It all comes down to this: “Be nice and tell the truth all the time…”

Do you ever have one of those moments where someone says something in just a certain way, at a certain time, and you realize "That's IT! That's what it's all about!"  You have this incredible epiphany that you just don't need to say anything further, because the statement that was just made is so perfect it cannot be improved upon?

I had that moment yesterday. It has left me humbled and awed.

Yesterday, I was speaking at an assembly of 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Sultan Middle School. For the past 30 minutes, I was sharing with them the presentation "Street Smarts or SocialSmarts" and was explaining how being socially smart can get you more of what you want, more easily, and less of what you don't want.

I had been exploring with the students the concept of getting parents "off your case" and getting them to treat the middle schoolers more like adults.  I asked for some shared comments from the audience on how they thought they could accomplish this.  Some of the responses I got were, "Do what parents ask you to do," or "don't give them attitude when they talk to you," and other similar responses. I thought I had just exhausted the question when I noticed there was a young student in the middle of the bleachers to my left.  (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:

The unforseen impact of online “friendships”

I was speaking for a group yesterday on the topic of "Overcoming Failure to Educate," and afterwards one of the audience members came up to me and shared a story that really drove home a point that I'm guessing many of us really don't think about: be careful who you "friend."

Now, I'm sure most of us are conscious of certain types of people who may request online friendship and we accept/ignore them based on our own internal radar. But let me tell you this story and see if it doesn't impact your thinking a bit.

It seems a teen was applying for a job as security guard for the local Port Authority.  He was a high school graduate, decent kid, kept himself out of trouble.  Apparently a good candidate by all reason. During the interview, he was asked by the recruiter if he had ever been incarcerated or if  any of his friends had been or were presently.  (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:

You can’t teach them if they’re not paying attention…

Yes, this is a basic statement and will likely cause several "yeah, duh" reactions, but it's surprising how overlooked this simple truth really is.  When we read about the factors influencing education, we hear so much about curriculum - whether there should be national standards or not, should there be more emphasis on STEM, etc. Or, funding -- there is a never-ending litany of schools/districts/states talking about how there isn't enough money to do what needs to be done.  Classroom size is another oft-debated topic -- our classrooms are still "over-crowded" yet on average they have been getting consistently smaller over the last 30 years.  Or how about charter schools are the better way to educate our children?

The one thing that gets VERY little attention, however, and has, frankly the biggest impact on education is student behavior. All of the above things I just mentioned are directly affected, for good or for bad, by how students conduct themselves in the classroom, yet this is virtually never addressed in any high-level discussions on how to improve education!

I know it's a problem, both from my direct experience in the classroom as well as from discussions and feedback from teachers and administrators. Take, for example, this comment on a recent posting of mine. Steve wrote (more…)

Did you like this? Share it: