This is perhaps one of the best TED Talks I have ever watched.
This is perhaps one of the best TED Talks I have ever watched.
43 year old Teaching Assistant Rachael Reagan has been found guilty of Child Cruelty after authorities have found that she has been abusing a seven year old girl in school.
It has been reported that Rachael taped the child to a chair, shut her in her storeroom and tied her shoes with her shoelaces. She also stuck Post-it notes to the child’s fingers to stop her from sucking them. She was also reported ti have kicked her student and called her names.
I wonder how this TA got away with doing these cruel things for ao long!
Click HERE for the full story
Today’s Prompt: Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?
My answer to this prompt is a no-brainer – I would chose my students (past ad present) to narrate my blog. After all, they are the inspiration for most of what I have done, let alone wrote, since the conception of this blog. I also have a feeling that they may add a little bit more to some of my posts, which would make listening to them more fun.
Today’s Daily Prompt: What’s the best (or rather, worst) backhanded compliment you’ve ever received? If you can’t think of any — when’s the last time someone paid you a compliment you didn’t actually deserve?
Most of my students’ parents have said to me in the past that ‘my child’s improvements have all been because of your help’. While I am extremely grateful for the compliment, I genuinely feel that I do not deserve it. I believe that children’s development is influenced by a number of factors. In schools, teachers, teaching assistants, lunchtime organisers, bus drivers, security guards, their peers and of course, their parents and care-givers all have a hand in their development. Any improvement- no matter how small or huge- is influenced by a lot of people. Children’s teachers may teach them how to read, but the likelihood of this skill to be learned quickly and retained is influenced by parents’ (and the child’s) efforts to practice and reinforce it.
I always remind families that they – especially the children themselves – are also responsible for the children’s overall development. This gives the students and families a sense of control which they ultimately have. I understand that we as educators have a large role to play in shaping the kids’ futures, I am fully aware that we are only a small piece of the puzzle.
Today’s Daily Prompt Asks: If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?
I am an educator, education researcher and a campaigner for Autism Awareness and Acceptance. I am very proud of what I do and I do not consider it work. I may not be the best at what I do, but I am stiving to be better at it all the time. The passion that I have stems from my interactions with the children and their families. A lot of what I already know has been passed on by experienced mentors who themselves are as passionate as I am with their cause. Despite the hard work, countless sleepless nights and the relatively small pay, I would not trade it for anything else.
If there is a chance for me to stop working for a living, I would do what I am doing voluntarily. That is how passionate I am with what I do. I believe that I am making a difference in people’s lives, albeit in a small capacity. But if we are to change the world for the better, every little effort is needed.
We all want our students and own children to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in order for them to do well in life. In schools and at home, clever kids are praised whenever they achieve and/ or complete a task, like their home works. Often, these children’s parents and teachers exclaim ‘well done! You are really smart!’. While noticing and praising children’s achievements isa good thing, I would argue that praising their intelligence levels is not a good thing.
Some people, mostly in Western countries hold the belief that we are either born smart or dull, and that our levels of intelligence are fixed throughout our lives (Willingham, 2009). In turn, these people may instil this belief onto their children and as a result, we will have a generation of people who believe that they cannot do anything about their intelligence. This is dangerous as children may think that success will come easy if you are smart. Conversely, if you are working hard, it means that you are not smart enough. If this belief is reinforced in the classroom, students may believe that if they do not understand a concept or fail an exam, it automatically means that they are dumb.
There are a number of research findings including that of Dickens (2008), which strongly suggests that genetics play a huge role in general intelligence. I too, believe that our intelligence levels are different from one another, but I strongly believe that intelligence can be sustained or changed through hard work. This is the basis of my main argument presented earlier.
Changing our Beliefs
We must understand that intelligence levels are not constant and they change constantly throughout our lives. Our beliefs about intelligence matters immensely. Just imagine for a minute that you have been given a job as a teacher and that you can select your own students. You can either have students who believe that intelligence is fixed and are all concerned about whether they appear intelligent or not. This group will always choose the easy tasks to appear intelligent, and would make excuses why they cannot (or do not want to) do harder ones. The other group on the other hand, believes that intelligence is malleable and results depend on hard work. They all choose more challenging tasks, try to overcome failures and persist through hard tasks. It is easy to imagine that you would rather have a room full of students from the second group than the first one.
Children come with their own sets of beliefs about intelligence and effort, and it is quite exhausting to explain all the factors that influence their beliefs (I may write about them in the future). But one of the most significant factors is the way children are praised.
What can we do instead?
I argue that an effective way of praising children is to notice and praise children’s efforts. Effort is a lot easier to understand compared to intelligence levels. It is easier to show them what hard work looks like. One may argue that there are concrete examples of people displaying high levels of intelligence, but a closer look would reveal that intelligence alone cannot sustain success. Hard work and perseverance on the other hand, can.
Emphasise that working hard and trying their best is very important. This gives room for improvement as they will realise – through your explanations – that they may have achieved a reasonably high mark this time, but this is due to their effort levels. Conversely, if they have not done well, it is also due to their lack of effort, which could be changed. It gives them the sense of control that they may not have if they are given praise based on their intelligence.
A study conducted by Mueller and Dweck (1998) has shown that methods of praise have short-term effects on students’ beliefs about intelligence. They asked fifth graders to complete a set of problems- first of which is easy enough for all of them to get it right. All of the participants were told, ‘Wow, your did very well on these problems. You got (number of problems) right! That’s a really high score.’ Next, the participants were split into two groups. One was told, ‘You must be smart at these problems’, whilst the other was told, ‘You must have worked hard at these problems’. It was found that those in the second group were more likely to describe intelligence as malleable. This suggests that even a minor difference in methods of praise can have a short-term effect on children’s views about intelligence.
Copying the above style of praising in the classroom allows us to tell the children that their successes are due to what they do (hard work) and not because of who they are (level of intelligence).
Dickens, W. T. (2008). Cognitive ability. In S. Durlauf & L. E. Blume (Eds.). The new Palgrave dictionary of economics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. A brief and understandable overview of how to reconcile apparently large genetic effects and large environmental effects on intelligence.
Mueller, C. M. & Dweck, C. S. (1998). Praise for intelligence can undermine children’s motivation and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 33-52.
Willingham, D. T. (2008). Why don’t students like school? San Francisco: Wiley.
We have come to the end of the road
These past few years have literally been the best of my life
We started as strangers
We were unsure of each other
But we showed them
We showed them that it is possible for me to be trusted
With your education, development and safety
You showed them that you’re able to love
Trust, learn and laugh
They thought you won’t be able to read
They thought you won’t be able to speak
They thought you cannot learn
They doubted us
Now they look up to us
We showed them
You may be different
But so am I
We’re proud to be who we are
It helped us grow
We showed them
Look at you all now
You enjoy reading, writing,
Calculating and even spelling
Most of all, you are all happy
Well, WE are all happy
I taught you a lot
But you taught me to live
A life of acceptance
A life of awareness
You taught me to teach
And most of all,
You taught me that anything is possible.
We showed them.
Our time together has come to an end
Although I am sad, I am sure you’ll be great
The future is bright for you
Thank you, dear students of mine
Radical and controversial UK Education Secretary Michael Gove has been demoted to chief whip by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Read more at the Guardian.