Tag Archive | "School of Education and Human Development"

Can Dance Improve Your Mental Abilities?

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Can Dance Improve Your Mental Abilities?


A University of Miami study suggests that both aerobic and more sophisticated dancing can enhance mental capacity.

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

DanceCORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 23, 2017) — A study at the School of Education and Human Development showed mental improvements after 10 weeks of dance classes. The findings suggest that exercise might improve mental function by learning new movements, as well as improving aerobic capacity.

The study was conducted at UM’s Laboratory of Neuromuscular Research and Active Aging, in collaboration with Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Sean Nicolle, a graduate of UM’s Doctorate in Exercise Physiology program, led the study and used the findings and analysis as his doctoral thesis.

Forty volunteers, from 40 to 80 years old, participated in 10 weeks of either ballroom or aerobic dance classes. Subjects were tested for mental function, both on a computer and using a movement test in a physical environment at the beginning and at the end of the study.

Why compare aerobic to ballroom dance? The ballroom dance group was focused on learning new steps (movement patterns), while members of the aerobic dance group were busy trying to keep their heart rate up (aerobic capacity).

The researchers found that both groups improved mental functioning. Michela Laureti, of Arthur Murray Ballroom Studio, explained that the mental benefits of ballroom dance come from the process of learning new steps, as well as working with partners. Aerobic dance is thought to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain, and the aerobic dancers might also have had to pay attention to quickly changing movements.

Nicolle explained that the goal wasn’t just to see what kind of dance improves mental function, but to understand how the brain and mind work.

He believes that “the brain adapts in specific ways to what is demanded of it. It doesn’t have to be dance. Everything with a mental demand will make the brain adapt. The mental benefits of dance classes are probably different than those of rock climbing.

“We would expect dance classes to improve mental functions related to rhythm and coordination, while learning something like rock climbing would probably challenge the brain to improve mental functions related to anticipation, planning, and problem solving,” he said.

The study is titled “Impact Of Dance Complexity on Computer-Based And Movement-Based Cognitive Performance.”

 

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Celebrate Educator Liz Rothlein’s Life on February 4


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Liz Rothlein

Liz Rothlein

Educator Liz Rothlein, who taught at the School of Education and Human Development for a quarter- century, including 13 years as associate dean, passed away on January 6 in her home in Warne, North Carolina, where she lived after retirement and volunteered for Meals on Wheels. She was 80.

Schooled in Ohio, Rothlein, who earned a doctoral degree in education from Ball State University, moved to Miami in 1976, authoring or co-authoring approximately 30 teacher education books for children, numerous journal articles, and presenting at many local, state, and national conferences.

Some of her noted credits and recognitions include Teacher of the Year, official listing as an outstanding Teacher of America, and teaching plaudits from the Bahamas and Oxford, England, summer exchange student visitation programs.

She is survived by her husband of more than 40 years, Ash Rothlein; two daughters, Terri Wild and Kimberly Brandt from a previous marriage to Floren Christman; two step-sons, Jay and Steve Rothlein; four grandchildren, Amanda, Jason, Tyler, and Sophie; sister Linda Foley; and brothers Jim and John Brandt.

A celebration of her life will be held in the Hurricane 100 Room at the University of Miami Watsco Center on Saturday, February 4 between 3 and 6 p.m. For more information, call Marilyn DeNarvaez at 305-284-3711. For directions check the website www6.miami.edu/hurricane100/ .

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Professor Named President-Elect of International TESOL

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Professor Named President-Elect of International TESOL


Luciana de Oliveira will become the first Latina to head the 51-year-old Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages International Association

By Bárbara Gutiérrez
UM News

luciana-de-oliviera

Luciana de Oliviera

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 21, 2016)—University of Miami Associate Professor Luciana C. de Oliveira, who chairs the Department of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education and Human Development, is president-elect of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association, an organization committed to advancing the quality of English-language teaching worldwide. Her three-year leadership term begins in March 2017, and includes a year as president and a year as past president.

Born in Brazil, de Oliveira will be the first Latina to serve as president of the 51-year-old association, which has as its main goal advancing the language teaching profession through professional development, research, standards, and advocacy.

“I’m so happy and humbled,” said de Oliveira. “This is pretty historic for TESOL since I am not only the first Latina who will become president, but also the youngest woman and the first South American. It’s just amazing to have this recognition from the members. I look forward to serving TESOL and its members in this new role.”

She joined TESOL in 2003 and served in various positions, most recently as a member of the board of directors for the past three years. As an immigrant who came to the United States in 1997, de Oliveira appreciates TESOL’s recognition of her as a Latina leader and hopes the organization will continue to focus on immigrant populations in the U.S. and support its members worldwide.

Isaac Prilleltensky, dean of the School of Education and Human Development, called de Oliveira’s election “a tremendous honor.”

“We are extremely proud of her work and of the international recognition of her scholarship. Her work is having a global impact and the TESOL results demonstrate her international standing in her field,” said Prilleltensky. “Her work touches on many of our University initiatives, such as educational innovation, culture of belonging, and hemispheric reach. Her presidency will enhance the visibility of the School of Education and Human Development and our work in the promotion of educational, psychological, and physical well-being in multicultural communities.”

