Thoughts from the NPR “Struggling smarts” story

I heard this story from NPR a while back, I meant to share it with my daughter’s teacher, did not do it as the New Town incident happened on that day. This is again discussed this morning at Hope Montessori morning presentation. I gave it some thought on this topic from time to time. I think it’s not east vs. west thing, also we need to consider the “brain freeze” when we put a person who usually is shy about public speaking to the blackboard, explain something to the class.

The most important lesson is, we (both teachers and parents) should encourage “good efforts”. I recall I had a very difficult class in Rolla, and from what I heard, the professor could give some not so good scores in the end. I tried my best, basically take the notes, spend a lot time working on homework problems, sometimes barely get it done before the class starts (I recall we meets 2 or 3 times a week). I did not do well in some of the early tests (3 tests before the final), in one test I did especially poor as I misread the problem as I was trying to finish all the problems in a short time. I explained it to the professor. He obviously understood it. As the semester concludes to my surprise he gave me “A” on the course. I think he gave it mostly because he thought I tried my best.


Morning meeting at Hope

A lot of good points.

We congrats/celebrate with kids (did something, e.g., potty training), we don’t “reward” them (Sarah).

The “grit” (persistence) is very important, recent research found American kids are more tend to give up (Susie). Also, toddlers (community) do not have watch, the teachers give toddlers plenty of time to make mistakes and learn. When she saw the infant feed her/himself, or pour milk, she know they are going to succeed in life. The library incident example (toddler want to touch the phone, the mom said if he does, she won’t bring him to library again, the librarian said she will fine him for $100). The lesson: be honest when we communicate with kids. Sarah: the kids knew the first 9 times (parents said) does not count. A parent learned from Mishra (no need to repeat, just remind we already said it).

Sarah: we make mistakes, just be honest and say sorry to kids (e.g., we shout at kids).

Another parent: the “salad” video (hope kids video, maybe put Serenity’s video on iPad so that we can watch more often).

Sarah also mentioned as the older toddler gets more leadership role and feel more confident in the class, it’s also a good preparation for her/him to go pre-school (that self-confidence will help them do well in the new environment).