As a child I spent a great deal of time considering the possibilities of the world. I asked “what if” and then followed up with trial and error to achieve what I was working for.
My children and I played “what if” frequently when they were small. It helped them to think of the world as a place of adventures and creations waiting to be developed.
My grandchildren experience that with their mother, who has a degree in art.
But in my practice, I see too many children who don’t know how to ask “what if” except for fearfully. They don’t know how to ask with curiosity and anticipation. In school they are presented with worksheet after worksheet. They are losing recess time to complete these worksheets, sometimes because they can’t get them done fast enough and other times because they need to reach a certain goal of materials covered.
This article on creativity is a major red flag about how the current focus on teaching to the test is causing our children to lose their creativity. Creativity is so important for innovation and problem solving. Let’s begin a conversation with “what if” looking at ways to bring creativity back into the classroom and see what that does for test scores. I am sure it will improve useful life scores when they go to get jobs and start careers.
I have a colleague in the National Speakers Association who has C4-5 quadriplegia. He has an active speaking career, traveling around the country on his own. He has had to learn many strategies in order to be independent. It was not fast or easy.
He filmed himself doing the task of undressing (not to the explicit level so still rated G) to point out what allowing individuals the time and skills could allow them to achieve.
This is a message I would like all of you to consider as you work with your children or your students and feel that time has run out and you can no longer provide the time to get them to the mastery level of a task. Many of these children can already complete the task but need more time to use their cognitive skills to figure it out.
I have just found an article that provides 10 reasons why spanking is not effective. The reasons are all well thought out and are backed by the latest research on child development, especially brain development. I would like to hear what you think about the article and also about my insights.
It is refreshing to see that schools are now recognizing that zero tolerance and negative responses to all actions does not allow the student to develop a sense or mastery over their own behaviors. Students need to know that they are meeting expectations, not to just assume that if they are not being criticized or punished they are doing what the teacher or principal wants.
As a society we need to remember that children and teens don’t have all the answers. They need to hear often that they are making progress and developing mastery skills. They are not choosing to do it wrong or to make things worse. They need us to help them learn the steps to success.
This is an important blog to read about Robin Williams. I have to admit that I did not know that he had dyslexia although I was well aware that Whoopi Goldberg had it.
It is so important for us to realize that dyslexia and other learning struggles do have an impact on children. What they don’t need to hear is that they have to work harder and then they will get it. What they need is for teachers and parents to realize that the “usual” way of teaching them might not be fitting, and to look at other methods which have evidence to back that they help. The use of multisensory, structured, language-based reading approaches have been around since the 1930’s but most schools still don’t use them, even for the struggling readers. While the most severely impaired students with dyslexia may not make as much progress they still will make more than with the right brained approach of look/memorize, write and rewrite approach. They need to have the left side of their brains activated in order to develop the phonemic and phonologic neural pathways.
I hope that you approach children differently who are struggling with learning after you read this.