Sex education; moving beyond the physical act.

Child abuse is an age-old controversy; one that still continues to plague society. As an early childhood educator, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on child abuse and I’ve talked about in my sessions as well.One aspect that always makes me uneasy is that we, as parents, teachers or guides, are well aware of the consequences of child abuse, but do we understand the
cause that leads to the abuse?


To truly tackle the issue, I find that it is important for us to first accept our shortcomings. What is lacking in the upbringing we provide to children that prevents us from understanding and tackling child abuse? We teach children the perils of playing with fire to safeguard themfrom getting burned.

Accordingly, we need to consider how we can safeguard them from abuse.
We need to start talking about it. We hesitate to talk to our children about sexuality because it makes us uncomfortable. This unintentionally leads to children being unable to face these predators due to a lack of awareness. And when these situations occur, we panic.

Sex education can be a difficult topic to approach, but it is a must. Somehow, sex education has become synonymous with ‘reproduction science’. Parents often associate sex education with addressing the classic question, “Where do babies come from?”. However, the answers to “How did papa put the baby in your tummy?”, “Why do people kiss?”, “What are sanitary pads?” and so on, aren’t enough to qualify as sex education.

We need to take a look at sex education from a different perspective. When children are born, we talk to them, trying to help them understand with simple yet relevant vocabulary. Words like ‘mummy’, ‘papa’, ‘milk’, ‘water’, are the common ones. When it comes to their bodies, we use vocabulary like ‘hand’, ‘finger’, ‘mouth’, ‘ear’, but we sheepishly avoid words like ‘vagina’, ‘penis’, ‘anus’ and ‘breast’, replacing them with lingo like ‘that’, ‘pee-pee’, ‘toto’ and so on. We subconsciously teach our children to be embarrassed by such words, and when they grow up, they propagate the same embarrassment and forced obliviousness that prevents them from
learning what they need to learn.

We need to move ahead of this immature tomfoolery. Even if society cringes in worry of children using these terms in public, we can take the necessary steps to help children understand why they need to restrict their usage of such terms in public. We can inform children that such words can seem inappropriate under certain circumstances and that they should only use them when they need to explain or know something of informational value.

Once children learn the appropriate vocabulary, we can talk about the functions of the various body parts. We can explain that while certain parts expel waste, their functions are not dirty, but rather critical to the body’s daily functioning. Additionally, we need to inform them that even though the body parts are not dirty, the waste that comes out, urine or faeces, should not be played with as it is unhygienic. We should strive to match this level of preciseness when explaining the body to our children.

It’s about breaking through our own limitations. Once we cross the barrier of our own apprehensions, we will be ready to share more insights on sex education, beyond the physical act.

We can then create an awareness in children that promotes meaningful learning about themselves and their feelings. This can help them understand what puberty means as well as the physical and associated hormonal changes that will take place as they grow up.

When we have these conversations with children, it is important to remember the following:
 We should share our views from an objective standpoint.
 We should listen patiently to the child’s views and concerns.
 We should refrain from defining what is wrong and right, and instead, listen to what the child thinks.
 We should share our experiences, limitations, family views in a positive manner and try to avoid the use of threats, bribes and impositions during the conversation.

At the end of the day, we should create an open channel of communication with children. My advice is to enjoy the topic, look for opportunities to bring about a greater exposure, try to create a space for discussion and help create a better understanding. We can use current events, movies and our
own experiences to create a standpoint to learn from.

Now that the topic of ‘sex’ is beyond the ‘physical act’, relish the openness of it. Open communication can be of great use in families and it can aid discussions on sexual abuse and how to prevent it.

What’s the harm in being yourself

The world we live in is continuously changing, and so are we. We’re developing as individuals; turning over a new leaf as we establish who we are. However, when it comes to pleasing others, we’re often conflicted by the weight of expectations.

We have all had to deal with situations where we believe that people or society would rather have us conform to certain norms, contrary to who we are. We‘ve all been there. Lived life, even for a while, untrue to our real selves. We’ve made decisions that we may have regretted because we were afraid of judgement from our peers. 

