Early Conflicts with Teachers Can Lead to Special Education

“The relationships preschoolers form with their teachers can predict their school performance in early-elementary school, concludes a new study.

Through statistical analyses of data on nearly 1,000 preschoolers, researchers from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education find that students who experienced conflict with their teachers in preschool were likelier to be referred for special education later on in elementary school—especially for boys whose language skills were low for their age.”

—Carmen Constantinescu, “Children’s Preschool Classroom Experiences and Associations With Early Elementary Special Education Referral” in EdWeek

Babies Learn New Words from Context—Not Quantity

“Surprisingly, the key factor that predicts whether a word will emerge from a baby’s mouth isn’t tied to how many times the baby hears that particular word. Instead, a feature called distinctiveness is what makes the difference, the researchers report September 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Word frequency is important on some level, says Roy. “If a child has never heard a word, he’s not going to produce it.” But distinctiveness — the contextual features that situate a word in a particular place, time or situation — was much more important than frequency for predicting whether his son would say a word, Roy says. “No matter how you cut the data, it was head and shoulders above the other factors.””

—Laura Sanders, “For kids learning new words, it’s all about context” on ScienceNews