Jun 26, 2017
How to raise a genius: lessons from a 45-year study of super-smart children
On a summer day in 1968, professor Julian Stanley met a brilliant but bored 12-year-old named Joseph Bates. The Baltimore student was so far ahead of his classmates in mathematics that his parents had arranged for him to take a computer-science course at Johns Hopkins University, where Stanley taught. Even that wasn't enough. Having leapfrogged ahead of the adults in the class, the child kept himself busy by teaching the FORTRAN programming language to graduate students.Unsure of what to do with Bates, his computer instructor introduced him to Stanley, a researcher well known for his work in psychometrics — the ...
Dec 05, 2016
Beyond Grit: The Science of Creativity, Purpose, and Motivation
"Your interests and your passion develop over time. I want to disabuse people of this mythology of 'it happens to you and if you're lucky, you find it, and then that's all you have to do.'" Angela Duckworth is a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the bestselling author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. She is the Founder and Scientific Director of a non-profit, Character Lab, and in 2013 was named a recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. Recently, she joined Adam Grant for an evening of conversation as a part of the Authors@Wharton ...
Feb 17, 2017
Want to raise empowered women? Start in middle school.
When my girlfriends and I share stories about our first jobs, we shake our heads at our meekness. Susan recalls her boss at a company in Paris. "She would fly off the handle at the smallest things, screaming, 'Vous êtes nul!' — 'You are nothing!' " Susan would retreat to the bathroom to cry. "I was a good student and had never had an experience where I felt like I was failing all the time," she says. "I didn't have the confidence to fix it or leave."My friend Shari felt that paralysis when she was working at a magazine in ...
Mar 31, 2017
Reading, Writing, and Purpose: Why We Should Teach Kids Meaning at School
“Teaching children their purpose, getting them engaged in these bigger questions, can actually bolster and support their academic learning.” Scott Barry Kaufman is a cognitive psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, the scientific director of The Imagination Institute, and the author of Ungifted and Wired to Create. He recently joined Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, for a Heleo Conversation on the ways we can build meaning in schools.This conversation has been edited and condensed. Scott: You’ve just written this wonderful book on meaning, and I’m deeply interested in ...
Jun 26, 2017
Personalized learning – a data revolution
Who doesn’t want a world in which everything they interact with is tailored personally to them?The advent of big data and machine learning has moved us towards a place where this vision is being realized at an incredibly rapid pace, fueled by our ability to capture and store everything about ourselves – from the keystrokes on our computers to our genetic sequences and DNA. This has led to the rise of personalized medicine that selects procedures that work for our specific body chemistry, personalized advertising that shows us the brand of jeans that fits us best, and even learning ...
Jan 07, 2013
Understanding, Diagnosing, and Coping with Slow Processing Speed
It's not unusual for gifted students to have slow processing speed. Of itself, slow processing speed is not a formal learning disability, but having it can frustrate students, teachers, and parents. As a clinical child psychologist specializing in assessing and treating students with attention deficit disorders and other learning problems, I often hear parents tell me their very bright child isn't finishing her classwork or that homework takes hours and hours to complete. Through observation or formal assessment of their child, these parents have been told that the child has slow processing speed.Understanding the role of slow ...
Apr 06, 2016
5 Myths Working Against Character Education in Our Schools
Social and emotional learning (SEL) and character education make a lot of common sense. We know that students have to be prepared for college, career, and life success. We also know that families and communities are not reliably providing the kinds of experiences that all students need. So SEL and character education would seem to be essential aspects of educational practice and policy. But they are not. Marvin Berkowitz and I have identified five myths that are holding back progress in SEL and character education. These myths need to be directly identified and confronted through caring conversations with faculty, administrators, ...
Apr 29, 2016
7 lessons about finding the work you were meant to do
You don’t "find your calling," you fight for it — and other lessons from people who found their passion (sometimes late in life).Whether it was during a career aptitude test or in a heart-to-heart chat after getting laid off, chances are someone has talked to you about how to “find your calling.” It’s one of those phrases people toss about. But StoryCorps founder Dave Isay takes issue with it … specifically, the verb.“Finding your calling — it’s not passive,” he says. “When people have found their calling, they’ve made tough decisions and sacrifices in order to do ...
