We had a half day today. Some very young prospective pre-K kids came to visit the school. Then all classes were dismissed at 11:00 a.m. The school provided a nice sandwich lunch for the teachers.
After lunch, a psychologist and author came to talk to the faculty about gender differences in learning. He teaching social skills to boys who have problems communicating. I'm interested in the topic in any case (as I wrote in this book review, which originally several opinionated comments that have since vanished), and he was a good speaker. He talked about the link between good hearing (girls hear better and with more breadth than boys) and phonological awareness, and how the latter is essential to social comprehension and emotional skill. He gave us a lot of instructional strategies for maximizing executive control --- the ability to maintain and monitor one's memory and reaction to transitional situations.
The school day ended at the normal time, but then we were all required to come back at 7:00 p.m. and hear more or less the same talk, only this time tailored for parents instead of teachers. It wasn't as awful as it sounds, as some of the information was different, and the speaker really was skilled at capturing attention. At one point, he showed a series of pictures of eyes --- only the eyes cut out from photos of people. He asked audience to label each pair of eyes' intended expression; it's a test for autism. Boys usually perform more poorly than girls, but I got every one right. No autism for me!