Brighten Youth Education Centre

 

 

General Education Issues

Why We Sleep

Putting in those late nights at the office might be damaging your health. Staying up doing homework into the early hours of the morning might be putting your body under just as much pressure as excessive stress, eating or the ingestion of illicit substances ...


How science can speed language learning?

It is easy to see why people would want to learn a second (or third, fourth or fifth) language, no matter what their age. Along with creating professional, social and economic opportunities, current research suggests that speakers of two of more languages enjoy cognitive advantages ...


What really makes successful adults?

Last week we explored new, if somewhat questionable research, by HSBC into the correlation between parental aspirations and financial outlay on education in 15 countries. The relationship between ...


Hong Kong parents spend the most on education

A new study by HSBC has shown that parents in Hong Kong spend more on their children’s education than any other country in the world ...


13 Reasons Why

Could a book lead to an increase in the number of teen suicides? How about an incredibly popular online series? These are some of the controversies that have arisen after the release of ...


Diverse curricula would re-engage struggling students

In the US, in some communities, the high school dropout rate is 60% (in some Native American communities it’s 80%). Some estimates assert that if this rate were halved, the result would ...


Cyberbullying: Spotting the Signs

As a parent, teacher or close family friend, you don’t want to invade a young person’s privacy. To do so can cause resentment and sour a potentially caring and trusting relationship. However, young people, particularly teens, aren’t always the chattiest of people ...


Want Sparky Pupils? Teach in the Afternoon

It’s not nice is it? That glazed look many audiences, from the very young to the very venerable, seem to develop after lunch. Nobody wants to give that first class or presentation after midday ...


Feeding Kids for Success

All parents know that it is difficult to get kids to eat right, but not everyone realises quite how important it is. Sam Kass - a food entrepreneur, former White House Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition – argues that students who aren’t fed correctly are “literally going hungry” ...


Protecting Young People Online

Balancing parental concern about the myriad dangers of the Internet and the necessary autonomy of growing youngsters is challenging for anyone. Limiting screen time and implementing parental controls are a start but ...


Creating a Green Classroom

Most of us understand, at least in an abstract sense, that safeguarding the ecological health of the planet for future generations is important. In order to make a lasting impact, children need to internalise this message from a young age ...


Those Who Need the Most Help

This week, we’d like to highlight some of the challenges of working with young people who need a little more support with the help of Dr. Victor Rios, creator of Project GRIT ...


How to protect youngsters from cyberbullying

We now have a generation of young people who have grown up with the Internet and social media as daily companions. Even the staunchest of luddites would question whether a reversal of this state of affairs is advisable or even possible ...


The Professors of Play

How significant is the way your child chooses to play? What deeper insights into their psychology and development can play offer? What role does play has in teaching? One UK-based university is adopting a systematic approach to such questions ...


Safeguarding young minds in the classroom

We have written a great deal about the importance of safeguarding mental health, especially among Hong Kong's teens. However, new research indicates that problems begin at a far younger age ...


The women currently reshaping STEM

Last week we cited several examples of female trailblazers in STEM over the last two thousand years. Yet as the face of scientific research becomes becomes increasingly female, we thought ...


Women, STEM trailblazers

As part of last week’s discussion on subconscious gender stereotypes and their subsequent impact on imbalanced STEM workplaces, we lamented, amongst other things, the lack of ...


Do you embrace gender stereotypes?

A cardiac surgeon, a particle physicist, a computer programmer and a hydraulic engineer sit down to dinner. Picture the scene in your head. Now be honest: how many of those individuals did ...


Is homework pointless?

I’m sure many of you out there will recognise the phenomenon of a friend, brother, sister or child regularly working until past midnight on a seemingly endless stack of homework assignments, only ...


Take it to the bank

Up all night studying but still feel hopelessly unprepared for an important exam? Well, the Nanjing No. 1 High School is piloting a solution. They have set up a “grade bank”, where students who would normally fail ...


Teaching gender equality

It’s one of the most complex subjects we can teach our children, but it’s also one of the most important. Gender equality, consent and the formation of healthy relationships are subjects that should ...


The body as a battleground

There are some things that I’m really bored of talking about, but I’m committed to the discussion until it is resolved. Near the top of this list is how women choose to dress, especially in environments where ...