De Oliveira joined the UM faculty in 2015 after teaching at Columbia and Purdue universities. Her research focuses on issues related to teaching English-language learners at the K-12 level, including the role of language in learning the content areas, teacher education, advocacy and social justice, and non-native English-speaking teachers in TESOL.

She has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited 17 books, with several others under contract, and has a total of over 200 publications, including refereed journal articles and book chapters. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience in the field of TESOL. Her many awards and honors include being the 2012 recipient of the Early Career Award by the Bilingual Education Research special interest group of AERA.

For more information about the TESOL International Organization visit www.tesol.org.

 

 

 

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Professor Wins Premier Psychology Award

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Professor Wins Premier Psychology Award


Blaine Fowers

Blaine Fowers

Professor Honored by American Psychological Foundation 

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August, 29, 2016)—Blaine Fowers, a professor of educational and psychological studies in the School of Education and Human Development, has been awarded the Joseph B. Gittler Award from the American Psychological Foundation for his contributions to the philosophical foundations of psychology.

The annual award, which includes a $7,500 honorarium, honors theoretical psychologists who question the basic assumptions most psychologists take for granted. Among them: whether it is possible to study human psychology in a value-neutral way, whether human psychology can be explained only in terms of causal forces, or whether humans have agency or choice. They also ponder whether humans are fundamentally separate individuals or initially social creatures who only later become individuals.

“The Gittler award is an honor to receive because it is the premier award given to recognize work on the philosophical foundations of psychology in North America,” said Fowers. “The importance of the award was indicated by its first two awardees, Jerome Bruner and Daniel Kahneman (who also won a Nobel Prize), two giants in psychology.”

The Gittler award was established through a bequest from Joseph Gittler, Ph.D., who wished to recognize psychologists who are making and will continue to make scholarly contributions to the philosophical foundations of psychological knowledge.

Isaac Prilleltensky, dean of the School of Education and Human Development, said Fowers’ work helps to illuminate fundamental assumptions underlying psychological thinking.

“His contributions reveal the culturally embedded nature of much psychological thinking and practice. If you want to be a better psychologist, or a better consumer of psychological theories and services, you have to understand the philosophical foundations of the discipline,” Prilleltensky said. “Fowers has helped psychologists and the public at large to understand unquestioned assumptions about the profession, dealing mainly with biases towards individualism.”

Fowers joined the faculty in 1990 and served as the director of training for the doctoral program in counseling psychology from 1997 to 2005 and as department chair from 2005 to 2009. In his role as a teacher, Fowers provides instruction in character development and flourishing, research methods, the evolution of human social life, and preparation for academic careers.

He has an active research team of doctoral and undergraduate research assistants who are engaged in the interdisciplinary study of the virtues of kindness, fairness, and friendship. The author of two books, The Evolution of EthicsVirtue and Psychology and Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness, Fowers also coauthored Re-envisioning Psychology and the forthcoming Human Frailty and Flourishing. His scholarly interests center on the contributions of Aristotle’s ethics to a richer understanding of psychological theory, research, and practice.

Fowers received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He served as an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico before coming to Miami.

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Walter Secada Honored in Peru

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Walter Secada Honored in Peru


By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Walter Secada

Peruvian-born Walter Secada speaks at the ceremony where he was awarded an honorary professorship at the Universidad La Salle in Arequipa, Peru.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 9, 2016) – In the spirit of giving back and sharing his many personal and professional attributes, University of Miami faculty member Walter Secada has dedicated more than 20 years of his life to providing professional and educational training to the Ministry of Education and other educational entities in his native Peru.

Last April, in recognition of his work, Secada, professor and senior associate dean of UM’s School of Education and Human Development, was awarded an honorary professorship from Universidad La Salle in Arequipa, Peru.

“My work in Peru is predicated on giving back,” said the Peruvian-born Secada, who was raised in the U.S. “It is not enough to remember where you’re from. But by giving back to the country of my birth, in the form of collaborative research and the sharing of what I have learned as an academic at the University of Miami and elsewhere, I hope to improve the conditions under which my fellow Peruvians learn mathematics and science. By giving back, I contribute to that nation’s development.”

During the awards ceremony, Ivan Montes, rector of Universidad La Salle, praised Secada for his many publications, accomplishments, and contributions to education in Peru. He noted that Secada has been working with the Universidad La Salle, the nongovernmental agency known as GRADE, and the Peruvian Ministry of Education for more than 20 years, conducting collaborative research and workshops on a variety of topics and devising strategies to improve Peru’s mathematics curriculum.

In a talk prior to receiving the award, Secada argued that academics have an obligation to engage in work in which “outcomes are likely to take place in the long term” because tenure gives them the security needed to take the long view. In addition, Secada argued, academics have a “moral obligation to study about and to speak out on the controversies of the day” because, once again, tenure protects them and because they owe to their students the opportunity to discuss, without fear, the controversies that are shaping their world.

“I have the best job in the world,” concluded Secada.

In bestowing the honor, Montes quoted Secada’s collaborator at GRADE, Santiago Cueto, saying that “Walter Secada is a good man.”

“He has always been supportive of us, and he has enriched our knowledge with his analytical and international perspective,” said Montes.

Secada received his B.A in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Mathematics and a Ph.D in education from Northwestern University.

 

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