In today’s world, writing plays a central role in our personal and professional lives. Just think about the number of written interactions you have had throughout your week so far.
Now consider: how effective are you as a writer? How well prepared are your own kids to handle those types of written interactions in their own lives?
I have been teaching public school children for a decade. From first grade to eighth grade and all the grades in between, I have seen, first hand, students soar above their perceived potential. At the same time, I have seen others struggle to reach it.
I have heard all the rationales from socio-economic disparity to learning styles, from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to a lack of interest-based learning, from ineffective schools and ill-trained educators to the lack of necessary educational resources. I will not disparage those factors as they do play a role in the social and academic growth of all children, however, I refuse to believe that they cannot be overcome.
In my career I have met with hundreds of families to discuss the successes and shortcomings of each their children’s academic efforts. By the very nature of the educational process, each child and each family presents the educator with a unique set of challenges and needs that must be accounted for. That being said, it is a flawed mentality (be it explicit or implicit) that the responsibility lies solely with the classroom educators to meet these academic needs.
Looking back over my ten years in the classroom, I can categorically say that there is, in fact, one panacea that has continually produced students that excel both academically and socially. Regardless of financial status, racial background, familial makeup, or special needs, there exists a common experience that has been present in the majority of my most successful students. It is simple and timeless, and any parent has the power to do it. Nevertheless, it stands as the four words I find myself wanting to yell from the mountaintops each year as a fresh crop of families enter into my classroom:
Read with your kids!
Music is and has always been a launching point for human understanding. Harnessing that big idea with the power of digital music is a way you can create positive and fun inroads with the adolescent in your life.
Try becoming “ear buds” with your teen as a way to create both passive and active pathways to potential connections.
I was really good at “doing school” when I was a kid. I knew all the ins and outs of the academic world and was able to breeze through most of my coursework. I enjoyed the process of learning new things and pushed myself to understand concepts as deeply as possible. Looking back, there is little surprise that I became a teacher.
Fast-forward to my early thirties when I found myself entering into the world of entrepreneurship as a writer. For all my successes in the academic sphere, nothing in that experience had prepared me for the world of business. In particular, when it came to a critical business skill like marketing, I quickly realized I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.
From the Teach.com blog –January 16, 2018
For most of us, grades were always a part of school. Work was assigned, it was completed, and we were given a score reflective of our efforts and understandings. At regular intervals, these scores were compiled and sent home on report cards to inform our parents or guardians of our progress.
Over time, grades have become a ritual of the educational process that most students, parents, teachers, and administrators have come to expect as a measuring stick of progress and achievement.
Recently, there has been growing support for removing grades from the educational landscape altogether. Instead of A’s and F’s or 100s and 0s, there have been pushes for more authentic evaluative criteria like standards-based proficiency or relying exclusively on descriptive feedback. It makes sense; successfully facilitating a growth mindset in students involves assessment styles tied to more intrinsically relevant experiences than arbitrary numerical scales.
Read more at the Teach.com blog: The Implications of Grading Without Zeros