Posts Tagged ‘K-12 Education’
To find the school that best fits you and your child, and make sure you get the highest return on one of the biggest investments of your life, there are some things to think about. You need to consider how each of the factors or school characteristics influences your child’s education and success.
Here are some tips of what to consider when trying determining your formula for finding the best school. These will improve the chances of your investment being a success. They are in no particular order.
The size of the school needs to match your kid’s personality. Big schools have more programs, more enrichment, and more options in teaching. But there is always a risk that your child will get lost in the hustle and bustle. Check out the school, go meet the principal, talk to parents. Often, parents choose little schools because they want their child to get personal attention. The principal knows the children by name and the school has a personal touch. My children went primary school with over 1600 kids in it. The principal knew all the kids’ names, their parents’ names, their parent’s professions and what their hobbies were. It is possible to get a big school with a personal touch. This was good for my kids. Other parents who went to the exact same schools felt that their child was just a number in such a big school. It was not for them.
As parents, our choice of appropriate school for our kids needs to be revaluated every year. If a child is spends up to 13 years at school, we should be re-evaluating our choice at least 13 times.
Unfortunately, some people just send their kids to the closest school. Sometimes, it is the only school available and in fact, they do not really have much of a choice. The majority of parents believe they should make schooling choices about two or three times. Depending on the structure of the education system, parents make choices about day care/ kindergarten, primary school, and middle school/high school. Some parents even consider this question only once and decide to send their kid to a college (which goes from kindergarten to Grade 12).
Schools struggle a lot with the increased use of mobile phones by children. Many new regulations are in place to stop children from bringing mobile phone to school. At a primary school level, some schools ask the students to deposit their mobile phones at the office. In high schools, the phone devices are part of everyday life and a regular item in each class. In the past, teachers had to deal with the concentration and focus of the children. Now, they need to fight the attraction of the mobile phones as well!
With the introduction of mobile phones, one new problem that teachers to deal with is cheating on tests. In the past, students had to think of very sophisticated ways of writing cheat shits on paper, on their hand, the back of the ruler or the calculator. Kids today have a very handy way to keep the information and they use it well.
A survey conducted by a media sources with some common sense discovered that a third of teens with mobiles admitted to storing information on their phone, using it in an exam or texting their friends the answers while their friends are in the exam.
Education is one of the most important investments in life (followed closely by investing in relationships). Many people around the world spend a fortune on a good school for their kids. Sadly, this fortune is often wasted and they end up blaming their children for not making the most out of the opportunity they were given. It is similar to investing in the share market or in property, you find a lousy house or buy very shaky shares and complain when they do not increase in value.
Children spend the majority of their most valuable childhood years in educational institutions. Think about it this way: out of 7 days a week, 5 of them are dedicated to schooling. If the kids are also stimulated in other ways, they may even spend some of their weekends in educational endeavors.
Much like other investments, the decision whether to invest or not, and in what to invest depends on the potential return. If the return is high, it is considered a good investment. If the return is low, it is not a very good investment, and if there is likely to be a loss, it is a terrible investment.
In Australia, the new school year starts today. I sent some rules about starting the year on a positive note to all my clients, which I would like to share with you too.
Even though the first week of the school year is not very important in terms of learning material (because most teachers do not teach new things), I believe it is one of the most important weeks. It is a pivotal point for setting the right frame of mind to ensure a good year.
Most kids are very excited to start the year. They have mixed emotions of anticipation and fear. Whatever happens in the first week of school, will determine which will take over – the fun and excitement or the dread, from the new teacher, academic performance or lack of friends.
In my parenting workshops, when I talk about ways to find that switch in the kids’ brain and talk about Eden, who is emotionally gifted, and Tsoof, who is musically gifted, I get a feeling that many of the participants believe that they were born gifted. The hardest thing for me to do in the workshop is to convince them that Eden and Tsoof were as ordinary and special as all other kids in the world. Sometimes, when I manage to convince my clients how we did it, they sit there in shock and in silence for a minute and ask, “Do you mean your kids are just regular kids?!”
Yes, I do!
“They are as regular as others and they are as special as others. All kids have the light inside. The only difference between them and others is that their parents dedicate enough energy to finding the switch that turns on the light”.
I believe that the essence of life is finding that switch and turning the light on. This light is where all good feeling resides. Where success can find a home, abundance is on our dinner table constantly and happiness shines in every corner of our being. I consider people lucky if their light is on or if they know where the switch is and they can turn it on at will.
The great thing about that light is that it can be used in dark times and life is full of dark moments.
