Back at the beginning of May, I wrote a piece about the positive impacts of music as an educational tool in the classroom. As school is winding down, I couldn’t help but reflect upon how influential music has been in my life. In most of these cases, what I learned from music came from moments outside of school.
Whether it’s singing karaoke, rocking out with a guitar, or pounding away on a cow bell, playing music can be a powerful experience. It can spark emotion, foster creativity, increase student engagement, and even make you smarter!
However, there is truly a magical quality to playing music when it is done with others. While playing music involves instruments and developing some fundamental skills, even novices can reap the benefits of finding ways to harmonize and create together.
The Power of Musical Journeys
Growing up in a musical family, I’ve always had access musical instruments and the encouragement to learn to play them. I spent hours in my room practicing for my clarinet lessons, noodling around on keyboards, and teaching myself guitar. While these efforts were personally rewarding, they pale in comparison to the experiences I’ve had playing music with others.
Video games are continuing to grow as a mainstream form of entertainment. Whether it’s tapping away on a smartphone or mashing the buttons on a controller, kids (…and adults) are increasingly turning to interactive entertainment over more passive activities like watching TV or movies.
Along with this rise comes the recurring complaints about the negative impacts video games are having on our society: a lack of social skills, overexposure to violent and mature themes, addictive obsession, general lethargy.
While these arguments certainly hold water in certain contexts, at their root they tend to blame video games for larger underlying issues.
The fact of the matter is that video games are not the enemy. In actuality, video games can be the catalyst for meaningful growth and relationship building. When it comes to video games (as with most things in life) moderation and personal accountability are key.
For all its good, the internet has also provided a global communication network for faceless individuals to provoke, harass, and intimidate others in ways that many would never dream of attempting in person. Cyber Bullying has become part of the modern world. Unfortunately, most teenagers enter the internet unprepared to handle the negativity and potential danger caused by these cyber bullies.
However, not having access to social media can be a source of bullying as well; your child may be harassed by peers and experience stress over the fear of missing out if they are kept away from all online peer contact.
While your gut reaction as a parent may be to try to prevent your child from logging on to the internet entirely, there are much more effective ways you can help your teen deal with cyber bullying.
For some teenagers, summer represents a freedom from the shackles of academics and the promise of fun, sun, and relaxation.
For others, summer is a stiff wake-up call as they leave the safety-net of school and dive into the tedium of the real world as members of the workforce.
While most teenagers would opt for the former over the latter, there are some significant benefits to a terrible summer job.
Any teacher will tell you, it is impossible to teach a student who is not in the proper head-space to learn. Thankfully, there are things educators can do to make their environments more focused and peaceful places to learn.
Promoting mindfulness skills with students doesn’t require any complex curriculum or extensive professional development. You can start creating a more mindful space for learning by following 3 simple steps…