Certificates of recognition may be more powerful motivators for students than monetary rewards, according to a study of 300 fifth- to eighth-graders. Data show students who received money for attending tutoring did not attend more sessions, but those receiving certificates attended 42.5% more sessions.
Facebook is a useful tool for teachers as well as students, middle-school language arts teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron writes in this blog post. She points to two recent examples where the social-networking site has been used to organize teachers and students. One educator used Facebook to gather feedback from other teachers on education reform, and a group of students used Facebook as part of a problem-solving project in class.
A Connecticut middle school that mixed low- and high-achieving students rather than tracking them into separate classes found struggling students improved their behavior and earned better grades, but some high-achieving students said they weren't being challenged. A plan to expand the pilot has drawn parent opposition.
Researchers are beginning to uncover links between studying the arts and achievement in academic subjects such as math and reading. Neuroscientists are studying whether students who learn music, visual or performing arts experience changes in brain structure and thinking that help them perform better in other areas.
To cope with the high dropout rate among the country's Hispanic students, many schools are offering mariachi music classes in order to keep students in school. The lessons keep Hispanic students interested in education, and mariachi performances make their mostly immigrant parents feel more comfortable visiting schools, officials said.