The world at work has changed radically since last century. So, too, has the world at school.
Students are no longer required to simply learn a bunch of facts and demonstrate having learnt them by vomiting up answers to “who, what, where” type questions. Sure, naming, identifying, classifying and explaining still form part of all assessments, but more and more emphasis is being placed on critical thinking, assimilating, synthesising and creating. The old-fashioned ways of learning by rote are no longer sustainable. Students HAVE to understand their material fully and MUST be able to think about it from a variety of different perspectives, as well as engage critically with the content. In order to do so, successfully and sustainably, effective study skills need to be learned as early as possible.
Continue reading STUDY SKILLS FOR the 21st century →
Last year I wrote an article on failing; Failing to let them Fail. In it I discussed the importance of failure as a necessary part of learning and growth. I am now writing to implore parents, specifically, to LET THEM FAIL … and to trust that not only will your child survive this uncomfortable experience, they will actually grow and thrive from it; if you manage the experience appropriately.
The reason I feel compelled to write about this is due to an alarming number of disconcerting posts I’ve read, this week, on various social media platforms. It’s the end of the school year in South Africa and students and parents are receiving their year-end marks and reports. Some examples from the posts that concern me are:
- “The school phoned to tell me that they have failed my daughter!”
- “I can’t believe that the Maths teacher failed my son!”
- “The school called me in to drop a bombshell – they’re failing my child!”
- “Such a shock to hear that the school has decided to fail my son this year!”
NO, THE SCHOOL DIDN’T FAIL YOUR CHILD – YOUR CHILD FAILED … and that’s ok.
Let’s bust a few myths which seem to be prevailing at this moment in time: Continue reading BUSTING 4 MYTHS ABOUT FAILING →
“Shut up and listen!” These words are like lyrics to one of the anthems of childhood. Truth be told, we’d probably hear them a lot still, if it weren’t for the fact that adults are afforded more respect simply because they’re adults. Here’s another truth:
When it comes to our relationships with children, teachers and parents talk too much and don’t listen nearly enough.
Continue reading 5 Reasons to Shut up and Listen! →
In this fast-paced world of instant information, instant communication and instant gratification, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to stop, breathe and think before responding to questions, challenges and stimuli. I see adults and children suffering as a result of this unrealistic expectation of human beings who are co-existing with technology.
Continue reading 4 Principles for erasing “I can’t …” →
Following on from my previous article, 4 Do’s and Don’ts for Healthy End-of-Year-Exam-ing (click link for article), here are some more tips for parents of exam-writing students:
5. Do: monitor screen time
Much has been written about the evils and benefits of cellphones, tablets and other screen-based devices. Studies have revealed both positive and negative effects of screens on children and teens. One thing is certain, though – we live in a digital age and our children will use devices; get used to it! However, experts all agree that too much screen time is bad for us; bad for our mood, our physical health and our brains. Continue reading More Do’s and Don’t for Healthy, Happy End-Of-Year-Exam-ing →
It’s that crazy time of year again: END OF YEAR EXAMS! The stakes are high and the stress is higher. Students who are in danger of failing are in crisis and so are their parents. Teachers are bogged down and under extreme pressure to finish the year’s curriculum, ensure all their students are equipped to pass and complete a mountain of marking and admin before break-up day. The atmosphere in most schools … and homes … is tense, to say the least.
How can you, as a parent, be most effective in helping your child navigate this stressful ambit most successfully?
Continue reading 4 Do’s and Don’t’s for Healthy End-of-Year-Exam-ing →
If you’re someone who fears speaking in public, you are not alone. In fact, you’re in the same boat as 74% of the world’s population who also suffer from glossophobia; the fancy name for this fear. There’s a biological imperative for having this fear. It goes back millennia and is embedded in our DNA and neurological pathways. Continue reading Eek! They want me to speak! →
The limits of my language are the limits of my world. Ludwig Wittgenstein
The benefits of bilingualism are manifold. Recent research into brain plasticity and functioning are revealing more and more advantages to learning a second (and third) language. From improved cognitive ability and higher test results across all subjects, to behavioral improvements and increased tolerance and empathy, the list goes on and on. Hey – being bilingual even wards off dementia, helps prevent Alzheimers and delays brain atrophy by about 7 years!
With all these benefits, why do our South African school students (and their parents) complain so much about their requisite First Additional Language? Shouldn’t the inclusion of a compulsory second language in our school curriculum be applauded and encouraged? All the studies on bilingualism concur that it makes no difference what language is being acquired; the benefits remain the same. Continue reading First Additional Language for the Win! →
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Jerry Seinfeld
Having always been one of the freakish minority who actually enjoy speaking in public, I have often wondered why people allow themselves to continue through life with this very real phobia, without doing something about it. I mean, we all have to do it at some point; may as well learn how to enjoy it, right? Continue reading Glossophobia: fear of public speaking →
Yesterday South Africa “celebrated” Human Rights Day. I use the quotation marks as March 21st marks the anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre; hardly something worth celebrating. I guess we should celebrate the country we have now; our freedom, our constitution, our democracy … or perhaps the promise of how great a country we COULD have.
Continue reading Unlearning Intolerance →