Archive for ‘motivation’

June 5, 2014

Summertime Can Be Easy, and Happily Productive Too!

girl with carrotsSome parents look toward summer with happy anticipation, building a packed schedule of family activities and outdoor fun. Others wonder how on earth they’re going to keep their kids occupied over the long slow weeks ahead. No matter which camp you’re in–or if you’re somewhere in between and hope to balance times of activity and relaxation–there are ideas and attitudes that can make the summertime happily productive. For everyone! 

The Basics

  1. Make plans with your kids. Ask them how they’d like to spend their summer. (This gets them thinking about the summer months, and helps them take some ownership over how they spend their time.) Do what you can, within reason, to accommodate at least a few of their suggestions.
  2. Focus on imagination and free unstructured play.  Especially for kids whose school year schedule is packed with serious stuff, summer should nurture a sense of freedom and enable them to exercise their creativity.

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February 8, 2014

Meeting Diverse Learning Needs: How Parents Can Work toward Changing a Good School to a Great School for All Kids

diverse learning needsWhen a school is already doing a great job with their kids, parents are generally satisfied. However, when change is needed—as in the case of moving toward meeting diverse learning needs—things can get rocky. It’s human to resist change, or feel threatened by it, or believe that a new practice or perspective will disrupt what’s already working very well.

With a visionary school leader, however, working with a team of teachers and parents, a school can make the transition from excellence for most to excellence for all, including meeting the learning needs of children who learn differently for reasons of attention or other kinds of learning problems. 

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November 5, 2013

How Parents Can Help Kids Build Their Intelligence

How Parents Can Help Their Kids Build Their IntelligenceChildren don’t start off smart. They become that way over time, with the right kinds of supports and learning opportunities at the right times in their lives. Here are four ways parents can actively participate in their child building a foundation for his or her intelligence:

  1. 1.      Appreciate your child’s unique profile of abilities:
  • Recognize that children’s abilities vary by domain—math, music, language, social, etc.—and that each child has a unique profile of intelligences. A child who’s highly capable in one area may have learning challenges in another area.
  • Pay attention to your child’s changing abilities, goals, attitudes, and interests.
  • Use different kinds of information sources, including school grades, and your own and others’ observations of your child’s interests, concerns, persistence, and motivation.
  • By appreciating individual developmental differences, you increase your child’s engagement in learning and intrinsic motivation, which leads to better learning outcomes, greater self-efficacy, and stronger likelihood of happy productivity across her life span.
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September 1, 2013

Seeing Beyond the Distraction of IQ

rsz a_boy_a_girl_and_a_bookIn our work with families and schools, we’ve noticed that people sometimes confuse encouraging the development of children’s real-world intelligence—that is, raising smarter kids—and raising their IQs. It’s a distinction worth noting. Here’s why.

Intelligence is so much more than a score on a test. Secrets for raising smarter kids include keeping the emphasis on thinking, learning, challenging, creating, finding balance, playing, working hard, collaborating, persevering, and becoming wise. Boosting a child’s real-world intelligence may boost his intelligence test score, but not necessarily. And vice versa.

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September 1, 2013

How Comforting Kids When They Fail Can Rob Them of Motivation to Learn, by Luc Kumps

thinkingTeachers’ attitudes can have a powerful effect on kids’ motivation. Comforting students when they don’t do well can rob them of their motivation to learn, reduce their likelihood of taking on challenging courses, and lock them into low achievement.

If you believe talent is something a person is born with, or not, you’re more likely than others to give up when faced with difficulties. You’ll think that setbacks indicate the limits of your ability. People who think this way—sometimes called having a ‘fixed mindset’– avoid investing a lot of effort in a task, since effort exposes their lack of natural ability.

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