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Published: 10 Apr 2008

McGill’s newest mini-lectures offer public crash course in psychology, education, and parenting

McGill’s newest mini-lectures offer public crash course in psychology, education, and parenting

On April 24, McGill University kicks off the latest addition to its popular McGill Minis series, with a focus on Educational Psychology. Since the inaugural McGill Minis in 2001, thousands of members of the public have enjoyed bite-sized tastes of academia from McGill experts on Law, Medicine, Business, Music and Science.

The new Mini EdPsych series will run every Thursday night until June 5. Here is a rundown of the speakers and the issues they will address:

Masters of Your Own Domain
Dr. Susanne Lajoie on expertise development (April 24)

What do Einstein and Tiger Woods have in common? How do you define success? Dr. Susanne Lajoie explores differences between novices and experts, and how each can develop competence in specific domains, such as math and science. Using tools like computer-based learning environments, she has worked with subjects ranging from high-schoolers to medical students, pinpointing best teaching practices in the process.

Exposed: Liars, Cheats, and Scams
Dr. Victoria Talwar on moral development in children (May 1)

Why do children tell lies? Do they know it’s wrong in the same way adults do? Dr. Victoria Talwar will discuss moral development in children, the role the concept of honesty plays in it, and how factors such as parenting and environment may influence it. Her work, which offers a unique window into children’s cognitive and social development, has led to changes in Canada’s Criminal Code with respect to child testimonies, and has been featured on ABC News Nightline and in New York magazine.

Picking Up Motivation By Your Bootstraps
Dr. Krista Muis on motivation (May 8)

Why do we do the things we do? What motivates us, and how can we motivate the unmotivated? We have all experienced being unmotivated in school, work, or in general. Dr. Krista Muis will unravel the mysteries behind motivation. Based on her research, she will explore various types of motivation, highlight what to avoid and what to do to achieve optimal motivation and performance.

When Being “Fragile” Has A Whole New Meaning…
Dr. Kim Cornish on developmental disabilities (May 15)

Since 1998, Quebec has favoured the placement of students with developmental disabilities in regular classrooms. Was it the right decision? Dr. Kim Cornish will discuss how the policy is leading to better performance in school, as well as stronger peer relationships and heightened awareness and respect. Her work is key to understanding how each student, whether afflicted with a developmental disability such as autism or ADHD or not, can reach their full potential in every stage of life, from kindergarten to the workforce.

Surviving Parenthood!
Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky on understanding child development (May 22)

What is going on inside my child’s head? Why do children not understand our perspective? Every parent has asked these questions, and Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky will look to provide some answers to help parents understand the child’s world. He will discuss strategies for dealing with typical problematic issues parents encounter on a daily basis, such as helping with homework, the Dos and Don'ts of discipline and whether asking children to do chores is unreasonable. He’ll also discuss effective strategies for dealing with sibling rivalry. Dr. Derevensky, former director of the Ready Set Go and McGill's Annual Parenting Conference, will walk the audience through the trials, challenges and anxieties associated with parenting.

You Think You Understand? Read Again!
Dr. Panayiota Kendeou on learning from texts (May 29)

How do we understand what we read? Why do we fail to understand, even if we are perfectly decoding every single word? What strategies can help us learn more effectively from written materials? Dr. Panayiota Kendeou will discuss her investigations into the cognitive processes that support learning and memory. Her research focuses on the acquisition of reading comprehension skills in young children as well as the cognitive skills used by adults to comprehend texts.

Facing Your Fears: When Virtual Reality Becomes Reality!
Dr. Martin Drapeau on Psychotherapy (June 5)

Are video games really a waste of time? What if your doctor suggested treating your anxieties and fears with a game your children play on their computer? Video games are no longer just a game. They can also help you face your fears, be it a simple fear of spiders or a fear of all social situations. As a psychotherapy researcher, Dr. Martin Drapeau studies the best way to treat psychological suffering. He has researched traditional psychotherapy but more recently, his research has focused on the use of new technologies, such as virtual reality. Fear no more; the results are promising.

Space for this event is limited. Should the event be sold out, those interested in attending will be added to a waiting list.

On the web: www.mcgill.ca/edu-ecp/miniedpsych/

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