For some, it can take a lifetime to understand that pleasing others will never bring us true happiness. And while it is good for people to understand the meaning of being yourself, by themselves, I’m hoping that this will help you realize it a bit sooner.

So, I’d like to put a question forward: What’s the harm in being yourself?

Here are five reasons why you should be yourself with a few caveats of why you shouldn’t stop being true to yourself.

  1. You have your own beliefs. As we grow as individuals, we set standards, form boundaries and establish values. By living in alignment with our values, we find meaning. There may be a time where we will need to challenge these values and beliefs, but that will come with the opportunity to improve ourselves. However, in choosing to compromise our values and beliefs for the sake of pleasing others, we risk the chance of antagonizing others, solely because we are afraid to be ourselves.

  2. You can find your own direction. As we start being ourselves, we begin to realize what we want to do. We learn to set our own goals and achieve results that are meaningful to ourselves. This makes life easier and makes the things we do seem less of a chore. In following our own direction, we start to ‘act’ less and ‘live’ more.

  3. You can achieve your own greatness.You are unique and talented in your own way, everyone is. To choose to conform to another’s expectation could be a betrayal of your talents. We’ve all looked at someone else and wished that we could be them. But, in being ourselves, we can discover greatness in ourselves.

  4. You should establish your own identity. During our development, we often find role-models. Individuals that inspire us, and those that we aspire to be. Role-models are good, they teach us about who we want to be. But it is necessary for us to understand that we may be someone else. Finding your identity is as important as establishing that identity in your social circle and society. When you believe in your identity, you become a role-model to yourself and subsequently, you will be one to others as well.

  5. You will find your own happiness. By living how we want to, aligning with our own values, finding our own direction, achieving meaningful greatness and establishing our own identity, we will begin to find our own happiness. Very often, we find that people question the meaning of life and seek their purpose. Is it not because they seek happiness? The answer to true happiness is in pleasing ourselves, our core-being, and to do so, we must realize that it may come at the cost of being unable to please others.

Life often throws us curveballs; we do not know what we are going to experience and who’ll be by our side. While it is nice to make others happy, we certainly shouldn’t live by it. Live life the way you’d like to and it will help you love and accept yourself and others around you.

Enabling education for children with disabilities

Addressing the requirements of children with disabilities can be challenging for families, especially when concerning education. The children struggle to maintain active participation in class-activities and acceptance amongst their peers.

While there are programs that have been laid down by the Government to provide special help for these children at schools, the management and Principals have not actively adopted these programs that would help such differently-abled children find comfort in a school setting. 

Schools need to be reminded that the Central Board of Secondary Education has mandated the appointment of Special Educators to help differently-abled children fit into mainstream schools with other learners. The Right to Education (RTE) guidelines have also directed schools to be inclusive and provide special need services.

Various research and studies show that attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, social disorders, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and processing deficits are the most common disabilities in classrooms today. Schools play a pivotal role in aiding these children’s education. They can help by:

1.  Openly welcoming children with disabilities and providing them with a space conducive for learning.

2. Appointing special educators to guide these children.

3. Involving adults in the school’s plan to help the children and helping them cope with their children’s disabilities. 

4.  Empowering the parents to pursue a complete diagnosis of the disability and obtain a medical evaluation. 

5. Creating a panel that can create an ‘Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)’, based on the medical evaluation, which can establish the necessary care required and how to the school can go about it. IEPs help incorporate children into regular classes with other learners.

6. Organizing the seating, instructional, assignment-based and test-taking accommodations for children with disabilities. 

All these points help children with disabilities receive a fulfilling education. Seating arrangements away from the windows or closer to the teacher can aid the children who are prone to distraction. It is important to remember that encouragement goes a long way in helping these children; labelling and limiting these children can negatively impact their education. Instructional approaches and supplementary help for these children should be designed based on the child’s needs.

Special Education services refer to a spectrum of services that can be provided in different ways and different settings. Learner resources, like lecture notes, assignments and test, should be adapted to motivate children with disabilities. This goes a long way in helping the children feel accepted and included.