Mar 27, 2016
A Few Strategies to Help Slow-Working Students
A parent recently asked me for advice about her son. Although his academic skills are strong, he feels the need to complete every task to absolute perfection; this means he finishes his work long, long after the rest of his peers. Not only are his teachers frustrated by the time it takes him to complete assignments, he doesn’t especially enjoy spending hours every night making all of his work just right.It’s easy enough to say we want all our students to work at their own pace, and in most classrooms, some flexibility is built in to allow ...
Nov 04, 2017
Brains in Pain Cannot Learn!
Educators want nothing more than for our students to feel successful and excited to learn, and to understand the importance of their education. We want our students' attention and respect to match our own. I believe that most if not all of our students desire the same, but walking through our classroom doors are beautifully complex youth who are neurobiologically wired to feel before thinking.Carrying InEducators and students are carrying in much more than backpacks, car keys, conversations, partially-completed homework, and outward laughter. Buried deep in the brain's limbic system is an emotional switching station called the amygdala, ...
Nov 04, 2017
How Anxiety Leads to Disruptive Behavior
10-year-old boy named James has an outburst in school. Upset by something a classmate says to him, he pushes the other boy, and a shoving-match ensues. When the teacher steps in to break it up, James goes ballistic, throwing papers and books around the classroom and bolting out of the room and down the hall. He is finally contained in the vice principal’s office, where staff members try to calm him down. Instead, he kicks the vice principal in a frenzied effort to escape. The staff calls 911, and James ends up in the Emergency Room.To the uninitiated, James ...
Oct 23, 2016
How Audiobooks Can Help Kids Who Struggle with Reading
School librarian Mary Ann Scheuer remembers a second grader who couldn’t keep up with the class during reading time. The child was a grade-level behind in reading, and while the rest of the class could sit quietly for 30 minutes, engrossed in Horrible Harry, this child began to act out after ten frustrating minutes with the book. On Scheuer’s recommendation, the teacher introduced the student to the same story via an audiobook; he listened to the story, and then sat alone with the book to read on his own. Scheuer recalls the boy saying, “I read it so much ...
Jun 12, 2017
How Social is Social Media?
Better technology, faster and omnipresent internet connection, and the existence of social networking sites have changed the way we communicate with each other and what we share about ourselves. If you – like me – have a Facebook account you may have shared information with people that you haven’t seen in years and that you probably will not ever encounter face-to-face for a coffee or an old-fashioned chat in your life again. At the same time, you possibly are a constant consumer of pieces and bits of other people’s lives that they decide to share on Facebook. People are spending ...
Nov 01, 2017
How to Help Kids Talk About Learning Disabilities
"I learn differently."Three small words that can make a world of difference for kids like me who grew up struggling with learning issues.Sounds simple enough, right?Wrong.If your child has a learning disability, getting her help—working with the school to get an effective IEP—is the first thing on your mind. But helping her get comfortable talking about it is also important. And for a lot of kids, opening up isn't as easy as it sounds.Why your child needs to speak upWithout context, the symptoms of LD can look like laziness or disobedience, and, ...
Nov 03, 2017
Information Processing Issues: What You Need to Know
If your child has a learning and attention issue, you may have heard the phrase information processing issues. That’s not a diagnosis. It’s a concept used in cognitive psychology as a way to understand several other learning issues. Here’s what it means.What Information Processing IsWhen psychologists use this term, they’re likening how the brain works to how a computer works. That includes how the mind collects information and how we use that data to do things.We collect information in many ways, including through sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. In computer terms, the information ...
Jan 01, 2013
Interview with Thomas Greenspon on Perfectionism
The following Q&A on misdiagnosis was written by Thomas S. Greenspon, Ph.D, a psychologist, author, marriage and family therapist nationally known for his work with gifted and talented children, adults, couples and families. Topics Social/Emotional Development: Perfectionism AuthorGreenspon, T. OrganizationDavidson Institute for Talent Development - Educators Guild Year2013What is perfectionism?Perfectionism is a desire to be perfect (not “almost perfect”), a fear of imperfection, and an emotional conviction that mistakes are signs of personal defects, and that being perfect is the way to be acceptable to others. The intense anxiety about mistakes is what separates perfectionistic ...
