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THE SECRET LIFE OF THE BRAIN
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Program 2: Childhood: Syllable from Sound
In childhood, we grow and learn more rapidly than at any other time in life, but nowhere is learning more dramatic than in the way a child learns language. Most children learn to speak and read easily, but some have trouble. Many are unable to master the skills due to learning disorders, one of which is dyslexia. How do their brains differ from others? Where does the problem lie and how can it be overcome? Is it really only one problem? Learning disabilities can also be nonverbal.

Headline

Up until about eleven months of age, a baby can hear the sounds of all languages. Gradually, hearing becomes more selective and perception is limited mostly to the sounds of one's native language. In babies, the language function is handled by both the left and right hemispheres, but as children mature language becomes more focused in the left hemisphere.

Career Focus

The minimum requirement to begin teaching science is a bachelor's degree, preferably in science with some education credits. Usually, a master's degree must be obtained within five years of beginning teaching in order to qualify for state certification. The master's degree can be in a branch of science with additional education credits or in science education. Check with the Department of Education of your state for your state's certification requirements.

Bob Berwick, New Canaan (Connecticut) Country School, has been teaching life sciences for over 32 years. Berwick finds that a strong background in one's subject, flexibility, and enthusiasm are key to reaching students. He himself was inspired to enter the field by his seventh grade teacher, Carl Gruszczak, whose love of science opened the door to a new world. Berwick finds the most challenging and the most exciting part of teaching science is staying current with all the latest developments, especially the new insights from brain research and learning theory about how children learn.

Every day in the classroom is rewarding. Daily, this dedicated teacher sees a light bulb go on for at least one student who has a "Wow!" moment. That's what's kept him going for all these years. "The students are wonderful reflections of endless possibilities. Sometimes you tear your hair out, but it's worth it," says Berwick.

Here is a list of resources related to a career in teaching.

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