of national standards American schools have ever adopted. Currently the standards have been chosen as the representative standards for 46 states and the District of Columbia — for example, English, Language Arts, and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Curricular materials are being developed to match the demands of the standards, which are much more specific regarding the elements that are to be taught in what grade than many previous sets of standards. What remains to be seen is how widespread the implications will be for special education in regard to these standards.

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