American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in a Chinese immersion class in Utah. Research shows bilingual people can have learning advantages over monolingual people. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

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American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in a Chinese immersion class in Utah. Research shows bilingual people can have learning advantages over monolingual people. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

Recent Posts

  • 08.19.14

    Paul Tough on How Children Succeed

    Paul Tough talks about his new book, How Children Succeed. He says it’s character that matters when it comes to learning. Children need curiosity, optimism and self-control.
  • 08.12.14

    Tracking and Vocational Ed

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  • 08.04.14

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Adoption stories


Beth-Ann Bloom
Woodbury, MN

Birth Country: South Korea
Decade of adoption: 1980s

I did not set out to adopt. For several years I used my professional skills to act as a resource to folks placing international waiting kids for adoption. I traveled to Seoul with staff of Children's Home Society of Minnesota to meet many children and the dedicated staff who cared for them. One little boy had Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease, a disorder that I had just published several research papers on). I assured the social workers that this darling one-year-old would do very well in an adoptive family. I did not realize that the conversation swirling around me in Korean was a decision to remove Chung Koo Hak from his excellent foster home because there was no placement forthcoming and there was no more funding for foster care.

When I asked about the little boy on my return and learned that he was gone, I asked for the opportunity to adopt him myself. CHSM staff were really clear that the Koreans would never accept placement with a single woman but they permitted me to pay for and submit a home study.

My son came home within six months. He is now in college with all the ups and downs that brings for every family. He won a trip around the world in 6th grade and we visited Seoul and some of the people who had cared for him along the way. We also visited the institution he likely would have been sent to. The most amazing feeling was to understand that the facilities for children with Korea are so non-existent that the institution for the handicapped is not wheel-chair accessible.

I caution you to tread lightly on the oft-explored theme of unhappy adopted kids ripped from their birth countries and raised in foreign lands. Many of these children come from countries without the resources to meet their physical needs. Yes, it would we wonderful if the Korean culture and economy changed enough to offer him the medical care, educational accommodations, rehabilitation, and accessibility he needs. It wouldn't have happened fast enough for him. It is a good thing you are telling individual stories because that's what international adoption is, individuals.

I showed my son that CHSM was seeking mentors for young adopted children. He said, "I wouldn't be very good at that because I would say, 'I am not an adopted Korean person with a disability. I am just a person.'"



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in a Chinese immersion class in Utah. Research shows bilingual people can have learning advantages over monolingual people. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

Recent Posts

  • 08.19.14

    Paul Tough on How Children Succeed

    Paul Tough talks about his new book, How Children Succeed. He says it’s character that matters when it comes to learning. Children need curiosity, optimism and self-control.
  • 08.12.14

    Tracking and Vocational Ed

    Jeannie Oakes, who has studied tracking for decades, says vocational ed and "tracking" are connected, and that sorting students by race and class is still a problem.
  • 08.04.14

    Reinventing College for a New Kind of Student

    Long-predicted demographic changes mean a new kind of student is figuring out where to go to college, and how to pay for it.
  • 07.29.14

    Is School Funding Fair?

    A new report looks at why some schools have a lot of money to spend per pupil, while others don't, and what to do about it.