Special education does not fit in the “one size fits all” model of education. Many services that are related to Special Education include personal care like one-on-one sessions, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The future of Special education in India is dependent on the capability of the country to create posts for special educators in various schools. Special educators form an integral part of inclusive learning; they are responsible for the overall care of differently-abled children. That being said, the road to inclusive education is still a long one. 

The future of special education in India begins with us first changing our mindset. 

Fighting depression: a battle against the need for attention

Many children today are battling with depression. Clinical depression is on the rise, and it seems to be crippling the productivity of the newer generations. However, the reason behind it may be simpler than you think. 

Children these days have been brought up while receiving appreciation for their accomplishments, so much so that it’s been wired into their neurology to be overwhelmed with praise when they achieve something. These pathways, once formed, begin to form a pattern and dependence. The children begin to seek appreciation for even the smallest of their achievements. 

What happens when they don’t receive any acknowledgement?

A lack of acknowledgement, or even the absence of it, can make these children feel dejected. Initially, they will start to feel low as they begin to receive less acknowledgement for carrying out more ‘every-day’ tasks, this state of dejection can be considered to be the first rung on the ladder towards depression.

To compensate for the dejection and to allow the release of chemicals (hormones) that induce happiness, these children will start performing chores that they believe will receive praise. As this behaviour progresses, they may even forget the intended objective of the tasks they need to perform. They will act solely to be the focus of people’s attention.

Achieving higher grades, performing well in sports, looking good and dressing well, all of these actions become subsets of their need for acknowledgement. They’ll believe that these actions will get them the attention that they desire. What might have started as praise for the extraordinary, like when a child takes its first steps, will eventually culminate into an ecosystem that revolves around seeking acknowledgement.

Eventually, the brain will start enabling actions by default to attract attention and acknowledgement. However, things will soon start to become challenging when these individuals do not receive the acknowledgement they desire, which can eventually lead to conflict with siblings, spouses, co-workers, employers and so on.  

To avoid this massive pitfall, it is crucial to create a neutral ecosystem right from early childhood. Parents must give their children the space to grow. If children fall and cry, as long as they aren’t in any danger, it’s okay to stay back and let the emotion subside. If children achieve something, let the satisfaction come from within first instead of through claps, cheers, awards and celebrations. Children know neurologically when they have achieved something. By celebrating every small victory, we’re leading them to believe that external appreciation is the only means to validate their achievements. 

Do we really want our children to be dependent on external validation?

Happiness and content should come from within. Our actions, even though they come from the right place, have unintended consequences. Failing to curb this attention-seeking behaviour could eventually lead our children down a path of depression and aggression later in life. As they grow, children need to learn to be happy with themselves. They should not feel low or bored after get-togethers and festivals, just because they are alone. 

The need of the hour is for individuals to be the way we’re meant to be. We need to unload the burdens that weigh us down and be who we want to be.

Teaching to read. Is it really needed the way schools do?

Reading specialists have done examinations in study halls and centers, and they’ve reiterated again and again that for all intents and purposes, all children can figure out how to read if they’re instructed with updated methodologies. In these methodologies, researchers have found that the cerebrum takes every necessary step of reading. However, numerous instructors are unaware of the science behind reading.

What have researchers made sense of?

As a matter of priority, while figuring out how to talk is a characteristic procedure that happens when youngsters are surrounded by speakers of the language, figuring out how to read isn’t. To progress toward becoming a capable reader, kids need to figure out how the words they see are written out. They need to express and learn through phonics guidance. There are hundreds of studies that back this up.

In any case, contrary to what instructors and many others may tell you, teachers are used to instruction methods other than what’s actually beneficial to a youngster’s reading in their educator arrangement programs.

These ideas are rooted in beliefs about reading that were called “whole language”, which gained a firm footing during the 1980s. Whole language defenders rejected the requirement for phonics. Reading is “the most regular action on the planet,” Frank Smith, one of the pioneers of the whole language movement, wrote. It “is just through reading that kids figure out how to read. Attempting to instruct kids to read by showing them the hints of letters is actually a useless movement.”

