Teaching kids about mind, media, and health" /> Teaching kids about mind, media, and health" />

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2016 - (Page 26)

Making the Connection Mind, Media, and Health by Sarah Baldino AS THE GRANDDAUGHTER OF A SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, I GREW UP APPRECIATING THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION. THIS WAS REINFORCED BY MY PARENTS, WHO READ TO ME FROM THE TIME I WAS VERY YOUNG. EVERY BOOK WAS A JOURNEY AND A DISCOVERY THAT CONTRIBUTED TO MY LOVE OF LEARNING. uring ninth grade orientation, I heard about an opportunity to share this love of learning with others through an after-school program in which students teach underprivileged children about good citizenship while helping to build their reading and critical thinking skills. I promptly signed up. In my first session, however, I noticed that the children were not engaged in learning. Afraid of giving the wrong answer, they were visibly uncomfortable when asked questions. Wanting to understand the reasons for this behavior, I read books by psychologist Carol Dweck and other experts. Promoting a Growth Mindset According to Dweck, students with a "growth mindset" view failure as an opportunity to improve and see others' successes as valuable lessons for themselves. Those with a "fixed mindset," on the other hand, avoid challenges, respond negatively to both constructive criticism and the success of others, and view asking questions as a sign of weakness. Further, fixed mindsets are often reinforced through media and societal norms. For example, many TV characters portrayed as nerds are often held up for ridicule by attractive and glamorized characters. Children are particularly susceptible to stereotypes and may easily subscribe to such views. Online, I read about Media-Smart Youth (MSY), a National Institutes of Health (NIH) program that aims to educate young people about connections between media and physical and mental health. Across the nation, MSY groups meet to explore the media's influence on growing minds and the importance of things like exercise and healthy diet. MSY offered $1,000 grants to teen leaders to develop chapters in their area. The program combined all the things that appealed to me: working with children, sharing my passion for learning, and helping remove barriers to learning. As part of the application process, I secured a charity sponsor and an adult advisor who runs a local recreation center. Thinking it would be a great source 26 imagine of students, I obtained permission to hold meetings at a nearby elementary school that was already hosting a summer DC Parks and Recreation program. I then submitted an application detailing my background and interest in the program. A few weeks later, I received an email confirming that I had been chosen to participate. Strategy for Success While NIH guidelines suggested that I hold 15 one-hour sessions over three weeks, given my busy schedule, I decided to hold threehour sessions on five consecutive days. The program was designed for eight students ages 11-13, but three days before my program began, I learned that I would be teaching all 40 children from the summer program-and they ranged in age from 5 to 13! Not only would I have to figure out how to engage 40 children for three hours a day, but I also needed to simplify the material for younger students while keeping the older students interested. Figuring I'd call on friends and family if need be, I devised a plan. Each session would include a lesson provided by MSY, an activity to reinforce the learning, and a snack break. I decided to split the class into three groups based on age and maturity. Each of the oldest students, acting as teaching assistants, would May/June 2016 ISTOCK.COM/PAMELA MOORE D

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2016

Big Picture
In My Own Words Karl Deisseroth, Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry, Stanford University
Mind Brain Philosophy and neuroscience at CTY
A Meeting of the Minds at the National Brain Bee
Mind over Matter Overcoming communication barriers via technology
A Fish of a Different Color My neuroscience internship
Immersed in Brain Science Summer research at Rockefeller University
Brain Training Four graduate students share their research
Prime Time for Brain Science Exciting new findings, from brain maps to mindfulness
Making the Connection Teaching kids about mind, media, and health
Selected Opportunities and Resources
Pitch Perfect The lure of rugby
My Stress-Free Adventure Scuba, sailing, and discovery
Off the Shelf Review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options Interview with neuropsychologist

Lisa Jacobson

One Step Ahead Ten commandments for college success
Planning Ahead for College Can your dream school become a reality?
Students Review New York University
Creative Minds Imagine Fiction contest winners
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games
Mind + Brain Philosophy and neuroscience at CTY

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2016