When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

Pages

There Are No Bad, Lazy, Stupid Children

Nov 16, 2012
Originally published on November 16, 2012 3:01 pm

Walk into a 3rd-grade classroom and see children negotiating an obstacle course: desks, chairs and boxes create tunnels through which the students are crawling. A whistle blows and the students freeze in place; when a bell sounds, the kids once again negotiate their makeshift maze.

Now enter a 1st-grade classroom. The legs of the desks and chairs at which students work are padded with tennis balls. Loud play is sequestered in one side of the room. Just as noisy distractions are controlled, so are visual ones: there's little clutter, and the bulletin boards are spare rather than jumbled with bright colors. When children feel especially restless, they sit on "calming cushions" and use the set of worry beads they created in class.

What's going on? According to Canadian child-development expert Stuart Shanker of the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative at York University, teachers and students in classrooms like these are working together to enhance the students' self-regulation. Self-regulation refers to a state of calm focus. When, through guidance by adults toward sensory awareness and impulse control, students gain greater self-regulation, their readiness for learning increases.

In his book Calm, Alert, and Learning, Shanker discusses how educators and parents may work with kids on self-regulation in the classroom, on the playground, and at home. (Note: Shanker is a colleague and friend of mine; we have published together and he cites my work in his book.)

Shanker's model is rooted in child-development science and knowledge of the nervous system, and is comprehensive across five domains: biological, emotional, cognitive, social and prosocial. For me, its key take-home message is this: what happens around the child in a critical moment — when calmness has fled and success at some task seems out of reach — makes all the difference because the child's behavior is part of a surrounding dynamic system.

Shanker speaks in systems terms when he talks about the importance of "reframing" a child's behavior. Here's what he told me this past Sunday:

So often we are annoyed or impatient when a child isn't paying attention, is easily distracted, impulsive, withdrawn, oppositional. And our message to the child, delivered verbally and/or non-verbally, is that he had better apply himself, exercise self-control, make a greater effort. Or else we try to get him to stop what he's doing or to do what we want with punishments or rewards, even though this really doesn't work and often makes things worse.

[Instead] we can work with the child to reduce his stressors and help the child learn how to do this for himself. There is no such thing as a bad child, or a lazy child, or a stupid child. These are just children. But if we do the wrong things, if we neglect them or are too hard on them, we can turn them into a bad, lazy or stupid child.

I'm not claiming that these ideas for helping kids are totally new, nor would Shanker. Stanley Greenspan (1941- 2010) is credited frequently in the book, to take only one example. What I find fresh and promising about Shanker's perspective is its refusal to heap blame — or too much praise — on a child.

Rather, Shanker and his team tap into the child's own ability for self-mastery. They invite educators, parents and anyone who cares about kids to bring abstract ideas about self-regulation into a place of concrete ideas and strategies. They go beyond the learning of skills like English and mathematics to boost the learning of empathy by children for other children and for animals.

All of us can, I believe, learn more effectively how to help children help themselves in combating the bombardment of stresses in today's world.


You can keep up with more of what Barbara is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.