Nov 03, 2017
Parents Should Avoid Pressuring Young Children Over Grades, ASU Study Says
New research from ASU suggests parents shouldn't obsess over grades and extracurricular activities for young schoolchildren, especially if such ambitions come at the expense of social skills and kindness.Doing so, the study says, can work against helping kids become well-adjusted and successful later in life."When parents emphasize children's achievement much more than their compassion and decency during the formative years, they are sowing the seeds of stress and poorer well-being, seen as early as sixth grade," said Suniya Luthar, a Foundation professor of psychology at ASU and one of the co-authors of the study."In order ...
Aug 26, 2017
Personalized Learning Is the Answer. (I Forgot the Question.)
The latest buzzword in U.S. public education these days is personalized learning.Depending on whom you ask, the term refers to a model, a strategy, a plan, or just plain old good instruction. Personalized learning is something teachers do, something students do, something teachers do with students, or something students do with one another. Personalized learning is a noun, a verb, and an adjective. It is either impossible without technology or requires no technology at all. For anyone seeking to label an ideal education experience or garner support for a new initiative, personalized learning provides the answer.The excitement ...
Jan 13, 2013
The Passion Gap
“Nothing great in the World has been accomplished without passion.” -- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher, 1832I recently spoke at the Dell Innovation in Education Panel at the Texas Association of School Administrators 2013 Conference in Austin.When we were invited to sum up at the end, I realized that one guest had not been invited to the table: Passion. I was the first to interject this word, saying that “passion should not be the number one thing on the agenda, it IS the agenda.”The #TASA13 hashtag on Twitter, which had been moving moderately, exploded, with several dozen tweets ...
Sep 01, 2017
What Personalized Learning Is Not
“I really want to personalize learning for my students, but I just don’t see how it’s possible—there’s no way I can create individual lesson plans for all of my students everyday!” “I really like what you’ve shared with us today, but I can’t personalize my students’ learning because I don’t have enough devices for all of my students.” These are just two of the statements I hear from teachers about the challenges of facilitating personalized learning. As an instructional technology coach for a large district in the metropolitan Atlanta area, I serve several ...
Aug 09, 2016
What Teens Need Most From Their Parents
The teenage years can be mystifying for parents. Sensible children turn scatter-brained or start having wild mood swings. Formerly level-headed adolescents ride in cars with dangerous drivers or take other foolish risks.A flood of new research offers explanations for some of these mysteries. Brain imaging adds another kind of data that can help test hypotheses and corroborate teens' own accounts of their behavior and emotions. Dozens of recent multiyear studies have traced adolescent development through time, rather than comparing sets of adolescents at a single point.The new longitudinal research is changing scientists' views on the role parents play ...
Apr 29, 2016
When Kids are Bullied, What Can Parents Do?
It’s no mystery that being bullied hurts. Whatever form the abuse takes—whether it’s being tripped, teased, excluded, mocked, insulted, gossiped about, or ridiculed, in-person or via social media—the target suffers. Beyond the short-term pain, such mistreatment can have lasting mental and physical health effects as well, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics .Parents also struggle. Though desperate to help their ailing child, parents can’t lurk in hallways and lunchrooms waiting to protect their off-spring from social harm.Compounding the difficulty is the child’s own resistance to calling in Mom and Dad for aid. “Kids ...
May 25, 2016
Why Grit Can’t Be Taught Like Math
Because noncognitive qualities like grit, curiosity, self-control, optimism, and conscientiousness are often described, with some accuracy, as skills,educators eager to develop these qualities in their students quite naturally tend to treat them like the skills that we already know how to teach: reading, calculating, analyzing, and so on. And as the value of noncognitive skills has become more widely acknowledged, demand has grown for a curriculum or a textbook or a teaching strategy to guide us in helping students develop these skills. If we can all agree on the most effective way to teach the Pythagorean theorem, can’t ...