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Thursday, June 20 • 10:00am - 11:30am
Paper Presentations

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The Value of the We Love Reading Program for Executive Functions
Rana Dajani, Alya Al-Sager
Early childhood enrichment opportunities have been shown to shape executive functions (EF), which play a critical role in the development of academic skills, including school readiness and future educational achievement. This paper's authors partnered with We Love Reading (WLR), a Jordan-based organization designed to promote reading for pleasure among children, in order to demonstrate the impact of the WLR read-aloud method on executive functions in children. Over a three-month interval with the WLR program, the authors found that the number of books in the home and the number of children that considered reading as a hobby had increased, and this increase was related to an improvement in the working memory/task switching component of the EF tasks. These data suggest how programming that increases motivation in reading practices improves components of executive functions in early childhood. Implications are discussed for addressing how enrichment programs can promote life-long learning and academic success through accessible, inclusive, and sustainable mediums.

Changing the State of Literacy in the Digital Age in India
Aanandita Gahlot, Shubhankar Gahlot
India deals with troubles in literacy due to factors like shortage of quality academic institutions and unsuitable curriculum. Digital Technology is credited as something that can bridge the gap between quality institutions and individuals, making learning more engaging. The Indian Government has launched Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA)* under its Digital India initiative. This initiative aims to make at least one individual from each household digitally literate so that they develop the skills needed to link with the rapidly growing digital world. This scheme aims to target rural populations, including minorities, those living below the poverty line, women, and differently-abled people. This paper explores the changing state of literacy in India after the implementation of PGMDISHA.

Embedding Critical Thinking in International Studies Language Programs
Hossam Ahmed
In International Studies BA programs, students do not attain proficiency levels high enough to enable them to develop their critical thinking skills in dealing with texts from the target culture(s). This is especially true for the so-called Less-Commonly Taught Languages. Redesigning the final course in the language sequence as a 'Language in Practice' course addresses this issue through Task-Based Language Teaching. Abandoning the goal of proficiency for higher performance goals, and focusing on only a subset of language modes of communication, enables integrating critical thinking skills in specific relevant contexts. Maintaining only relevant aspects of Task-Based Language Teaching and allowing others to be carried out in English rather than the target language can preserve task authenticity, and allow for more in-depth development of critical thinking skills using texts from the target cultures.

avatar for Dana Doyle

Dana Doyle

Director, MITx Program, MIT Open Learning
Dana Doyle earned her B.F.A. from Pratt Institute, NY in 1992 and her MEd from Northeastern University, MA in 2018. Over the past 20 years her work has been focused on digital solutions design and management. Ms. Doyle has been working at MIT in the MITx group for over 4 years and... Read More →

Thursday June 20, 2019 10:00am - 11:30am
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