American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
science-smart

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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  • 08.19.14

    Learning to love tests

    If there's consensus on anything in education, it's this: Tests are awful. But maybe we've been thinking about tests all wrong. Research shows that tests can actually be powerful tools for learning -- but only if teachers use them right.
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    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.
  • 08.18.14

    This is your brain on language

    For decades psychologists cautioned against raising children bilingual. They warned parents and teachers that learning a second language as a child was bad for brain development. But recent studies have found exactly the opposite.

American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
science-smart

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

  • 08.20.14

    Variation is key to deeper learning

    Humans obviously learn a lot of things through trial-and-error. A level of "desirable difficulty" built into a learning and exam process appears to boost the overall retention of new skills or knowledge.
  • 08.19.14

    Learning to love tests

    If there's consensus on anything in education, it's this: Tests are awful. But maybe we've been thinking about tests all wrong. Research shows that tests can actually be powerful tools for learning -- but only if teachers use them right.
  • 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.
  • 08.18.14

    This is your brain on language

    For decades psychologists cautioned against raising children bilingual. They warned parents and teachers that learning a second language as a child was bad for brain development. But recent studies have found exactly the opposite.


Adoption stories


This is Cristina's first school picture taken at Kensington Park Elementary School where she was attending Pre-K3. Cristina started Pre-K4 in August of 2005 at Canterbury Preschool at the University of Miami.

Ada Valdes
Miami, FL

Birth Country: CN
Decade of adoption: 2000 or later

I was born in Havana, Cuba and my great, great grandfather emigrated from Canton, China to Las Villas, Cuba. I came to the United States as a refugee from the Castro regime in the early 60s.

Three years ago, I traveled to China and adopted Yang Chun Ji (now Cristina Chun Ji Valdes) from Yangchun, Guangdong (Canton) China. Cristina is now four years old.

I am a single mother and my adoption was facilitated through a non-profit agency in Indiana named Families thru International Adoption. The process took 22 months in total and those 22 months were the hardest 22 months of my life. During the time I was waiting, there was talk that China was closing the doors to single parent adoptions. It is was speculated, but never really documented, that the Chinese government had discovered that many homosexuals in the United States were adopting from China because the laws in the United States did not allow them to. Because of this, I had to have friends and relatives write letters and I had to sign affidavits attesting to the fact that I was not a homosexual. My social worker had to include verbiage in my home study about my relationships with men and the reason why I never married.

Consequently, China has adopted quota for single parent adoptions and will only allow less than two percent of the adoptive population to be to single parents. They have raised the standard for single parents to be college educated and have a higher than average income. It is now very difficult for a single parent to adopt a child from China.

Fortunately, I have been approved and am currently in the process of adopting a second daughter.

The parent of some girls that came from the same orphanage in Yangchun, China maintain an internet e-list to keep our daughters in touch with each other. Last year we held a reunion in Williamsburg, VA and 100 girls, and their families, from all parts of the US, Canada and Europe attended. These girls ranged from as young as one and a half years to age nine. Our group was able to bring the orphanage director from China (accompanied by a party official) to attend the reunion. It was a wonderful experience to see all these girls, who had most probably been abandoned by families in search of a son, living the American lifestyle and definitely living an existence better than the boys they were given up for.

My daughter, Cristina, is growing up as a happy, dancing, multi-lingual Chinese Cuban American in Miami, FL. She loves her abuelo and abuela, her extended family of cousins, uncles and aunts, dim sum and frijoles negros, and Disney World. The American Dream came true for one of China's unwanted girls.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
science-smart

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

  • 08.20.14

    Variation is key to deeper learning

    Humans obviously learn a lot of things through trial-and-error. A level of "desirable difficulty" built into a learning and exam process appears to boost the overall retention of new skills or knowledge.
  • 08.19.14

    Learning to love tests

    If there's consensus on anything in education, it's this: Tests are awful. But maybe we've been thinking about tests all wrong. Research shows that tests can actually be powerful tools for learning -- but only if teachers use them right.
  • 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.
  • 08.18.14

    This is your brain on language

    For decades psychologists cautioned against raising children bilingual. They warned parents and teachers that learning a second language as a child was bad for brain development. But recent studies have found exactly the opposite.