Cover Story

The Study of Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

In many parts of the world, September ushers in the start of a new academic year. Students in countries from China to Iran to the United States are heading back to school, embarking on a new year of reading classic literature, solving complex math problems, learning science, and writing essays and term papers.

In recognition of this important time of year, the Observer presents a special feature section focused on the science of learning. Our coverage includes the latest psychological research on the proverbial “three Rs” (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). We showcase research demonstrating the influence that literature can have on social skills, the importance of handwriting for memory and intellectual development, and the role that neurological activity plays in math anxiety.


The most serious problem in higher education is the absolute power of faculty to evaluate students subjectively and arbitrarily. That stifles discussion.
Problems some of which are hardly ever mentioned by writers on education are student sense of entitlement, grade inflation, relativism (everything is whatever you think it is, students viewing themselves as customers, the belief that a passing grade or even an “A: should be awarded because a student needs it or in recognition of a students worth as a person, failure to socialize students to behave appropriately in the classroom, median indoctrination to hero worship teams and athletes, actors and actresses, singers and songwriters, etc. I have written an article “Education for a Participatory Democracy.” Perhaps the Observer would like to publish it. I’m a clinical psychologist and college teacher now retired and engaged in wriiting.

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