These thoughts have since been debunked during the mid 2000s. It might appear as though children are figuring out how to read when they’re presented with books, and a few children do get sound-letter correspondences rapidly and effectively. But, the science reteriates that to turn into a decent reader, you should figure out how to interpret words. Thereafter, some whole language advocates added some phonics to their methodology and rebranded it “balanced literacy.”

In any case, they didn’t surrender their principal conviction that figuring out how to read is a characteristic procedure that happens when guardians and educators open kids to great books. Thus, while you’re probably going to discover some phonics exercises in a reasonable study hall, you’re unlikely to discover a great deal of different practices established in the possibility that youngsters figure out how to read by reading as opposed to by direct guidance in the connection between sounds and letters. For instance, educators will give youngsters books that contain words with letter designs that the kids are yet to learn about. You’ll see “word walls” that rely on the probability that figuring out how to read is a visual memory process as opposed to a procedure of seeing how letters connect to sounds. You’ll hear instructors advising children to pronounce words through representations that do now have any context instead of proactively showing youngsters how to decipher the sounds of the words.

Numerous educators become familiar with these methodologies in their instructor readiness programs. Distributors sustain these thoughts, and schools purchase it. Be that as it may, schools of education, which ought to be at the forefront of promoting the best learning methods, have disregarded the logical proof on reading to a great extent.

The National Council on Teacher Quality reviewed the syllabuses of instructor arrangement programs across the nation and found that less than 4 out of 10 schools encouraged the reading guidance recognized by research. An investigation of early-education guidance in educator arrangement programs over the University of North Carolina system found that instructional methodologies dependent on research were referenced “in a quick way, if by any means, on generally schedules.” (Some educators expected understudies to compose their “own ways of thinking” about how to learn to read.)

It’s not just obliviousness. There’s a dynamic protection from the science, as well. Institutions need to start making sure that their students know the art of reading.

Our youngsters’ future depends on it.

Seeing From Your Child’s Point of View

Take one moment to envision your child’s point of view, everything is new and unexplored, she has minimal discretion and her vocabulary is restricted to perhaps a hundred words. At times, life can be energizing, disappointing, erratic or out-right terrifying. As a mother, I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities to understand the special point of view of babies. These opportunities have helped me drastically improve as a parent. So, let’s put on our little child goggles and see precisely what our youngsters see. 

The Toddler View: “I want something, so I need it!” 

When my then 2-year-old little girl opened up the present meant for her companion, after I’d explicitly advised her not to, I was vexed. Is it safe to say that she was glaring at me? Not actually. Babies ache for things with such energy, they believe that they should have them. My little girl needed to have that present, and didn’t have the psychological development to overlook her drive to unwrap it. 

A little child’s mind hasn’t achieved official capacity, the capacity to accept, show control and yield to common sense. At the end of the day, there’s no director in the ensemble of her psyche. So my girl couldn’t get accept that the present was not hers and that she should oppose opening it. 

In the popular “marshmallow study” at Stanford University, scientists offered a marshmallow or a treat to a gathering of small kids and disclosed to them they could eat it now or have two treats later. Most of the kids, who were at 3 years of age, consumed the treat right away, barely understanding the significance of the statement. However, some of the 4-to 6-year-olds held back their desire to eat the marshmallow by diverting themselves. 

You can help show your baby practical restraint techniques. For instance, give her the chance to sit tight on the swing. Keep the holdup time short and demonstrate to her the approaches that she can use to entertain herself in the meanwhile. In any case, don’t set unreasonable desires; asking your 2-year-old to leave a treat immaculate is simply setting her up to come up short. Keep the enticement far out. 

The Toddler View: “I need to see and hear everything.” 