Mental well-being for teachers

Teaching is a stressful job. It doesn't matter what kind of school you work at or how experienced and well qualified you become. Deadlines are constant, there's pressure from parents and the newest school or government guidelines ...


Is raising hands in class regressive?

Let’s being with a brief visualisation exercise. You’re a teacher and you’ve just asked a question. You turn away from the whiteboard to be confronted by a sea of raised hands. Some of your ...


Research-driven approaches to giving feedback

Giving helpful feedback to students can be a real challenge for teachers, and it's a skill that many continue to refine throughout their careers. However, research indicates that some approaches are ...


Teaching 21st century skills

Numerous curricula and educational institutes claim to foster the skills required for 21st century employment, but what does .this actually mean? How can these skills be blended with current educational models? Charles Fadel ...


Lifestyle habits for healthy brains

Last week we alluded to dubious claims made by manufacturers of brain training apps and games, but there is a great deal of scientific research surrounding the neurological benefits of some ...


Music an instrument to train the brain

The brain training industry has come under attack in recent years. In October 2014, a group of 100 leading neuroscientists and psychologists wrote an open letter stating that claims made by ...


The pressure to be perfect

On the surface, perfectionism doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Surely it’s all about ambition, attainment and the creation of astounding things? This is a myth. Having high-standards and big ...


Does bribery make for better grades?

Many teachers face the challenge of what to do about underperforming students, but a new study from the UK suggests that it might be possible to bribe youngsters into improving ...


Zen and the art of classroom control

Most of us are familiar with early-morning sight of groups of people gracefully practicing tai chi and qi gong. It always looks like such a good idea, and we make plans to work yoga ...


How to raise a genius

Julian Bates was a special little boy. In 1968, when he was just 12 years old and already outstripping classmates in his computer-science course at Johns Hopkins University ...


Only half the story

Bad reporting of survey or scientific data helps nobody and, in the case of education, often purposefully exacerbates parental fears, a tendency we have reported on in previous ...


Women on top?

According to the Times Higher Education Supplement, in the 2015-16 academic year 17% of the world’s top 200 universities were run by women (14% of the top 100). This week we aim to celebrate the ...


Clearing and accommodation: Securing your place

For those of you having to go through Clearing this year, missing your target grades and examining what options remain to you can be incredibly stressful. You’re too busy preparing for phone interviews and the ...


Blaise Pascal and the challenges of life

Today we examine the wisdom of a seventeenth-century French philosopher and physicist who was obsessed with calculating machines and who, apparently, sewed a document describing a ...


Starting again

The education pages of most major publications have been particularly despondent of late. There is the proposed Bill currently making its way through the UK government which would allow ...


Goldman-Sachs and the application revolution

The hiring process at large international banks, law firms and financial services companies has always been notoriously difficult, but now one firm is streamlining the process in a way that could have an unpredictable impact on ...


On the function of praise

You hear it everywhere you go, in coffee shops, supermarkets and restaurants. Parents cooing “good girl” and “what a clever boy”. Nothing wrong with that surely? Parents are simply being warm and encouraging, perhaps ...


Access all areas for disabled students

The pathways to higher education are tougher for some students than they are for others. A recent study showed that disabled students at university in Hong Kong, unsurprisingly, wanted to get on with ...


We're all mad here

Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat was on to something. A few weeks ago we ran a series on student mental health issues. We’re returning to this important topic to offer more pragmatic suggestions, particularly ...


Setting up a student society

Getting involved in a student society can be an excellent addition to your CV and a fulfilling way to spend your free time, both before and during your time at university. It’s also a great way to make friends ...


Tablet teaching tricks

Tablets in the classroom are now ubiquitous so this week we have lots of entertaining and engaging suggestions for incorporating tablets into your lesson plans. If you’re looking for something ...


It gets better ... it has to

Over the last few weeks we’ve been taking a look at teen suicide and mental health issues in Hong Kong. This week we’ll be looking at the dangers posed to the LGBTQ teen community in the city, a notably at-risk group in need to specialised care and ...


Mental wellbeing focus: Anxiety

This week we’re continuing our exploration of student mental health and wellbeing by looking at anxiety, and how young people can learn to cope with it. Everyone feels anxious with ...


