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Nurture as important as nature for success

Japan Times – Noah Smith

“The question of nature versus nurture is an important one, but also an incredibly delicate one. How much of the disparities we see in society are fueled by a lack of good education, social influences and role models, and how much are due to natural ability? Given that people in advanced countries spend multiple decades of their life in school, this is an important question.”(more)

Parent Engagement in the Digital Age

Edutopia – Emelina Minero

“In school districts around the country, handwritten notes, calls home, and face-to-face meetings are rapidly ceding ground to new technologies that better meet the needs of parents and schools. According to a 2016 report, there’s been a steep drop in the number of parents who believe that more intimate forms of communication—face-to-face meetings with teachers, for example—are the most effective means to convey important information about students. The same study found a growing acceptance of digital methods.”(more)

Family Engagement Key to School Choice Efforts Succeeding; New Report Finds Promising Signs in 18 Cities

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“Family engagement is key to getting education reform and school choice right, panelists said Tuesday at an event in Washington. “There is so much goodwill around the [education reform] strategies that are being deployed,” but leaders are often charging forward and missing opportunities to engage families and community leaders, said Robin Lake, director of the Center for Reinventing Public Education, an education research center at the University of Washington.”(more)

Love and communication important during teen years

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Parents and teenagers live in different worlds with different pressures and perspectives, so communication between adolescents and parents can be strained. Here are a few strategies you can use to minimize conflicts during this challenging time.

Use humor.
Humor is an effective communication tool, because it breaks down barriers and commands attention. Disguised as fun, humor can be used to teach, introduce new ideas, share beliefs, and implant knowledge.

Listen.
Perspective and practice make a big difference. The way an adult perceives a problem is often very different from the way a teen views the same issue. What seems like a life catastrophe to 16-year-old may seem insignificant to a 40-year-old.

As a result, teenagers often have things to say to adults, but get frustrated because they do not feel like they can express their concerns and feelings. Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who was born in the 1st Century, might well have been instructing 21st Century parents when he said, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Keep it short.
Teens are perceptive and smart, so a few words go a long way. No one wants to feel like they are being lectured, so it is best to say it once.

Compliment.
The way we speak can often result in the outcomes we are trying to avoid. Comments and instructions couched in negative language, with excessive use of words like “don’t”, “never”, and “no” may lead to poor behavior. Instead try to focus on the positive things your teen does.

Prepare and Allow.
It is easy to view your kids as younger than they are. As teens age, they need more responsibility. Adults who continually enforce rules that do not acknowledge demonstrated capacity for independent and responsible behavior, can alienate teens.

Wait.
If it isn’t an immediate health or safety issue, it is sometimes better to wait for the right moment to discuss a problem rather than force a discussion at a poor time.

Connect.
Your kids internalize and interpret everything you do. They read your face, posture, voice, and stance. They subconsciously search for physical cues to what you really feel about them. Make sure they know they are loved, respected, and appreciated.

Even though the transition from child to adult can be challenging, love and open communication can make the journey easier for everyone.

‘Robin Hood effects’ on motivation in math

Science Daily – Staff Writer

” Students from families with little interest in math benefit more from a school intervention program that aims at increasing math motivation than do students whose parents regard math as important. A study indicates the intervention program has a “Robin Hood effect” which reduces the “motivational gap” between students from different family backgrounds because new information about the importance of math is made accessible to underprivileged students.”(more)

Moms Of Teens Can Benefit From Social Support, Just Like New Moms

KQED News Mind/Shift – Juli Fraga

“Raising children is a task that requires extensive “on-the-job” training, which is why many women rely on new moms groups for parenting support and guidance. Often, however, as the kids get older, the mothers’ friendships fall by the wayside. Now, new research indicates that social support isn’t just valuable for mothers of young children, it’s beneficial for moms of teens, too. The study, published this spring in the journal Family Process, suggests that these support networks may help mothers develop closer relationships with their teens.”(more)