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
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
When I was living and teaching in California, in the early 2000’s, I was lucky enough to attend some wonderful teaching conferences and seminars. A particularly inspirational speaker (whose name I wish I’d written down, or committed to memory) said something that made a huge impression on me:
“Never deny a student their right to fail.”
Continue reading Failing to let them fail
Hamlet and The Picture of Dorian Gray are the prescribed texts for South African government schools’ Grade 12 English First Language exam this year. As my Matric students might say, “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat??!!?”
Please do not mistake my alarm for a personal aversion to these texts. I am a classicist at heart and will defend the inclusion of Shakespeare in the English curriculum till my dying day. “Hamlet” is one of my favourite dramatic texts; dense with existential anguish, wit, dramatic irony and a great big knock-down-drag-out in the final act. I adore Oscar Wilde and am loving revisiting “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” in preparation for helping my private Matric students. I’m chuckling away as I reread it, giving frequent mental nods and bows to the genius of Wilde and his acerbic wit. I, however, am not an 18-year old student.
Continue reading Wildely Out of Touch with Our Teens
It’s back to school for South Africans on Wednesday and that means very tight belt-straps for families who’ve been kitting-out their kids.
In 2106 it will cost a parent around R1 000 to get the basic uniform and phys-ed kit for their child. This is just the summer uniform. Then there’s the school fees and the stationery. Sometime near the end of January, once books have been covered and glitter-pens-cos-everyone-else-has-them purchased, parents will breathe a collective sigh of relief and perhaps even plan a date night … and then sports teams are chosen!
Continue reading No Shame in the Swap Shop