I am actually asked for my advice on it from my point of view as someone who makes daily decisions about students as well as my position as a parent who has put children through both the private and public school system.
Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:
I have to agree with this writer. Teaching children requires an understanding of how learning occurs, what types of approaches will increase understanding and output, and that class size does matter if one really wants to teacher to be able to notice when a child is falling behind.
While I do feel that many aspects of child development and the neuroscience of learning have yet to become a mainstream part of teacher preparation and post college inservices and trainings, our children need a team of people who work together to help a child maximize his learning potential. This means, teacher, parents, extended family, extended community, and our nation.
As science has advanced, we have learned why one child in 6 struggles with learning the needed skills for daily living, social interaction, and academic learning. But as a society, we have yet to accept that this many children need individualization of how they are taught in order to allow them to become lifelong learners, rather than learning avoiders.
Let’s step up to the plate in 2014 and have a real conversation on how to bring our communities together to help our youngest citizens. They can’t do it without us and we need to work together, not at odds with each other.
Perspective from The New England Journal of Medicine — Dead Man Walking
Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:
This is an important essay since it looks at the the reality of our current healthcare services in the United States. While this article looked only at adults, there are also many children who experiencing life threatening events because of lack of insurance.
Let’s work to make sure that the working poor, like the man in this essay, do have access to healthcare which will likely save their lives.
I get a lot of gift catalogs and always chuckle when they advertise the "faux plants." Why they do not call them "fake plants" is pretty obvious. Nobody would want to buy something fake, so they give the items a fancy name as if that is really going to fool anyone. They keep doing it, so the method must be working for them.
Parents, educators, and others who work with children with developmental and behavioral challenges on a daily basis will find Robert Whipple's latest blog one to think about.
When dealing with challenging children/teens, we tend to blame them and demand that they comply with certain standards. But frequently they will point out the inconsistencies of this in that the adults don't feel like they need to follow the same expectations. I have parents and teachers tell me that they will show a child/student respect after they receive respect from the child/student. What they fail to take into consideration is that children learn about life from us. If they never experience respect, even when very small, they don't have a template on which to build an expression of respect for others.
A great example of children doing as they experience is when my children were small, the two older ones came to me and said that I had to stop swearing because their 18 month old sister was copying me. Now I didn't think I was swearing but they said that my "Oh my God" when overwhelmed was swearing. Now I hate to admit it but my 18 month old did sound "cute" saying "Oh my God" in her toddler voice, but I respected my other children for speaking up about something they felt was important. So over the next few months she and I went through a transition of "Oh my God, gosh" to eventually "Oh my gosh". Now she is in her 20's and I am back to "Oh my God" and she says much worse, but I did show my children it was important to trust me that I would do the right thing when it was brought to my attention.
Recently, however, it came back to haunt my oldest child. Her 3 year old daughter came into my office, went to "her chair" and immediately said "Grandma, you have to move that "s..t". I politely asked her to repeat herself to make sure I heard correctly and she said "Grandma, you need to remove your "s..t" so I can sit down. I then asked her (politely) to say "Grandma can you move your stuff so I can sit down" which she did graciously and I complied. I then texted her mother that Karma sucks and she now would have to clean up her language.
As you read this blog, look at where you may be demonstrating faux trust and think about how you can turn that around. It will help both you and the children/teens you work and live with.
It is the middle of September and you are already tired. It is scary isn't it? This tired feeling so early in the school year. If this is what September feels like, how will we ever make it to Thanksgiving? How will we ever survive until May? There is just so much to do. So many new programs to learn, new formats to master, new IEPs and 504 Plans and accommodations to keep track of.
Too many people take teachers for granted. And they blame them for children not achieving. But, as Hillary Clinton said, it takes a village to raise a child. We need to support each other in helping all children achieve, even if their needs, in order to achieve, are different from the majority of students.
I just got back from 6 days of speaking (3 in Ohio and 3 in Northern California) and I can tell you that there are professionals out there who are looking at how to help the children who function differently. These are the one in six children who have a neurodevelopmental disorder - 1) intellectual disorders, 2) communication disorders, 3) autism spectrum disorders, 4) ADHD, 5) learning disorders, and 6) motor disorders. These children process life differently and need teachers, mentors, and coaches to make the time to teach them the strategies and coping mechanisms to feel functional in the mainstream world of our communities. It is not easy and it is not fast, and YES, it is very tiring. But as this blog states, it does make a difference. It does help keep these children out of jail as they get older.
We still have a long way to go, but believing that as you learn about these children and find people who can help you develop strategies to engage them in learning and understanding social interaction, you will be part of that village that will successfully raise our children.
This year is on track to be the worst for measles in more than a decade, according to new numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:
Having seen the effect of these preventable diseases both growing up and as a phyisician for 30+ years, I know that immunizations help save lives. Unfortunately, since most people born after the advent of immunizations have not lived with the disease, they don’t realize that they are playing with fire by not immunizing their children. Despite what some people like to say, research is NOT showing that vaccines cause autism. This is not just from research in the US but by research across the globe.
Consider the risk you are putting your child in as well as the risk to others, especially those with immune problems, such as people with cancer, before you decide not to immunize your child. I will always remember my friend’s sister who got the measles and then got the post measles encephalitis. Her brain was permantly damaged, not allowing her to be a productive member of society.
One of my leadership students asked me a good question. She wanted to know the relationship between trust and learning. On the surface, the two words seem to have a tenuous relationship at best. However, after thinking about it, the question became much more interesting to me.
The analysis can go in many directions. In this brief article, I will describe three different perspectives and offer a few typical examples to illustrate them.
This is a great look at the link of trust and learning. It was not written with children in mind, but it is even more important when living and working with children.
Think of a child who refuses a lot. Have you ever asked "why" he does that? Sure you can say that he is trying to be the boss, trying to be oppositional, etc. Children will need to trust the adult in order to take a chance at believing what what they are being told/taught.
Let's make sure that we instill trust in our children so they will be available for learning.
Parents who yell at their adolescent children for misbehaving can cause some of the same problems as hitting them would, including increased risk of depression and aggressive behavior, a study found.
Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:
This is another in a line of studies that look at the effect of adult responses to children and adolescents on their future mental health and behavior. Previous studies published this year have found that physical punishment of children led to increased aggressiveness of the children, which is the opposite of what the adults intended.
Basically all the studies point to the fact that in developing brains a sense of loss of love, acceptance, and respect changes the social and emotional trajectory from one of productivity and self worth to one of a belief in self failure and lack of worth. This results in self-fulfilling prophecies of underachievement, juvenile deliquency, and for some suicide attempts.
Let’s begin to approach children and teens for what they are, individuals who are looking for mentoring, teaching, and support as they try to become competent, productive members of society.