Little Women

Many teachers choose books for their children from the Caldecott or Newbery award lists. Caldecott books are chosen for “excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed” and “excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept”. The Newbery criteria are equally open-ended. Characters have to be well developed, but there are no criteria as to…

Cultural Competence

Cross, et al (1989) define cultural competence as : “…a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that a system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations”.  Cultural competence is more than just “awareness”, it is the fundamental development of…

Date Night: A Thin Slice of Reality

Out on the Town The 8minuteDating.com speed dating site says their speed dating events are fast, fun, and guaranteed.Speed dating is based on the premise that we can use our immediate intuition to judge a potential mate. In a study of people’s ability to judge romantic interest, Place and colleagues showed participants video clips of speed dates…

The Mind’s Eye

In 1967 Russian psychologist Alfred Yarbus published a ground-breaking text on visual perception. Yarbus had invented and adapted equipment to study the function of saccades as well as eye tracking during a wide variety of “looking” experiences. He noted that when examining complex objects, the eye tracks through and fixates on some but not all…

Dear Dr. Sacks: A Tribute to Creativity

I was sad to learn of the illness and death of Dr. Oliver Sacks, one of the world’s greatest minds. Dr. Sacks was inspiring for many reasons, but I was always struck by the sensitivity with which he bridged science and humanity. In this post I discuss Gute, et al., (2008) and relate the work…

Broca, Birds, and Books

Humans share 98.5% of our genome with animals. While my dog can howl a fair rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon”, I can talk and she can’t. Genetic switches control and regulate how our genes are expressed, and some scientists see this as the key to evolution. That may be so, but culture, language,…

What Does the Word “Disability” Mean?

In H.G Wells’ famous Country of the Blind, a man finds himself trapped in an isolated mountain valley where all of the inhabitants are blind. During the days that follow, the man’s ability to see manifests as a handicap among people who can hear anything and move and work in the dark. There are many…