When it comes to children doing well in school and life, the importance of self-control can’t be ignored. In fact, there is growing research on “self-regulation”—people’s ability to stop, think, make a plan, and control their impulses.
These are the same skills needed to do well in school and in life.
Researchers have become keenly interested in psychologist Walter Mischel’s famous “marshmallow study” from the 1960s in which a researcher would place a marshmallow in front of a hungry 4-year-old and tell the child that they could eat the marshmallow right then—or have two if they waited until the researcher returned. About a third of the children could distract themselves, exhibit self-control, and wait.
Followed for years, these disciplined kids … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Working in Harlem under contract for three years with the New York City Board of Education taught me an invaluable lesson: Having a teaching SYSTEM is far superior to talent when a teacher faces challenging behaviors in the classroom.
The assistant superintendent and I were very impressed while observing a teacher one year. We agreed that the teacher was a “natural.” However, when I visited the teacher the following year, she told me that three boys were such challenges that she could use some assistance.
Even teachers with a “natural talent” are challenged by student behaviors that teachers in former generations did not have to deal with. To retain the joy that the teaching profession offers and to reduce one’s … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Great teachers understand that they are in the relationship business. Many students—especially those in low socio-economic areas—put forth little effort if they have negative feelings about their teachers. Superior teachers establish good relationships AND have high expectations. These teachers communicate in positive ways, such as letting their students know what the teacher wants them to do, rather than by telling students what NOT to do.
Great teachers inspire rather than coerce. They aim at promoting responsibility rather than obedience because they know that OBEDIENCE DOES NOT CREATE DESIRE.
Great teachers identify the reason that a lesson is being taught and then share it with their students. These teachers inspire their students through curiosity, challenge, and relevancy.
Great teachers are inspired … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Did you know that kids who can control their impulses do better in school?
While most people believe that intelligence plays the key role in children’s academic achievement, a study by Pennsylvania State University researchers found that the ability to self-regulate—to pay attention to a task and inhibit impulse behavior—was more important than intelligence for early academic success.
The study focused on three-to-five-year-olds and showed that preschoolers’ capacity for self-control was the best predictor of their performance in math and reading in kindergarten. Scores on intelligence tests were not as closely correlated with academic achievement.
A child’s ability to monitor his or her thinking and behavior develops rapidly during preschool. The data gives concrete support to preschool programs that focus … >>> READ MORE >>> →
The following request was sent me:
I would love to have your opinion on Class Dojo. It appears to be another carrot and stick approach that does NOT promote responsibility. As a resource teacher in my school board, I don’t feel comfortable telling other teachers what to do and how to teach; yet for the sake of the students, I know Class Dojo isn’t the answer. Could you please give me some advice on what to tell teachers?
MY RESPONSE:READ MORE >>> →
Class Dojo is a classroom behavior management system where every student has his or her own avatar. All the avatars are public so that all students can see other students’ avatars. Teachers assign dojos (icons) to student avatars throughout a … >>>
Logic prompts people to think. Emotions prompt people to act.
This fact applies to learning, also. If you want students to remember what you teach, touch an emotional chord by painting a picture or by telling a story. Or, even better, get the students involved by acting out a story or doing some sort of hands-on activity that gets them involved in what you’re teaching.
There is a greater chance of the learning staying in long-term memory using these approaches than when the lesson just focuses on information itself.
What have you done in your classroom or home environment to make learning more emotional for your students or children? Please share your ideas in the comments below.… >>> READ MORE >>> →
Anyone who reads this blog or has read any of my books knows that I advocate collaboration–rather than competition—to increase student learning. A prime reason is that the number of winners in competition is severely restricted, usually to one. This means that competition produces more losers than winners.
A major advancement in learning would be to desist from the nearly imperceptible yet continual demoralization of K-12 students by fostering competition between students as a way to increase learning. (As I also often note, competition is a marvelous motivator to increase performance but is devastating to young people who feel that they never stand in the winner’s circle.) This very significant yet unintended consequence of academic competition contributes to the reduction … >>> READ MORE >>> →
A boy measures everything he does or says by a single yardstick: Does this make me look weak? If it does, he isn’t going to do it. That’s part of the reason that video games have such a powerful hold on boys. The action is constant; boys can calibrate just how hard the challenges will be; and when they lose, the defeat is private.
With this in mind, it’s important to remember that PUBLIC competition improves performance, but not learning. Some students will practice for hours spurred on by the competitive spirit in music competition, athletics, or speech contests. These students are motivated to compete.
Competition can be fun, as witnessed by the hours that young people invest in such … >>> READ MORE >>> →
An incentive, such as money, can be a motivator. Receiving money, which occurs after the action, is the external reward.
It is important to remember, however, that the reward teachers (and other working adults) receive can be such things as satisfaction from doing creative work, watching the young grow and mature (or customers have success with a service or product), and developing strong relationships (with students, co-workers, clients, etc.).
