Educators educating Educators

Jan 19

June 16: Save Your Child's Eyesight

This is my last monthly Ed Tip until September. As is my tradition for the June Ed Tip, I suggest a book to add to your summer reading list that I found to be insightful and meaningful to the current educational climate.

If you have concerns about our nationwide push to fully implement and incorporate the Common Core curriculum, Yong Zhao’s new book Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization is a must read.

In his book, Zhao argues the point that the US is heading in the wrong direction by rearranging our nation’s schools on the Common Core curriculum.

Zhao deftly and extensively examines and explains China’s current efforts to move away from its centralized curriculum, to diversify assessment and testing, and encourage innovation in order to cultivate creativity and well-rounded talents. In the preface, Zhao writes that in his research for the book he “realized that what China wants is what American education is eager to throw away.” Namely, “an education that respects individual talents, supports divergent thinking, tolerates deviation, and encourages creativity; a system in which the government does not dictate what students learn or how teachers teach; and a culture that does not rank or judge the success of a school, a teacher, or a child based only on test scores in a few subjects determined by the government.”

At the very least, it sounds like a must read for anyone involved at any level making educational decisions that affect the education of our children.

Lastly, a healthy reminder to make sure your children get outside for at least 40-minutes each day this summer. Why? To save their eyesight!

According to a June 2016 article in Scientific America, by 2050 almost half the world will be nearsighted and require some form of corrective lens. What is to blame for this dramatic increase in myopia? Surely reading and sitting staring at a computer! But no, there is little evidence supporting this hyphypotesis.

Surprisingly, the article reports that countries with the highest GDP tend to have higher rates of myopia with the Asia-Pacific countries being first, followed by East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the US.

The first evidence of spiking nearsightedness came out of Singapore with studies that kept tabs on young men recruited by the military. The studies revealed that myopia rates increased from 26% in the late 1970s to 66% in the mid-1990s, to a whopping 83% by the late 1990s.

So, how do you improve your child’s chances of avoiding myopia? A recent trial at the Australian National University revealed that children who spent an extra 40 minutes outside each day for three years were less likely to become myopic than those who did not.

“Myopia, once believed to be almost totally genetic, is in fact a socially determined disease,” says Ian Morgan, an ophthalmology researcher at the University.

Finally, it is predicted that by 2050, nearly 10% of the global population may develop high myopia, a more severe form of shortsightedness. The condition increases the risk for cataracts, glaucoma, and other pathological changes in the eye that can cause blindness.

So to help insure the health of your child’s eyes, playing outside for a quarter of an hour each day may be the answer.

I continue to be very appreciative of the feedback I have received about my monthly Ed Tip articles from my readers. My main goal in writing these columns has been to share timely information and ideas based on current neuroscientific research that might serve as a catalyst for self-reflection and self-change.

Have a wonderful, rejuvenating, and safe summer. I am looking forward to seeing you back at Stuff4Educators in a few short months!



“If we can control the attention of the child, we solve the problems of education.” Maria Montessori

This month Ed Tip will examine how to improve students' learning by activating their attention.