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Students Notebook

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A Matter Of Pride: A survey by the American Association of University Women Education Foundation has found that schools are a major contributor to the dramatic drop in selfesteem and aspirations that girls experience during adolescence. The foundation, which surveyed 3,000 students in grades 4-10, found that, although both boys and girls tend to lose self-esteem during adolescence, the decline among girls is more severe. The survey also found that teachers often inadvertently foster girls' lack of confidence in their academic abilities by sending cues that boys are more able than girls.

Sneeze Now, Play Later: Infants and toddlers in day-care programs initially face a higher risk of catching colds and viruses but may suffer fewer such illnesses than other children by the time they enter school, according to a study by the national Centers for Disease Control published in the January issue of Pediatrics.

Student Sponges: A study by the National Association of Secondary School Principals concludes that too many 8th graders spend their school day as "sponges,'' passively soaking up lessons without engaging in meaningful discussions or analyzing what they are being taught. The study urges districts to revamp the 8th grade in a way that gives students greater opportunity to participate, question, and exercise responsibility. Teachers should facilitate more discussion to encourage critical thinking. Copies of Inside Grade Eight: From Apathy to Excitement are available for $10 each from NASSP, 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091; (703) 860-0200. ----Jeffrey Porro

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