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
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
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!
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
Years ago, when I still owned my educational theatre company – Hooked on Books – I included a poem by Jack Prelutsky in the Senior Primary show. I had my actors sing the poem, with accompanying choreography, to the tune of George Michael’s Faith (which will give you a clearer indication of how many years ago I’m talking about 😉 )
Go on, sing it (you’ll need to extend some words and add in a few “oh-ohs” to make it scan – but you can do it): Continue reading Homework! Oh, Homework!
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
Learning is all about making connections. A vast, but relatively simple system of neurons, axons and synapses, in our brains, is constantly changing as we are exposed to new stimuli.Sensory stimulation strengthens these connections, whilst synapses that are seldom used end up in the recycle bin and are eventually eliminated altogether. Simplistically, this is how we learn and also how we forget. And it all starts with “me” …
Continue reading Learning Starts with “Me”
Erin’s mom phoned me at the start of Term Two: “Erin’s failing Geography. She just can’t understand it – can you help?”
Can’t understand Geography? Surely any applied science at high school level is quite easy to grasp. So I dug a little deeper: Continue reading Case Study: Drowning in the Stream