Thursday, May 29, 2014

Protect your kids from failure


'PixelPlacebo' via Compfight cc

"I call this BGUTI (rhymes with duty), which is the acronym of Better Get Used To It. 

If adults allow—or perhaps even require—children to play a game in which the point is to slam a ball at someone before he or she can get out of the way, or hand out zeroes to underscore a child's academic failure, or demand that most young athletes go home without even a consolation prize (in order to impress upon them the difference between them and the winners), well, sure, the kids might feel lousy—about themselves, about the people around them, and about life itself—but that's the point. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and the sooner they learn that, the better they’ll be at dealing with it.

The corollary claim is that if we intervene to relieve the pain, if we celebrate all the players for their effort, then we'd just be coddling them and giving them false hopes. A little thanks-for-playing trophy might allow them to forget, or avoid truly absorbing, the fact that they lost. Then they might overestimate their own competence and fall apart later in life when they learn the truth about themselves (or about the harshness of life). 
The case for BGUTI is, to a large extent, a case for failure. The argument is that when kids don’t get a hoped-for reward, or when they lose a contest, they’ll not only be prepared for more of the same but will be motivated to try harder next time. An essay on this very blog last year, titled “Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail,” cued an enormous on-line amen chorus. The journalist Paul Tough informed us, “If you want to develop [kids’] character, you let them fail and don’t hide their failures from them or from anybody else.” A casual Web search produces tens of thousands of similar declarations."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Differentiating in a meaningful way

Sixth form cancels all morning lessons to help sleepy students

Student Asleep During Lecture
The end of falling asleep during classes? A private sixth form in Surrey hopes so. Photograph: Corbis
A private school is to start lessons for sixth formers at 1.30pm because teenagers "have a biological disposition to going to bed late and struggling to get up early".
Hampton Court House in East Molesey, Surrey, believes that the change from the conventional time of 9am, with classes ending at 7pm, will be more productive and less stressful for its students. The staggered start will also mean that the pupils can avoid rush-hour traffic.
Headmaster Guy Holloway said: "There is now more and more scientific evidence to support what many parents and teachers have known for years.
"The fact is that many teenagers do not sleep sufficiently during the week and this can, and often does, have a significant impact on teenage cognition and mental and physical health generally."
Gabriel Purcell-Davis, 15, currently in year 10 and who will be one of the first to undertake the new routine, said: "I want to wake up in my bed, not in my maths lesson."
A school spokesman said: "Parents know it can be a hard task to maintain routine in a teenager's life. The independent school, Hampton Court House, believes that there is a more productive and stress-free way to encourage A-level students to concentrate on their educational needs.
"It's a bold step forward, but a pioneering decision has now been made by Hampton Court House to start lessons for sixth formers at 1.30pm instead of the conventional time of 9 am.
"The reason? Recent and persuasive research has further reinforced the fact that teenagers have a biological disposition to going to bed late and struggling to get up early."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Cyber Safety # 2: Should Parents Have the Backdoor Key to Kids’ Facebook Accounts?

Freddy The Boy via Compfight cc

When it comes to deciding about kids and parents sharing their passwords, the most important goal is to maintain open communication, explaining to kids the responsibility that comes along with having an email account, and the need to ask an adult for help if the child feels uncomfortable with the nature of any online exchange. It’s a big responsibility, though, and changes with a kid’s age. Is it too much to ask of a 10- or 11-year old to know what’s worthy of alarm?
Some kids and parents decide the parent can have email access, but as kids get older and want more independence and privacy, those agreements may change. Some parents and kids agree to keep kids’ password in a sealed enveloped, promising only to open the seal when there’s a question of safety. Others figure out an arrangement with a parent’s close friend or relative with sound judgment who has emergency access to the email. The goal is to let kids know they’re not alone"


Cyber safety # 1: Do you choose to have your privacy invaded?

As promised at ISHCMC on the Couch last Thursday I will post a series of articles and videos about Cyber Safety and digital Citizenship.

"It’s a provocative question, and it may be argued that “choosing” is not exactly the right term. For schools using any online tools — from Edmodo to any of Google’s apps to student information systems, are they risking exposure to a data breach, or is the issue being blown out of proportion? PBS Idea Channel’s always-entertaining Mike Rugnetta breaks it down."