Keep in mind when your kid immediately spun around to you when you said “treat,” despite the fact that you figured he wasn’t completely tuned in. Babies have a mind boggling capacity to focus on every one of the subtleties around them. It’s their superpower! Grown-ups normally channel out incidental data, similar to a fascinating example of shadows on the walkway, yet little children don’t have the foggiest idea about what’s generally significant. There’s actually a natural reason for this: Young youngsters have less inhibitory synapses, the synthetic concoctions that keep neurons from terminating, so their mind is continually detonating with improvements. It’s like what you see when you visit an outlandish new area: your consideration is overwhelmed by new sounds, scents, and sights. 

This “super-consideration” is a basic for adapting, however it tends to take precedence in children – and every once in a while, this may baffle you. You may feel better realizing that one reason why your little child keeps asking you to read the same book again and again is because he isn’t diverted by a lot of new data.

In examinations at the University of Sussex, in England, scientists found that little youngsters adapted to new words when presented to them in the same story, read more than once; they neglected to get familiar with those words which were presented to them in different stories. So while you may have your child’s preferred book remembered, he’s as yet charmed by the new sounds and words he’s learning with every repeat. 

The Toddler View: “I see things one way, and one way in particular.” 

You’re playing find the stowaway, and your little one has his head behind the window curtains; however his feet are standing out. He’s convinced that he’s all covered up because he thinks you both see something from the same perspective. Babies are as yet to discover that there are multiple perspectives. 

Similarly, they experience difficulties attempting to perceive future perspectives, i.e., what’s to come. So your 2-year-old can’t picture what it implies when you state, “We’re returning home in five minutes.” That’s the reason he’ll be amazed when you walk him out the entryway five minutes later. Rather, disclose to him how you’re leaving: “We’re putting on our shoes and giving our companion an embrace and after that we’re walking to the vehicle.” Don’t try revealing to him the reason why you’re leaving, since he will just understand that his fun is coming to an end. In any case, you can try explaining that “Dad” is leaving, it will make way for feeling compassion toward others. 

The Toddler View: “I need your consideration. At any expense.” 

A child’s whiny demands can debilitate any parent. Why does your kid whimper (or toss things, or kick you)? From her point of view, it works! Whimpering is super-successful for a attention-seeking baby; it gets you to pivot and concentrate on what she wants. On the off chance that you disregarded her three past demands to be held while you were preparing supper, she neither comprehends nor cares. She turns to crying since it gets you to react.

Little children likewise couldn’t care less whether they get attention for either positive or negative conduct. In the pediatric-crisis room where I work, guardians will once in a while come in worried that their kid has “seizures” or a “muscle issue” due to their aggravated conduct, for example, eye-rolling or head-shaking. However, I wear my baby goggles to work each day, and I see that as a rule the child has essentially discovered an activity that stands out enough to be noticed, which she adores, so she continues doing it. 

At the point when your kid makes trouble, do your best to disregard her (except if she’s in peril, or harming somebody, obviously). On the off chance that you can’t brush it off, move her away from the circumstance or occupy her. This sends the amazing message that you aren’t going to react to negative conduct. Simply be mindful so as not to coincidentally compensate awful conduct. For instance, if your youngster is interfering with you while you’re on the telephone and you hang up to arrangement due to her conduct, she’s gotten precisely what she needed. Attempt to foresee her requirement for attention and search for chances to gain her cooperation. You could very well have the option to hold up a three-minute telephone talk on the off chance that you give your little child a couple of consoling words and kisses while you’re on the telephone. 

The Toddler View: “You ought to have the option to peruse my psyche!” 

Your little angel requests for some water, and just as you hand it to him, he shouts “No!” and bats it away. What happened? When he requested “water,” he needed the ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’ cup with the straw that you gave him yesterday, not the green sippy cup. What’s going on with you? 

For babies, language issues are regularly the reason for angered outbursts. The cup situation is a perfect example. Your child expected precisely what he got last time, yet he just didn’t have the words to request that specific cup. Also, despite the fact that he didn’t respond agreeably, it really bodes well to use this situation to offer it to him. Take a look at it along these lines: You’re addressing your youngster’s need, and since you’ve made sense of it, you can work towards preventing future outbursts. 