Tolerant timetables for tired teenagers

A brave new experiment has begun at Hampton Court School in the UK. Here, the school day now begins at 1:30pm and ends at 7pm. This is in complete contrast to countries like Mexico, Spain and Poland, where ...


In praise of failure

It’s not nice, but few would argue that it isn’t inevitable. The harsh truth is that in your life you will fail at something. Probably at several things. You can’t be perfect at every subject. You might ...


Stopping the silent killer

Students at every stage of their academic career know what its like to battle anxiety. They also know what a detrimental effect that battle can have on their work. According to a recent study ...


What to do when you just don't want to

Take a minute and think about the following question: what do you really want to avoid doing today? Is it your calculus homework? Is it managing to get to ...


Importance of boredom

I'M BORED. WHAT parent isn't familiar with that phrase? Yet this week's column is for the grown-ups and the kids as we look at some of the psychological ...


Getting the most out of university open days

Not all students are lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to university open days. However, if you do manage to go to one locally, or if you are applying for Oxbridge ...


Stimulating science for females

While more girls may be studying science subjects at school and university than ever before, it is still no where near enough and genuine equality in this formally male-dominated field still seems ...


Life at the no-tech school

The students at London’s Acorn School experience a rather different educational structure than many of their counterparts in wealthy nations. They are banned from using smartphones and computers at ...


Sad decline of Japanese humanities

Last month it was announced that over fifty Japanese universities would be either closing or significantly downsizing their humanities and social science departments after the country’s ...


Grand designers for grander minds

Many teachers would argue, as they often have to share classrooms and have very little spare time for design projects, that what they can do with their learning spaces is limited. However, a learning ...


Essential reading list from America's top private schools

Here at Smart Lessons it might seem as though we never get tired of talking about how awesome reading is. That’s because we don’t, and because reading really is both awesome and fundamental, not only ...


Bibliophiles remain brilliant

With the Hong Kong Book Fair coming up fast (this year it's being held between July 15 and 21), we thought we'd spend some time this week again pondering the power of the page ...


The trouble with girls...

This week, we will be looking at the issue of women in science. Biochemist Tim Hunt, 2001 winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, has resigned at University College London after controversial comments he made recently to the World Conference of Science Journalists in ...


Ditching homework for meditation?

After many inquiries from parents and teachers, we return to the topic of homework, and its potential abolition. The issue remains contentious. Cheltenham Ladies' College, one of the UK's oldest and most prestigious private schools, is contemplating banning homework in order to ...


What's the point of studying?

What's the point of studying? We're not asking this question to be provocative, contrary or strange. While everyone agrees on the fundamental significance of getting a "good" education, people really don't question enough what that might mean ...


A design for life?

This week we're taking a closer look at the study of architecture, with particular focus on other pathways for those who have already started their course, but are having second thoughts ...


Productive podcasts for language learners

This week we’ll be looking at some of the best, and lesser know, podcasts available for those wanting to improve their language skills. Podcast are only one element of successful ...


In defence of a digital sabbath

How could you possible take a day off from technology? I mean we need it for everything right? Work, socialising, entertainment, communication, how could you get by without ...


The Gruffalo's trip to HK

In January, beloved author Julia Donaldson made a return visit to Hong Kong. Donaldson, who has received a MBE and was the UK Children’s Laureate between 2011 and 2013, is perhaps ...


Silver tongued success

Students in Hong Kong have some incredible educational advantages. This city is host to some excellent public and private schools, on average local students complete more homework ...


Traditional or progressive?

Those responsible for international examinations, including AQA, Edexcel and the authorities behind the IB, regularly update the syllabus in all subjects in order to create more relevant and stimulating material. When it comes to language ...


Those who can - teach!

While our column usually focuses on education issues from a student or parent’s perspective, or perhaps on exploring how to get ahead in the more lucrative and competitive careers of law, medicine ...


Studying for success

This week we are very fiscally driven as we look not only at the college majors that tend to produce the highest salaries, but also at the US colleges that count the greatest number of billionaires ...


A need for new teaching styles?

A new report by the Sutton Trust (a UK-based charity which aims to improve social mobility and address educational disadvantages) and Durham University states that the ways in which pupils learn “remains a mysterious ...