The best time to find the switch and turn the light on is during childhood, long before the dark ages of our conditioned adulthood, long before we think of ourselves as frustrated and unable. This requires parents to dedicate much of their energy to finding that switch.
Last week, I ran two parenting workshops. At each one, I told the parents that I had found an amazing formula for raising gifted children and that my goal for the day was to share this formula, or at least the main parts of it, with them.
Every time I run a workshop, I get puzzled looks and parents ask, “How can you share such a thing with us? Aren’t kids either gifted or not?”
Well, no! Kids are gifted. Period. We just have to help them discover their particular gifts.
Imagine that the brain has switches. Kids are born with all the switches turned on. As they experience life, they learn to specialize, to switch some off and keep some on. It is impossible to have all these switches on all the time, so the mechanism of turning some of them off is very healthy and helps people survive. Can you imagine an expert who specializes in biology, art, history, electricity and music? I did not think so. The idea of specializing is that we narrow down our range interests to allow us to delve more deeply into the things we choose.
The first thing God said in the book of Genesis was, “Let there be light”. Parenting and teaching are kind of like being God, because our job is to do just that – turn on the switches and say, “Let there be light”.
As an author, I have a strong belief in the written word. The collection of sounds put together in a unique sequence, creating words, sentences and paragraphs into ideas, has an enormous power for me.
I have been an avid reader from the age of 8. I remember that my neighbor friend and I used to ride our bicycles to the library for more than 45 minutes and could only borrow 3 books for 3 weeks. Reading was my sanctuary. School was tough for me, home was not an easy place and reading allowed me to visit new worlds in my own imagination and immerse myself in them.
I have always found it fascinating that a combination of words could trigger such emotions in people. Sometimes, when I read something that was really scary, I had to remind myself that it was just a story and that if I took the same words and put them in a different combination, their meaning would change completely.
Books were my best friends for many years. As a teenager, I spent about 2-3 hours every day reading. When I read a book late at night, the only thought that encouraged me to let go of the book and go to sleep was “leave something for tomorrow”. Our high school librarian would wait for me every day with a pack of books and say, “Ronit, I think you’ll like these”. Books inspired me to be better, stronger and smarter and to keep moving forward.
I think the understanding in the early years of my life of the power of words has made me the author I am today. When I write, I search for the combination of words that would trigger certain thoughts and feelings. My ultimate goal is to write something that will open the gates of the heart and allow people to find love, connection and happiness.
Ian’s parents came for coaching about 5 years ago. Ian’s mom, Lou, booked the sessions as a last resort before she divorced his dad. About two months ago, she sent me an email and said, “Hi Ronit, Dave and I renewed our vows last year on an overseas trip. I want you to see Ian. He’s in trouble at school”.
Kids’ coaching is not something that most parents understand, but Lou and Dave, after making a huge change in their own life through coaching, did not need to ask what it was. When I called Lou and asked what she needed and why she wanted Ian to come and see me, she said, “Ronit, I’m not sure how you do what you do, but I need you to do it for Ian. He’s a great kid, but he’s in trouble at school and it’s affecting his self-esteem. It breaks my heart to see him like that. I’ve tried different things, but he is still in trouble. I’m sure if he spends some time with you, he’ll gain some confidence, just like we did”.
Ian was one of the most beautiful 11-year-old boys I had ever seen. In his first session, I went over some assessments to figure out what was making him get in trouble at school. Although he could read high-level books, thought math was easy and schoolwork was not a challenge at all, his grade average was “B”. Not that I think everyone needs to get an “A”, but all my assessments showed he was an “A” student, maybe even one of those smart kids that find school so boring they stir up some trouble to get some attention and make things a bit more interesting.
Teachers and educators (myself included) believe in the power of our vision to make a difference in the lives of students. We think that if we start early, we will guarantee their success in the future. The risky part in education is reducing our evaluation methods to using statistics and making false assumptions about what is normal and what is not.
The official introduction of those assumptions occurred in 1904, when the psychologist Alfred Binet was asked by the French government to develop a test that would identify students with learning difficulties that required special help at school. The original request meant to cater better for students who needed help, but it gave birth to the test that later distorted education systems everywhere – the IQ Test.
The “Crystal Ball” of the Education System
Based on the IQ test, students were positioned in a single, permanent place on the famous “bell curve” and that determined their potential for life. Shortly after its creation, the IQ test turned into the “crystal ball” of the education system. Children took the test and their future was decided. The IQ test took over the education system. Instead of being a helping teachers teach and helping students learn, it turned into an evaluation system that focused on formal scores and taught kids to pass tests.