Little children follow facial expressions well, so utilize both your voice and your language to pass on your message. Furthermore, focus on your child’s nonverbal signals, for example, tilting his head when he doesn’t exactly comprehend what you’ve said. In any event as much as his words; the outcomes may edify you. 

My last suggestion: Instead of spending your vitality tidying up each and every wreckage and agonizing over control, grasp your baby’s point of view more often. You may really find a progressively imaginative side to yourself and an increasingly helpful side to your little child.

Breaking Free from Conditioning

Breaking Free from Conditioning Customs, culture, religion or propensities; anything that is blindly accepted can be an obstacle in building up basic reasoning or a free reasoning society.

Unconsciously, we have become cogs in a machine that turns based on the thoughts of others. We do as we are told, as our parents were told and as their parents were told. It’s time we make our own choices, it’s time we break the loop.

Today’s youngsters will be tomorrow’s adults. Will they create a better tomorrow if they receive an education that highlights superficial values? We need to encourage curiosity and teach them to question everything. It is imperative that children understand their social responsibility and develop their creative capacity.

In the context of current day society, which is not very flexible, students more often than not, tend to walk into career paths that society deems fit, without being given the opportunity to identify and select their own path. Technical fields are given more respect than creative fields. Children are taught that artistic fields like painting and films aren’t beneficial professions. These restrictions undermine the creative capacity of every individual, discouraging their confidence in their own talents.

Social moulding can be an obstacle in character advancement, but we should no longer blame our past generations for making us who we are. We need to create a change. We need to open up our own minds so that we can nurture the humans of tomorrow to develop their own talents, so as to believe in their own creativity and capability.

Teaching children to live out their own choices will help encourage the idea of individuality. Being different is not bad. Set them free from society’s conditioning and encourage them to think on their own. They should be empowered to read books and watch movies while knowing that the opinions stated are subjective. That rights and wrongs are not clearly defined.

Help them expand their understanding, widen their horizons, enjoy their interests and enhance their creativity. Show them how to open new doors instead of reusing the old ones. Tell them that the future is not defined and that new and better choices can help create a better tomorrow. Do not let your child become a victim of conditioning.

HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY!!

Teachers Day is celebrated on September 5th in India and is a day to express the love and gratitude we feel towards those who have taught us in life, from school teachers to college professors to our tutors or trainers in fields other than academics.


On this teacher’s day, HOL brings to you reasons as to why teachers are the real heroes: – –

Teachers follow students through each pivotal stage of development.
 #From six to eight hours a day, five days a week, you as a teacher are poised to become one of the most influential person in your students’ life.


#After their parents, children first learn from you, their elementary school teacher.


#Then, as a middle school teacher, you guide students through yet another important transition: adolescence.


 #As children become young adults, learning throughout middle school and into high school, you answer their questions, listen to their problems and teach them about this new phase of their lives.


#You not only watch your students grow, you help them grow.


#Teachers are founts of experience.


#They have already been where their students are going, undergone what they will go through and are in a position to pass along lessons, not only regarding subject matter, but lessons on life.


We hope you will agree, we all are trained for curriculum, class transactions, to communicate professionally, still there are many other necessary elements i.e the personal warmth, personal bond, willingness to remain down to the kid’s level, which are important to make learning a joyful journey for children forever.
Happy Teachers Day!

Disha-The Resourceful Direction

We’re taught that we need to somehow control our kids, so we often jump in their box without a second thought. We think we’re supposed to motivate our children to want certain things in life, but that only causes them to function in reaction to you. Your child might comply to get you off his back or even to please you, but that doesn’t help him get self-motivated. Again, you definitely want to inspire and influence your child. The goal is the same: we want our kids to be motivated—it’s how we get there that makes the difference.

Ask yourself these questions:

• Does your worry compel you to nag, hover, push, cajole, or over-function for your child?

• Does your frustration cause you to yell, scream, beg, punish, and throw your hands up in despair?

• Does your helplessness cause you to start fighting with your spouse, who never seems to do as much as you think he or she should do to get your child motivated?

