Though studies have shown student musicians do better academically than their peers, many have questioned the causation between the two. However, new research from Germany provides evidence that improved academic performance is truly a result of musical training, providing strong evidence for the benefits of continuing musical programs in schools.
College is a time of transformation and strife, argues Dr. Susan Whitbourne. When evaluating the statement that today’s youth is worse than the youth of the past, Whitebourne argues that the demands of college students today differ. The cataclysmic transitions college students go through today create a vastly different social experience, with freshman year being the most life changing. Read the story.
Last year, Ashley Fischer ’09 and Julie Seltzer ’09 founded BUSS, a nonprofit that funnels used goods — e.g., laptops, desks, notebooks — from private schools in New York City to less fortunate schools in desperate need of supplies. BUSS (which stands for ‘Bringing Under-resourced Schools Supplies’) in its first year transferred over $100,000 worth of supplies, and the founders are expanding their operation this year.
A few years ago Simon Gratz was one of the most violent and academically underachieving high schools in Philadelphia. However since its takeover by Mastery Charter Schools, a private non-profit charter school network, the school and community have experienced some significant changes. In just two years, Gratz’s state math and reading test scores are up 12 and 9 percent respectively and incidents of violence are down 84 percent. GED classes have been set up for the community in the school, as well as free legal clinics and tax prep help for parents. However despite the success of Simon Gratz, many argue the charter system is not a sustainable solution to America’s failing public school system.
In late October, seventeen Bowdoin teaching minors boarded a ferry in Rockland to cross Penobscot Bay to spend twenty-four hours on Vinalhaven, a small Maine island twelve miles off the coast. The students were visiting the island’s K-12 school as part of their studies on how to incorporate local culture and community into classroom lessons.
Maine is home to many unique communities, including its handful of island communities, many of which are dependent on the fishing industry. Some of the larger islands with year-round residents maintain K-12 or K-8 schools. These are often tiny, with well under 100 students. The K-12 school in Vinalhaven, which has a year-round population of 1,200, is the largest island school in Maine, with 200 students.
While conducting research on Vinalhaven in the late 1990s, Associate Professor of Education Nancy Jennings realized that these island schools could offer Bowdoin education students the valuable lesson of seeing how island educators teach subjects that both reflect and enhance their communities. As aspiring teachers, they will one day be crafting curricula with the same objective.
Six years ago, Bowdoin’s education department formalized a link with island schools through its Island Schools Project, which works as a cross-cultural exchange. Bowdoin teaching minors spend a night and a day on an island. Then, the island’s high school students come to Bowdoin for an overnight visit. Read the full story.
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In the 1980s, Valley girl culture popularized the use of the word ‘like.’ These southern California teenage girls incorporated the word into every other sentence, triggering satirical responses in pop culture. What began as a regional trend has infiltrated speaking habits across the country. Allan Metcalf of The Chronicle of Higher Education argues that ‘like’ is actually an important way for us to convey information. Like, just as often as it is used to describe what we say, is a way to give insight into how those ideas come into being. Metcalf claims “like” is essential, “when we need to show as well as tell.” Totally read the story here.
English Department Chair Aaron Kitch presented “Queer Matter: Science and Sexuality in the Renaissance” in Kresge Auditorium on Nov. 5, the first offering of the faculty lecture series Science Before Science under the auspices of the College’s new Medieval and Early Modern Studies colloquium, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The lecture series is about “trying to understand what constitutes science before the scientific revolution,” Kitch said. Focusing on the contents of the Ripley Scroll, a document named after 15th-century English alchemist George Ripley, Kitch spoke of alchemy as an early science that helped define the practice of approaching nature as an object of study. Beyond exploring alchemy’s place in science history, he also highlighted its overlooked ties to the history of sexuality. Alchemists considered matter to contain the seeds of other types of matter, he said, a phenomenon they likened to sexual reproduction. Some considered matter to have desire for itself – a homosexual identity of sorts.
Kitch’s lecture also served to announce an upcoming course cluster offered by Medieval and Early Modern Studies on the same “science before science” theme, running from spring 2014 through spring 2015. Each semester, four or more courses involving science in pre-modern times will be linked through shared readings, lectures, dinners, films, symposia, and other events.
Continue reading Alchemy Talk Introduces Medieval-Early Modern Initiative
Geoffrey Canada ’74
Harlem Children’s Zone President and CEO Geoffrey Canada ’74, received the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.
An annual tradition since 1991, the Freedom Awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the battle for civil and human rights, and who have helped create opportunity for the disenfranchised both in the U.S. and around the world.
“We’ve allowed failure to become the norm in schools across this country and nothing changes,” said Canada upon receiving the award. “We’ve got to do something about that.”
Award-winning author and journalist (and Maine native) Colin Woodard gave a talk titled “Watchdog Journalism: The Vital Role of a Threatened Discipline” in Daggett Lounge, Thorne Hall, on Oct. 16.
Woodard explained that investigative journalism is an important medium for checking the powers of government and protecting public interest – a role that dates back to the time of our founding fathers. To best inform the public, he continued, journalists should approach journalism “as scientists,” using scientific methodology to hone in the truth. However, many journalists of today take on roles of “idiotic neutrality,” he said, a practice that spells trouble for society. “If we lose watchdog journalism, it is democracy that will follow.”
Continue reading about Woodard’s talk.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott Meiklejohn during a recent Google Hangout session.
Frenzied families hitting a dozen campuses in three days trying to find just the right fit. It’s the stuff of legend, as the college road trip is a rite of passage for college-bound students and their parents.
Ever-advancing technology has begun to change this convention with the advent of virtual information sessions and online interviews.
As TIME magazine reports, Google+ Hangouts On Air is one way that allows multi-person video chats that can be publicly streamed — something with which Bowdoin has already begun to experiment.
Bowdoin’s next Hangout, Completing your Bowdoin Application via the Common App, is scheduled for November 5, 2013, at 8 p.m. EST. Add Bowdoin College to your Google Circles to learn about additional events.