Because they are well able to tell the difference between pain and pleasure, newborn babies quickly learn to express themselves so that those who take care of them can tell whether they are feeling good or bad. Parents may not know exactly how to help a baby feel better, but they almost always know how the baby feels. Very quickly, babies become better at expressing what is wrong and parents become more adept at guessing what it is.
Every student is gifted and talented in their own way, but sometimes these gifts are hidden or take time to be discovered and flourish.
When students say that they hate school, much of what they are saying is they hate being asked to work hard at something that does not fulfill their needs.
…as they piece together all the available experiments, experiences and evidence, teachers, researchers, and parents are discovering a provocative solution to the question of how to improve our schools: children should play more.
Children are biologically engineered for constant intellectual and physical play. They are designed to question, daydream, pretend, arrange block towers and doll houses, wiggle, fidget, run, jump, laugh, cry, be frustrated, be absorbed, be bored, be creative, and, above all, to be different.
…teachers are required to stuff students with fragments of measurable knowledge as if the students had no needs—almost as if they were things. Education is defined as how many fragments of information these “student-things” can retain long enough to be measured on standardized achievement tests. Most competent teachers recognize, however, that this approach has little or nothing to do with what they consider quality education, but their input is either ignored or depreciated by the politically motivated standardizers and fragment measurers who are now in charge.
…We choose all we do…we are all responsible for the choices we make.
A major flaw in our traditional educational system is that we try but consistently fail to “motivate” students to do useless work. But managers can’t seem to learn that there is no way to motivate people to do what has no chance of satisfying their needs. Turned off for the pain of doing so much useless work, some students even refuse to learn useful skills like writing and math.
I once read a beautiful teaching attributed simply to “a modern educator.” It read: “Try to see your child as a seed that came in a packet without a label. Your job is to provide the right environment and nutrients and to pull the weeds. You can’t decide what kind of flower you’ll get or in which season it will bloom.” When we are open to the differences in our children, we’ll give them the soil they need to flourish.
Consider that “good enough” can often be best for your child, because when life is mostly ordinary and just occasionally extraordinary, your child won’t end up with expectations of herself and those around her that can’t be met on this worldly plane.
Real protection means teaching children to manage risks on their own, not shielding them from every hazard.
In addition to giving children a sense of their obligation to other people, doing chores gives them survival skills. By teaching our children a habit of responsibility at an early age, we give them the confidence to take on ever-more complex challenges as they grow older. And helping out at home raises self-esteem: when parents insist that children do their chores, they are letting them know that they’re not just loved, they are needed.