• Does your fear about your child’s underachieving cause you to keep trying to get him to change and to be more motivated?

If you find yourself doing any of the above, you’ve probably seen your child resist, comply to get you off his back, rebel, or dig in his heels harder. Let me be clear: Whether he fights you or goes along with what you want, the end result is that he will be no more motivated than he was before. You might eventually get him to do what you want, but your goal of helping him be selfmotivated is still a far away reality.

How do you inspire your kids to motivate themselves? (Here are a few tips to help you influence them towards self-motivation.)

1. Don’t let your anxiety push them to get motivated. You will only motivate them to resist you or to comply to calm you down because they want you to leave them alone. This won’t motivate them as much as teaching them how to appease or resist you. It then becomes about reacting to you instead of focusing on themselves and finding some internal motivation. Your anxiety and need for them to care will just create a power struggle between you and your child.

2. Be inspiring. The only way to motivate is to stop trying to motivate. Instead, work towards inspiring your child. How do you do that? Be an inspiring person. Ask yourself if your behaviors are inspiring or controlling. Understand that your kids will want to run the other way if you’re too controlling. Think about someone in your own life who is inspiring to you, and work towards that goal. Remember, the only thing you’ll motivate if you’re pushing your child is the motivation to resist you.

3. Let your child make his own choices—and face the consequences. Let your child make his own choices. When it’s a poor choice, hold him accountable by letting him face the consequences that come with it. If the consequence of not doing his homework is that the computer is taken away, put the need to get that computer time back in his hands. If he finishes his work, he gets the time on the computer you’ve agreed upon. That will be a motivation for him in the right direction without you telling him what to do, how to do it, and lecturing him on why he should care. As a parent, what you’re actually doing is asking yourself, “What will I put up with? What are my values and principles?” and you’re sticking to them.

4. Ask yourself these questions:

• What motivates my child?

• What does he really want?

• What questions can I ask that will help him discover and explore his interests?

• What are his goals and ambitions?

Step far enough away to see your child as a separate person. Then observe what you see. Talk to him to find the answers to the questions above. And then listen—not to what you want the answers to be, but to what your child is saying. Just listen to him. Respect his answers, even if you disagree.

5. Choose which door you want to enter. Imagine two doors. Door number one is for the parent who wants to get their kids motivated and do the right thing in life: Get up, go to school, get their work done, be successful. Door number two is for parents who want their kids to be self- motivated to do those things. They want to influence their child to work toward the things they’re interested in. To not only do the right thing but to want to do the right things. Which door would you enter? If it’s door number one, then the way to achieve that goal is push, punish, beg, nag, bribe, reward, and cajole. If you decide on door number two, then you’ll reach that goal by asking different kinds of questions. Rather than, “Did you get your homework done?” you might say, “Why did you decide to do your homework today and not yesterday? I noticed you chose not to do geometry yesterday, but you’re doing your history homework today. What’s the difference?” Be an investigator, exploring and uncovering, helping your child discover his own motivations and sticking points.

6. It’s not your fault. Remember, your child’s lack of motivation is not your fault, so don’t personalize it. When you do this, you may actually contribute to the underachieving by creating more resistance.

Look at it this way. If you look too closely in the mirror, you can’t really see yourself—it’s just a blur. But when you get farther away, you actually see yourself more clearly. Do the same thing with your child. Sometimes we’re just so close, so enmeshed, that we just can’t see them as separate from us. But if you can stand back far enough, you can actually start to see your child as his own person and start to find out what makes him tick—and then you’ll be able to help him understand himself as well. When you step back and observe, you’ll know what works for him, why he’s reaching for certain things and what really gets him moving. There will be things he’s never going to be motivated to do but is still required to them. He may hate doing his chores and try to get out of it, and that’s when you give him consequences.

The goal is to influence your child when he has to do something he doesn’t want to do, and get to know him well enough to figure out what his own desires might be. As a parent, you want to strengthen his skills in defining what’s important to him. You want to help your child define for himself who he is, what’s important to him and what he’s going to do to make those things happen. Our responsibility is to help our kids do that, not to do it for them. We need to stay out of their way enough so they can figure out who they are, what they think and where their own interests lie.

