Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Do not make excuses!

This is very important!

Whatever your expectations from your child- they deliver. If you make excuses for them- He is lazy, or She is bored, or He is learning disabled- you give them a reason you yourself accept for their sub-optimal performance. You must not give excuses for not being good. OR getting better.

Bright children, who may be any of the above will be poor at work not only in school but also later in life if parents find a valid reason to justify the poor performance.

If we accept any excuses for poor performance, we perpetuate it.

However, it is very important that the expectation be stated with love- and even compassion. Both punishment and reward can perpetuate harmful behaviour patterns, says Child Psychologist Dr MD Whitley. And he is right. If good grades are rewarded- the pleasure comes from the reward, not from the performance. If bad grades are punished, the pain comes from the punishment, not from the poor performance.

The locus of personal control shifts oout- much to the detriment of the growing child. The child, then, is not responsible for anything! Neither the good nor the bad are owned by these children and they are always finding a valid and acceptable excuse for both their successes and their failures.

It is usual for these children to say they are not doing well because they are bored or that the teacher dos not like them or even that they do not like a teacher. It is equally likely they will 'blame' their success on an easy paper due to good luck. It will never be they themselves who are responsible.

In this case, the parents, teachers and care-givers have the onerous task of trying to show them that the good they get is BECAUSE they put in the effort needed as well as that the bad they experienced is the result of - at some point- having decided- consciously or unconsciously- to not follow through.

The pain associated with such a revelation is tremendous- because these are basicaaly good children, simply caught up in less than perfect mental traps. Their conscience and their values make it impossible for this to be a painless experience. And when they feel the pain- we ahve to be around as parents to show compassion- but allow the pain to manifest. There is no other way out.

If we have to prepare a child to be able to stand up in the world, we have to give him the confidence that his legs can take his weight- not give him crutches that make him disabled.

Excuses are just crutches that destroy the muscle that the young children must develop. The pain is a gentle reminder that they have legs- and brains- and can work.

There can be a million reasons not to do something. There is ONLY one reason to do it. And that reason is- IT NEEDS TO BE DONE!

The discipline and the commitment have to be consistent.

And persistent.


Saturday, 28 May 2011

If you want to learn more and better...

There is new research that makes learning and memory easier. It says that students remember more and perform better if what they have read is in unfamiliar and difficult to read font.

Remembering is not made easier by making the key points stand out in bold font. It is not helped by highlighting text either. The brain works extra hard and with more concentration on difficult to read fonts. This builds circuits that sustain and last. Thus, though time consuming in the initial run, the reading done this way creates lasting memories. These memories are also easily retrievable.

So highlighting and making notes on the page margins may not help as much as an unfamiliar AND difficult to read font.

The other way to help remember more and remember better is to create pictoral notes rather than lines upon lines of text. The tetchnique of mind mapping was elevated to a level of fail-proof art form by Tony Buzan. It is easy, it is fun and it is long-lasting.

Mind maps do to studies what no other single technique can. They create unshakeable memories. And solid memory pegs.

Make them graphic, make them bold and make them colourful for mind maps to be effective tools of learning. Tony Buzan proposes a mind map for mind-mapping steps/ process

And be sure to go back your mind map the next day, then the next week and once more at the end of a month. The clear benefit of mind mapping is that the whole chapter may fit on a A4 sheet and the final preparation for exams is literally a breeze.

And do not let the fact that you are not an artist stop you! The more insane your graphics are, the more easily you will remember the information.

Always start with THE main idea in the centre of the page, create 5-7 subheadings which radiate from and are attached to the main point of origin. Focus only on COLOURS and IMAGES and the most important- CONNECTIONS.

Try these two techniques for the next exam!!