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Stories by Bari Walsh

By Bari Walsh 07/18/2017 8:29 AM EDT
Reclaiming Downtime
Is your child’s summer starting to feel a bit too much like the rest of the year — filled with skill-building camps, sports obligations, and lots of structure?  Or maybe you're worried that your kid's summer doesn’t look enough like that — and that you’re putting her at a disadvantage that colleges will surely notice (even if she’s still in grade school). In both cases, the prescription for fast-track summers may be a mid-summer dose of PDF — playtime, downtime, and family time — and a reminder that children of all ages need all three, every day, in order to thrive. The PDF framework — a...
By Bari Walsh 05/24/2017 5:00 PM EDT
Convocation
The traditions and nostalgia that mark the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s annual Convocation ceremony were joined by a ringing call to action today, as members of the graduating class were charged to deploy all their talents and passion — and to muster their bravery — to serve and to lead in a rapidly changing world. HGSE degree candidates, faculty, friends, and family gathered for the annual ceremony in Radcliffe Yard, under skies that turned unexpectedly sunny, to hear words of inspiration as they set about pursuing the necessary mission of education. “In the real world, success is...
By Bari Walsh 05/17/2017 10:46 AM EDT
Tolerance
When the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) launched its Teaching Tolerance initiative in 1991, the goal was to intervene early to prevent the formation of prejudice — the kind of hate that could fuel the Klan-related crimes the SPLC was fighting. At the time, the school integration movement seemed in full force, and the project’s work drew on the notion that bringing people together — not expressly to get along, but to engage in meaningful work alongside one another — would allow them to see the world from each other’s perspectives and would break barriers between groups, promoting harmony....
By Bari Walsh 04/11/2017 10:37 AM EDT
James Ryan
In divisive times, the work of teachers and school leaders grows ever more challenging. What happens at home, in the media, and in the political sphere makes its way into schools, affecting policies, classroom conversations, and relationships among students. As reports of harassment at schools have gained new prominence, faculty and students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have been working on projects to support educators and students — strategies to build empathy, encourage conversation across difficult topics, and protect vulnerable students. They’re sharing examples of this...
By Bari Walsh 04/11/2017 9:42 AM EDT
James Ryan
In divisive times, the work of teachers and school leaders grows ever more challenging. What happens at home, in the media, and in the political sphere makes its way into schools, affecting policies, classroom conversations, and relationships among students and staff. This spring, faculty and students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have been working on projects to support educators and students — strategies to build empathy, encourage conversation across difficult topics, and protect vulnerable students. They’re sharing examples of this work — extending a community conversation...
By Bari Walsh, Leah Shafer 03/15/2017 11:13 AM EDT
Growth Mindset and Children’s Health
For at least the last decade, educators have understood the powerful connection between mindset and achievement — that when students believe they can learn a given subject, even a hard one, they stick with it longer, and do better, than if they believe they can’t learn or are “just bad at it.” But the role of mindset could be just as important in children’s overall health and development, according to a new commentary in the journal JAMA Pediatrics by pediatricians Claudia Mueller and Barry Zuckerman and educational psychologist Meredith Rowe. Medicine already recognizes the persuasive power...
By Bari Walsh, Iman Rastegari 02/04/2017 8:39 AM EST
Multigenerational family with grandmother, infant, and mother
What do you learn as a parent? When we think of the answers to that question, we mostly think in terms of our children's early years — of qualities like patience and selflessness, or of all that we don't know. As our children age into adolescence, the narrative shifts, and relationships evolve in ways that aren't always comfortable. But in her new book, sociologist and educator Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot reimagines adolescence as a period when deeper learning can begin, learning that can extend through the rest of our lives, as our now-adult children can transform us, emotionally and even...
By Bari Walsh, Iman Rastegari 01/30/2017 12:47 PM EST
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
Among the many passages that life offers as we age, there is one we navigate almost unthinkingly: the passage of our children from "our children" to fully realized adults. There's a certain script society offers — one rooted in stereotypes about difficult adolescences, the difficulty of letting go, or even sitcom versions of meddling in-laws. But Professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, eminent sociologist and educator, urges us to look with fresh eyes at what that passage may present: unique opportunities for learning, growth, and reconciliation, which can enrich our middle and later years in...
By Bari Walsh 01/17/2017 9:26 AM EST
Home daycare teacher reading to two infants
A new study from Harvard University could substantially transform our understanding of what works in early childhood education in the United States, creating clearer avenues to bring effective practices and policies to scale. The Early Learning Study at Harvard — which kicks off this spring and is set to last at least four and a half years, with plans for extension — will follow a demographically representative sample of three-year-olds from across Massachusetts, capturing their experiences in the actual settings in which they spend their time. Such a large-scale, population-based study would...
By Matthew Weber, Bari Walsh 12/08/2016 12:40 PM EST
watercolor illustration of US flag, with paint blurring into paper
Four weeks post-election, many parents are still feeling bewildered about how to make sense of it for their kids. How do we manage our own feelings of dismay — or fears about the vitriolic campaign and the great chasms in our country — so we can model tolerance, a sense of hope, or a renewed spirit of activism? In a wide-ranging conversation recorded for the Harvard EdCast, we asked psychologists and parenting experts Nancy Hill and Richard Weissbourd to share advice for parents on how to navigate this current moment of transition, where many long-held assumptions about our government...

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