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INSIGHTS WITH SONAL

A major goal of schooling is to prepare students for flexible adaptation to new problems and settings. Students’ abilities to transfer what they have learned to new situations provides an important index of adaptive, flexible learning; seeing how well they do this can help educators evaluate and improve their instruction. Many approaches to instruction look equivalent when the only measure of learning is memory for facts that were specifically presented. Instructional differences become more apparent when evaluated from the perspective of how well the learning transfers to new problems and settings. Transfer can be explored at a variety of levels, including transfer from one set of concepts to another, one school subject to another, one year of school to another, and across school and every day, nonschool activities.
People’s ability to transfer what they have learned depends upon a number of factors:


* People must achieve a threshold of initial learning that is sufficient to support transfer. This obvious point is often overlooked and can lead to erroneous conclusions about the effectiveness of various instructional approaches. It takes time to learn complex subject matter, and assessments of transfer must take into account the degree to which original learning with understanding was accomplished.


* Spending a lot of time (“time on task”) in and of itself is not sufficient to ensure effective learning. Practice and getting familiar with subject matter take time, but most important is how people use their time while learning. Concepts such as “deliberate practice” emphasize the importance of helping students monitor their learning so that they seek feedback and actively evaluate their strategies and current levels of understanding. Such activities are very different from simply reading and rereading a text.

* Learning with understanding is more likely to promote transfer than simply memorizing information from a text or a lecture. Many classroom activities stress the importance of memorization over learning with understanding. Many, as well, focus on facts and details rather than larger themes of causes and consequences of events. The shortfalls of these
approaches are not apparent if the only test of learning involves tests of memory, but when the transfer of learning is measured, the advantages of learning with understanding are likely to be revealed.


* Knowledge that is taught in a variety of contexts is more likely to support flexible transfer than knowledge that is taught in a single context. Information can become “context-bound” when taught with context-specific examples. When material is taught in multiple contexts, people are more likely to extract the relevant features of the concepts and develop a more flexible representation of knowledge that can be used more generally.


* Students develop flexible understanding of when, where, why, and how to use their knowledge to solve new problems if they learn how to extract underlying themes and principles from their learning exercises. Understanding how and when to put knowledge to use—known as conditions of applicability—is an important characteristic of expertise.
Learning in multiple contexts most likely affects this aspect of transfer.


* Transfer of learning is an active process. Learning and transfer should not be evaluated by “one-shot” tests of transfer. An alternative assessment approach is to consider how learning affects subsequent learning, such as increased speed of learning in a new domain. Often, evidence for positive transfer does not appear until people have had a chance to learn about the new domain—and then transfer occurs and is evident in the learner’s ability to grasp the new information more quickly.

*All learning involves transfer from previous experiences. Even initial learning involves transfer that is based on previous experiences and prior knowledge. Transfer is not simply something that may or may not appear after initial learning has occurred. For example, knowledge relevant to a particular task may not automatically be activated by learners and may not serve as a source of positive transfer for learning new information. Effective teachers attempt to support positive transfer by actively identifying the strengths that students bring to a learning situation and building on them, thereby building bridges between students’ knowledge and the learning objectives set out by the teacher.

*Sometimes the knowledge that people bring to a new situation impedes subsequent learning because it guides thinking in wrong directions.For example, young children’s knowledge of everyday counting-based arithmetic can make it difficult for them to deal with rational numbers (a larger number in the numerator of a fraction does not mean the same thing as a larger number in the denominator); assumptions based on everyday physical experiences can make it difficult for students to understand physics concepts (they think a rock falls faster than a leaf because everyday experiences include other variables, such as resistance, that are not present in the vacuum conditions that physicists study), and so forth. In these kinds of situations, teachers must help students change their original conceptions
rather than simply use the misconceptions as a basis for further understanding or leaving new material unconnected to current understanding.