In any case, the adult’s reward is not money. Yes, money is an incentive for wanting to be hired, but money is not the reward for working. Once someone is employed, a social contract has been created: salary/compensation IN EXCHANGE FOR a service. A salary is not a bribe in the … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Finally, after almost 14 years of disaster to the education profession, No Child Left Behind has finally been buried and replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act that was signed by the President today, December 10, 2015.
The act is a continuing version of the original Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965. I was fortunate enough to be appointed to implement the first version of this act when I was a counselor at Dorsey High School with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The rubric for education at the time was that education was of national interest, a state responsibility, but implemented locally. The No Child Left Behind Act changed the relationship to one of federal/national implementation.
There … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Little children come to school in kindergarten filled with curiosity. They are endlessly asking “Why?” questions in an attempt to find meaning and make connections. Somewhere around grade four they stop asking, “Why?” and begin to ask, “Will we have this on the test?”
These two questions indicate the change in learning more than any other observation that could be made. The “Why?” question is an internally motivated curiosity question; the “Will we have it on the test?” is a conformity question to the system.
It is essential for a civil society to follow ordinances and laws and conform to societal expectations. It is a necessary part of the culture. However, in order for a DEMOCRATIC society to flourish, the … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Logic prompts people to think. Emotions prompt people to act.
This fact applies to learning, also.
If you want people to remember what you teach, touch an emotional chord by painting a picture or by telling a story. There is a greater chance of the learning staying in long-term memory using these approaches than when the lesson just focuses on information itself.
If you think back to your own time when you were a student, you’ll realize that this is true. Which teachers were memorable to you? In what classes were you most engaged? Chances are your mind goes back to those teachers who did more than just focus on facts—they made the subjects come alive by helping their students … >>> READ MORE >>> →
In my books, on my blog, and in my speaking, I advocate collaboration rather than public competition to increase student learning. A prime reason is that the number of winners in competition is severely restricted—usually to one. This means that competition in learning produces more losers than winners.
A major advancement in learning would be to desist from the nearly imperceptible yet continual demoralization of K-12 students by fostering competition between students as a way to increase learning. Competition is a marvelous motivator to increase performance but is devastating to young people who feel that they never stand in the winner’s circle. This very significant yet unintended consequence of academic competition contributes to the reduction of intrinsic motivation for learning … >>> READ MORE >>> →
I periodically receive emails from teachers informing me that their school is implementing PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports). This program gives rewards for expected behaviors—which the teachers do not believe is a good practice. Teachers have been using Discipline Without Stress and are wary of PBIS that focuses on external motivation—especially since the teachers have been so successful with their current system that uses internal motivation to have students want to behave responsibly and put forth effort in their learning. Sophisticated teachers understand that external maniulators change motivation. Once a reward is given to do what is expected, one never knows if the motivation for a future action will be to do the right thing or to get a … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Implementing the three practices of positivity, choice, and reflection may feel awkward at first. This is natural. Unlike youth, who find little risk in attempting new activities, adults have established patterns and often feel anxious and uncomfortable when attempting something different from what they have already been doing. Realizing this at the outset will make it easier to attempt something new.
Doing something new or different requires making new habits, new neural connections. Practice makes permanent, and you will soon find that practicing the simple suggestions will become easier.
Think of a rocket or a space mission. Most of the energy, most of the thrust, has to do with breaking away—to surge past the gravitational pull.
Once you get past … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Whenever I share the Discipline Without Stress methodology with teachers and parents, they often ask me, “What is it that makes your approach so successful?”
My response is that I think of how the brain and body are so interrelated that one affects the other. Therefore, I think of how the brain and body react whenever I communicate.
For example, if I compliment you, a good feeling is prompted. In contrast, if I tell you to do something, or criticize you, or blame you for something, then a negative feeling ensues. The mind first processes information (external stimuli); then emotion kicks in. But we oftentimes do not act on cognition; it’s emotion that prompts us to act. Think of any … >>> READ MORE >>> →
When turtles are born, they know everything they need to know to live for 50 or so years. Since learning is one of the joys of living, I don’t think turtles have very much fun.
Learning brings growth, and both the process and result of learning can be enjoyable. Watch anyone at any age who is involved in any mental activity for any length of time and ask the person the reason for the involvement. The response will inevitably include the fun factor.
A characteristic of successful leaders, teachers, and parents is that they make learning enjoyable; they make it fun.
On the other hand, think of someone who has given up learning because, like the turtle, the person already … >>> READ MORE >>> →
A study by the prestigious TNTP http://tntp.org/ reported that teacher training doesn’t make the grade.
The study announced on August 5, 2015 reported that investments in ongoing training for teachers usually did not improve their performance and schools should rethink how they bolster teachers’ skills.
The Brooklyn-based organization, formerly known as the New Teacher Project, which trains educators and promotes stringent evaluations, analyzed several years of data from three school districts. The study found the district spent an average of $18,000 per teacher yearly on professional development, including coaching in the classroom, formal feedback, vendor contracts for training and staff time.
The analysis found performance improved substantially for only three out of 10 teachers in those districts during two – … >>> READ MORE >>> →