Society's ChildS


Study: It's not teacher, but method that matters

physics students
© UnknownA Canadian study found college students learned more from teaching assistants using interactive tools than they did from a veteran professor giving a traditional lecture.
Who is better at teaching difficult physics to a class of more than 250 college students: the highly rated veteran professor using time-tested lecturing, or the inexperienced graduate students interacting with students via devices that look like TV remotes? The answer could rattle ivy on college walls.

A study by a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, now a science adviser to President Barack Obama, suggests that how you teach is more important than who does the teaching.

He found that in nearly identical classes, Canadian college students learned a lot more from teaching assistants using interactive tools than they did from a veteran professor giving a traditional lecture. The students who had to engage interactively using the TV remote-like devices scored about twice as high on a test compared to those who heard the normal lecture, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

The interactive method had almost no lecturing. It involved short, small-group discussions, in-class "clicker" quizzes, demonstrations and question-answer sessions. The teachers got real-time graphic feedback on what the students were learning and what they weren't getting.

"It's really what's going on in the students' minds rather than who is instructing them," said lead researcher Carl Wieman of the University of British Columbia, who shared a Nobel physics prize in 2001. "This is clearly more effective learning. Everybody should be doing this. ... You're practising bad teaching if you are not doing this."

Magic Wand

Former Pop Star Sworn In As Haiti's New President

Popstar Haiti
© REUTERS/Larry DowningHaitian President-elect Michel Martelly
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CNN) -- With expectations of change running high, former bad-boy pop star Michel Martelly was sworn in Saturday as the president of impoverished Haiti, still reeling from last year's devastating earthquake.

In a sign of the nation's troubles, the electricity went out moments before the inauguration, prompting formally dressed dignitaries and guests -- including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe -- to fan themselves to stave off rising May heat.

Immediately, Twitter lit up with posts calling the blackout a "bad sign." Despite the outage, the ceremony proceeded before parliament and Martelly took his oath of office amid the lights of media cameras.

Martelly, savvy in social media, tweeted his own inauguration as Haiti's 56th president minutes after it happened along with a flurry of messages expressing hope that change would now come to Haiti.


US: Police accused of 'murder' after shooting man with Tasers EIGHT times... for running a stop sign

© FacebookTased: Allen Kephart died after being Tasered by officers for running a stop sign
A Californian man died after being Tasered eight times by Police, according to witnesses.

Allen Kephart, 43, was pulled over by police in San Bernardino after running a stop sign, where officers say he became 'combative'.

The Party DJ and teacher's assistant was slammed on the ground and repeatedly shocked with Tasers, according to witnesses. He was then rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Mr Kephart's father, Jack, himself a 20-year volunteer for the sheriff's department, said officers used excessive force on his son.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times he said: 'To me, it's not just a traffic stop. It's murder.

'You don't kill a person for running a stop sign.'


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Heart - Black

US: Mother, daughter charged with animal cruelty for using dogs to kill a pig

Ashley Ramirez
Ashley Ramirez

Florida - A mother and daughter were charged with animal cruelty after they recorded two dogs attacking and killing a pig in their backyard and posted the video on Facebook, Sheriff Deryl Loar said Thursday.

"Get him! Bite him!" shouted Janice Kay Ramirez, 55, as she recorded the five-minute attack by the cur mix dogs, according to the clip released by the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

She and Ashley Ann Ramirez, 21, both of the 2300 block of 84th Court, Vero Beach, were investigated after someone anonymously sent a copy of the video to authorities in March, Loar said. Deputies had to subpoena Facebook to get the address for the home in the video. Ashley Ramirez was on the video coaxing the dogs to attack.

"It's one of the worst animal cruelty cases we've seen," Loar said about the attack on the pig, which managed to squeal throughout the ordeal despite its snout being closed with duct tape.

Heart - Black

US: Unbelievable! Kids, 3 and 4 yrs old, left alone in woods while parents get drug treatment

Jacksonville, Florida - Two young girls are left alone in the woods to live in a tent with no food or water, just the family dog.

The parents are now charged with child neglect and those girls, just three and four years-old, are being cared for by the DCF.

Cops in Union County say the girls were found wandering alone in the woods, while the parents were getting drug treatment at a methadone clinic.

Heart - Black

US: Jurors find mom guilty of killing baby in microwave oven

China Arnold's case in '05 of killing her baby in a microwave oven goes to the penalty phase.

Dayton, Ohio - As if she'd been struck, China Arnold shut her eyes tight and let her head drift backward as she heard the jury foreperson announce that she was guilty of aggravated murder in the killing of her 28-day-old daughter in a microwave oven.

Then, as Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman explained what would happen next for the jury, Arnold put her head down and began to weep - silently at first, but then her soft sobs shortly became audible.

This is Arnold's third trial, which will continue Monday with the penalty phase, when the jury will be asked to recommend whether she should be put to death.


Texas House passes bill banning TSA 'groping'

The Texas House of Representatives late on Thursday approved a bill that would make invasive pat-downs at Texas airports a crime, after a former Miss USA said she felt "molested" at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport last month.

Transportation Security Administration agents could be charged with a misdemeanor crime, face a $4,000 fine and one year in jail under the measure.

The proposal would classify any airport inspection that "touches the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person including through the clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person" as an offense of sexual harassment under official oppression.

Red Flag

Every 30 Minutes: Farmer Suicides and the Agrarian Crisis in India

The Indian government must uphold its human rights obligations by responding immediately to its farmer suicide crisis, said the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) in a new report released today. The report, Every Thirty Minutes: Farmer Suicides, Human Rights, and the Agrarian Crisis in India, looks critically at India's farmer suicide epidemic - which has been claimed the lives of an estimated 250,000 farmers since 1995 - and proposes steps that the government should take toward upholding the human rights of this vulnerable population.

"On average, one farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes in India," said CHRGJ Faculty Director and report co-author Smita Narula. "It's simply unacceptable to ignore a tragedy of such epic proportions and go on with business as usual. The Indian government's limited interventions have failed to adequately assess or address this deepening crisis."

Over the past two decades, economic reforms - which included the removal of agricultural subsidies and the opening of Indian agriculture to an increasingly volatile global market - have increased costs, while reducing yields and profits for many farmers, creating widespread financial distress. As a result, smallholder farmers are often trapped in a cycle of insurmountable debt, leading many to take their lives.