In researching her latest book, author Jessica Lahey asked countless teachers, “What one thing would you want your students’ parents to know?” The same five points came up over and over again:
1. Your kids can do much more than you think they can do.
2. It’s not healthy to give your child constant feedback.
3. We promise not to believe everything your child says happens at home if you promise not to believe everything your child says happens in our classrooms.
4. Your children learn and act according to what you do, not what you say.
5. Teach your children that mistakes aren’t signs of weakness but a vital part of growth and learning.
Her complete write-up on this at tinyurl.com/q92aruk is excellent. Her book, “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,” comes out next year.
Despite what feels like significant evidence to the contrary, a new study suggests that our children have no more homework today than we had in 1984. The Brown Center on American Education found that the percentage of 17-year-olds who say they have more than two hours of homework each night has remained unchanged over the past 30 years at 13 percent. Backing up the finding is a UCLA study that found the number of seniors who said they had more than six hours of homework a week dropped from 50 percent in 1986 to 38 percent in 2012. http://time.com/28433/brookings-institute-study-30-years-unchanged/
A number of studies in recent years have attempted to clarify what makes someone mentally tough. A cognitive psychologist boiled down the findings to 12 key attributes of mental toughness in sport, ranked in order of importance:
• Unshakeable self-belief in your ability to achieve competition goals.
• Unshakeable self-belief that you possess unique qualities and abilities that make you better than your opponents.
• Insatiable desire and internalized motives to succeed.
• Remaining fully focused on the task at hand in the face of competition-specific distractions.
• Regaining psychological control following unexpected, uncontrollable events.
• Pushing back the boundaries of physical and emotional pain, while still maintaining technique and effort under distress during training and competition.
• Accepting that competition anxiety is inevitable and knowing that you can cope with it.
• Not being adversely affected by other’s good and bad performances.
• Thriving on the pressure of competition.
• Remaining fully focused in the face of personal life distractions.
• Switching sport focus on and off as required.
I found these relevant for everyone, not just athletes. Read the complete piece at Scientific American at linkis.com/com/l7UhQ
Should would-be parents be able to “design” their perfect baby? “Preventing a lethal disease is one thing; choosing the traits we desire is quite another,” suggested Thomas H. Murray in a commentary in Science magazine. New techniques are making it possible for parents to do more than screen for lethal diseases. Interestingly, sex selection is prohibited in at least 36 countries, but not in the U.S. http://tinyurl.com/llhp53w