Should I ask for a re-mark

So it’s happened, you’ve opened your results and they are not what you were expecting, in fact they’re not even close. What should you do about it? Should you ask for a remark? According to Ofqual, the examinations regulator in the UK, there was ...


Freedom from fees

After a decision by the state of Lower Saxony in October of this year, Germany has now abolished university tuition fees, even for overseas students. Germany has traditionally been a country free of tuition fees ...


The freedom to think

Each year, during the last week of September, the Banned Books Week (http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/) creates a stir. Banned Books Week is an international event, originating in the US, that “celebrates ...


What employers want

What are employers looking for in fresh college graduates? Those from the top colleges? Those with the highest GPA? Those who have taken an appropriate selection of courses? ...


The best in business

An MBA is one of the most expensive qualifications to obtain and there is some debate over the fact that one MBA is worth as much as any other. It will take at least two years of your life and cost upwards of US$150,000 (HK$1.17 million) ...


Earning and learning by degrees

In our column we regularly reiterate the value of having a degree, both in monetary and educational terms, as well as the simple ability of the college experience to enrich your life experience ...


The right resume

In the past couple of months high school and college graduation ceremonies have effectively unleashed millions of new graduates into the world of employment. For many, it's time to face the real world of work ...


No such thing as a bad major

A recent study by H&R Block into the relationship between college majors and earning potential has caused a stir on educational websites around the world ...


Too much technology?

Glancing over a classroom filled with students tapping away on their laptops has long been a ubiquitous experience in the city’s international schools. However, now technology is increasingly permeating all schools across the territory, and at all levels of education ...


Really worth the money?

Within the United States, Harvey Mudd College, along with top technological institutions such as MIT and Caltech, represents the best return on investment for those thinking about going to college, according to ...


Top of the tables again

Last December, Shanghai was again named best in the world in the Program for International Student Assessment test (www.oecd.org/pisa/), a global system for assessing the maths, reading and science skills of some 510,000 secondary school pupils, run by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ...


Science and sisterhood

It's discouraging to note that in this day and age we are still having conversations about gender equality. A gender-based earnings gap still exists in many industries, equal maternity and paternity rights remain a pipe dream in many countries ...


IB, A-levels and me

After receiving numerous inquiries, this week we are revisiting the difference between the International Baccalaureate and A-level curriculums.
The choice between the IB and A-level courses ...


Financial worth of a college degree

Young people in Hong Kong may get tired of hearing their parents talk about how important it is for them to go to college.
Well, listen up kids because it's true, and a new report from the Pew Research Center reaffirms just how important that ...


Spare a little thought

A new year, and a new group of young people begin making their way through the UCAS minefield, so this week we look at some good advice for those wanting to attend university in the UK but aren't necessarily sure of the best way to prepare their application ...


Dangers of social media

So, you've got a decent GPA, they loved your application essay and you've got some great relevant experience, but have you tidied up your Facebook account? Communication is now instantaneous and prospective ...


Eat your way to success?

The student lifestyle can play havoc with your health. It's not just putting on weight, like the notorious "freshman 15" that is the fear of many American college students, it is also allowing your studies to control your diet ...


Work smarter, not harder

Hong Kong students are right in the middle of exam season but fear not - this week we bring you the best last-minute revision tips that are also useful for improving your long-term memory. The first thing you need to do is manage your time and ...


Your guide to ESL exams

For many students in Hong Kong, particularly those who want to study or work overseas, it has become necessary to officially demonstrate their English language ability.For those who have been lucky enough to enjoy ...


Playing fair?

A recent study from Durham University indicates that students from "ethnic minorities" are less likely to gain places at universities within the UK's prestigious Russell Group. The Russell Group is a collective of 24 British public universities ...


Which exam is right for me?

This week we consider the benefits and drawbacks of the A-Level and IB curriculums for students and parents who are wondering what might be the best way to a bright future. Both forms of education have their positive and negative ...


Best of both worlds

One of the fastest growing trends in the university sector is that of Transnational Education, or TNE, in which students complete a course of study in a different country from the institution awarding the final qualification ...


Referencing vs plagiarism

New international students in the UK face the challenge of adapting to the electronic media culture of their higher education institutions. They will not only have to learn a Moodle or Blackboard system, but will also need to submit ...

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