To the Teachers, Already Tired

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.

Abby Norman

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. It isn’t that you don’t want to do all of things, it is just. There are all of the things. All of the things all of the time, and every year it seems as though there is a new system in place. It will get easier, they say. Once you get used to it. You would like two years with the same program and the chance to get used to it all.

In the midst of all of…

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Relationship Between Learning and Trust

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.

PomeranianOne 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. The perspectives include:

1. Why learning from someone you trust is easier than from someone you do not trust.
2. What types of things you are likely to learn from someone you do not trust.
3. Why your retention of the learned material is much better if you have a trusting relationship with the teacher.

As a CPLP (Certified Professional in Learning and Performance) with the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), I do not recall…

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30th Anniversary of A Nation At Risk

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark report on education in the United States. It was the impetus for much of the education reform of the 80’s and 90’s.  Education Week looked at what has happened since then, which is shown in the infographics below from their article.

Several important things to notice are;

  1. Reading and math scores have barely moved
  2. Graduation rates have dropped and stayed low
  3. When adjusted for inflation, teacher salaries have barely increased since 1981.
  4. Public confidence has  dropped in public education

We have to make changes and it is not about directly holding teachers accountable, although they are part of the equation.  It is about recognizing that we knew so little about how a child’s brain worked then and know so much more now.  But, and this is a bit but, this knowledge is not being taught to our teachers, it is not being utilized in our classrooms, and is not becoming part of how we approach children both socially and academically. Schools were originally formed to provide children with the training they needed to be responsible, productive members of society. The focus has changed over the decades to just showing academic success. Employers are complaining that their new employees don’t know how to think for themselves, don’t understand how to organize, prioritize, and problem solve. The work ethic is missing. This is not about not doing homework, it is about not seeing a useful outcome from work put into an effort. If a child is struggling academically due to neurodevelopmental problems, which affect one child in six, production line education doesn’t work.

Let’s make a new 30 year plan to truly reform education to address how the brain works, how to understand and help the students that need more time, more one-on-one, and more variety in how they are taught.  Give the teachers the training and tools to do this, and then hold them accountable.

Would you like a copy of my free report on oppositional children? Click here.

Where Are We Now: Looking at "A Nation at Risk," 30 years later

Do mirror neurons explain understanding, or is it the other way round?

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

(Alternate title: In Soviet Russia, Mirror Neurons Explain YOU!) A draft of this post has been sitting around for a few weeks, and while I’m happy with today’s sanity check, I still can’t help but …

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

What do you think?

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Commander Ben dishes on handwriting with dyslexia

different yet beautiful

Parents and teachers are always asking me how to help their child/student who has dyslexia and dysgraphia become engaged in reading and writing. Commander Ben does a great job sharing how he works with his dyslexia and dysgraphia rather than fight with them all the time. Please read this blog to get some great ideas.

Commander Ben

It may seem funny to talk about technology in one breath and then mention pen and paper in the other, but they really can work together. For most everything I do, I use some form of technology – my Victor Reader Stream, a laptop, an iPad or an iPhone – but sometimes , well almost daily actually, I still enjoy writing something down into my old-fashioned journal.

My journal is a small leather three-ring binder with lined paper which is actually three generations old. I found it tucked away in my dresser draw in my room where my Mom had saved it for me. She used it as a kid and her Mom used it before her.  I think that fact that it was old and looked different than other notebooks was part of it’s appeal.  Even though I am a 21st century kid, I like old-fashioned things.


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Teachers’ Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform : NPR

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Teachers’ expectations about their students’ abilities affect classroom interactions in myriad ways that can impact student performance. Students expected to succeed, for example, get more time to answer questions and more specific feedback.

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Remembering to encourage creativity

This article about creativity is an important read for both parents and teachers as well as those in the business world for whom it was written. Too many times we demand that our children perform in a precise manner that only stumps their creativity. We also need to realize that we can’t dictate creativity. Let’s take the wisdom of this article and use it with our children and students.

I read a quotation in a student paper a while ago that was interesting, “Demanding creativity is like yanking on a seed to pull out the flower” (by the famous author “unknown”). The optics in this quote really work for me. I have been referred to as a creative person at times, and I even won an award for it once, yet if you stand over me with a scowl on your face, my creativity will dry up faster than a drop of water in a red hot frying pan. Most people have a creative side that can be brought out if properly nurtured.

The benefits of creativity and innovation are well documented. Unfortunately, while all leaders yearn for higher creativity, their behaviors often squash it. This analysis provides some pathways to encourage more creativity that are simple and powerful. Here is a list of seven ways this can be…

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