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We’ve done all the reading, so you don’t have to.

We know how busy you are but education news waits for no one. However, it can be tricky to find a moment to catch up on all the news, research, events and stories that make teaching both enriching and rewarding. That’s where we come in. This week on School Stream, we are sharing some of the interesting and exciting stories that captured our attention this week. 

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Term 1 Round-Up

Introducing the stories that made the headlines in the education media this week.

The Arts = Happiness

Not one, but two articles published in the past week are championing the links between the arts, happiness and wellbeing. 

When it comes to music, we all know from personal experience that it can be both a balm during hard times and the soundtrack to a joyful celebration. But this meta-analysis of 26 studies goes as far to say “that the benefit of music to mental quality of life was close in effect to improvements in mental health due to exercise and weight loss” – and the effects were notable whether “participants sang, played or listened to music.” Read the full report published in the  Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open. For a brief overview of the findings, head here. 

Research published in Teacher Magazine suggests that engaging in the arts for two hours a week improves mental wellbeing, increases happiness and confidence, and reduces stress. This can be a combination of activities like listening to music, watching a movie, sewing, reading, attending a writer’s festival or seeing a play.

Key quote:

“Do some colouring, do some painting, do some singing, it doesn’t matter if you’re good or not good… You don’t have to be good at art for art to be good for you” 

Financial literacy in the news

We’ve all seen The Barefoot Investor in the news talking about kids and financial literacy, and it seems his passion for this critical issue is gaining momentum. The report by researchers at Griffiths University found that 16% of Australian 15-year-olds lack even the basic level of financial literacy they need to participate in society. We all have a stake in young people’s financial literacy, and this great article published early March in The Conversation proposes six suggestions regarding the way forward for our collective consideration. Or read the research in its entirety here.

Key quote:

“Our newly released research found most students generally do not know a lot about personal finance. This includes being able to apply basic numeracy to real-life financial situations, such as making purchasing decisions that are value-for-money and understanding interest on loans and investments.”

Teacher wellbeing

Teacher wellbeing is a topic close to our hearts at School Stream, and we are committed to sharing new findings from around the world as they are published.

For a practical strategy you can employ immediately, Edutopia has a handy article on the delicate art of saying “no”. Many educators have outsized workloads, and this article reminds all of us that a definitive ‘no’ is the most powerful word of them all.

At a more systemic level, this article unites evidence-backed findings to look at how school staffing structures and timetables can be recalibrated to reduce teachers’ stress and encourage efficacy. 

Key quote:

“Collective teacher efficacy is greater than three times more powerful and predictive of student achievement than socioeconomic status…  It is also greater than three times more predictive of student achievement than student motivation and concentration, persistence, and engagement.”

Space archaeology

If space archaeology sounds equal parts daunting, “pretty out there” and/or a potentially compelling hook to engage students in STEM, this is the place for you. Australian archaeologist, Alice Gorman, is a pioneer in the emerging field of space archaeology and heritage who specialises in orbital debris, tracking stations and terrestrial launch sites. She is also a champion of women in STEM and is the owner of the coolest Twitter handle in the biz (@drspacejunk). Gorman is currently engaged in a wildly fascinating – and the world’s first – systematic space archaeology project. You can follow their journey on Twitter at @ISSarchaeology or go more in-depth at the blog if you would like to understand more about how (and what) archaeology adds to our understanding of life in space.

Are you ready to get playful with STEM? OK Go!

While we are talking about the intersection of STEM and the arts, why don’t you check out this collection of super-fun, applied ideas from cult rock band and well-known science enthusiasts OK GO? Don’t just take our word for it, last year the site won a prestigious science award!

Key quote:

“OK Go Sandbox is an online resource for educators that uses OK Go’s music videos as starting points for integrated guided inquiry challenges allowing students to explore various STEAM concepts. Developed as a collaboration between OK Go and the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas (led by Dr AnnMarie Thomas), OK Go Sandbox is about bringing different ideas, disciplines, and people together to explore creativity and learning.”

National Simultaneous Storytime is coming up

Mark your calendars! National Simultaneous Storytime is due to hit schools, libraries, bookshops, childcare centres, and anywhere else reading happens, at 11 am on 25 May 2022. This year’s book is Family Tree written by Josh Pyke and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh.

Key quote:

“Now in its 22nd successful year, National Simultaneous Storytime is a colourful, vibrant, fun event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy, using an Australian children’s book that explores age-appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.”

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