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Math and me: Children who identify with math get higher scores – Staff Writer

“How strongly children identify with math (their math “self-concept”) can be used to predict how high they will score on a standardized test of math achievement, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington. The study, published in the October 2015 issue of the journal Learning and Instruction, is the first to demonstrate a link between students’ subconscious math self-concepts and their actual math achievement scores. The study also measured the strength of students’ stereotype that “math is for boys” and found that, for girls, the stronger this subconscious stereotype, the weaker the individual child’s math self-concept.”(more)

Why do kids need to learn ‘soft skills’? – W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP

“In today’s global economic climate, employment and productivity are as dependent on academic and technical skills as they are soft skills. What are soft skills? Soft skills are sometimes referred to as “people skills,” “non-cognitive skills,” or “emotional intelligence”, but encompasses more than any one of those names implies…the top five soft skills youth need to develop to improve workforce success include: “social skills, communication, high-order thinking (problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making), self-control, and positive self-concept.”…Although research on how soft skills translates to better employment outlook is still needed, parents can still teach soft skills to children in developmentally-appropriate ways:”(more)

Men Totally Overestimate Their Math Skills And It May Explain The STEM Gender Gap

The Huffington Post – Carolyn Gregoire

“Men significantly outnumber women in technology and science-related professions — but it’s not because they’re more skilled in those areas. New research suggests that the answer may lie not in men’s skills or interests, but rather in the beliefs they hold about their abilities to do the complicated mathematics central to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Researchers from Washington State University found that men tend to significantly overestimate their math abilities, while women are generally more accurate in their self-assessments.”(more)

Are You a Strengths-Based Parent?

The Huffington Post – Michelle McQuaid

“When it comes to parenting your kids do you spend most of your time pointing out what they’re doing wrong or what they’re doing right? If you’re like most time poor parents the chances are you’re quicker at identifying the things your kids need to improve upon, but is this the best way to raise kids who are resilient and able to cope with stress? “Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes and qualities in their children,” explained Professor Lea Waters from Melbourne University…”By knowing and developing a child’s skills, my research has found children are able to react positively to stress and minimize the likelihood that they will resort to avoidance or aggressive coping responses.”…While that may all sound like common sense, Professor Waters pointed out that because our brains are wired with a negativity bias making us more likely to see what’s going wrong, before we see what’s going right, that like any new skill looking for the strengths in our children initially requires some deliberate practice.”(more)

How to Raise Brave Girls

The Huffington Post – Margie Warrell

“Despite our daughters doing better at school and university relative to our sons, once they get into the workplace, women are less confident, more cautious and less likely to: pursue stretch roles; challenge authority; negotiate salary or conditions; promote themselves or ask for a promotion. All of these things require risk in some way — risk of rejection, criticism, looking foolish, falling short or outright failure. Which is why giving your daughter a gentle push outside her comfort zone can sometimes be the most loving thing you can do for her, because it helps her to realize she can do more than she think while building self-confidence to handle bigger challenges.”(more)

Success builds self-esteem

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Low-self esteem has been blamed for many problems facing US youth including substance abuse and poor academic performance. In response to these claims, an industry has sprung up to make sure US kids think about themselves in positive ways. In fact, if you type “self-esteem children” into Google almost 17 million matches are produced.


Psychologists split self-esteem into two categories, earned and global. Nina Shokrali Rees, Head of the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, says earned self-esteem is based on the premise that achievement comes first and self-esteem follows. Global self-esteem maintains that self-esteem must come first and achievement will follow.


Until about 30 years ago, earned self-esteem was prevalent in the US. Now global self-esteem has become popular in educational circles, the media and in parenting philosophies.


According to Rees, earned self-esteem needs no nurturing. It will develop almost naturally as young people make worthwhile accomplishments.


Global self-esteem, on the other hand, requires active intervention on the part of teachers, parents, and other authority figures. It involves “tricking” kids into thinking that everything they do is praiseworthy. Giving all children who play soccer trophies, not correcting a child when he/she colors outside the lines and finding a medical diagnosis that allows a “normal” child an excuse not to pay attention in class all fall into the global self-esteem category.


Any intelligent kid sees through the hypocrisy of this approach. Many decide they will get similar feedback regardless of what they do and take the easy (lazy) way out.


In 1986, a group of California state legislators set up the California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility to prove low self-esteem was the root cause of a number of social and economic problems. Surprisingly, the task force found almost no connection between self-esteem and any of the behaviors they studied.


By the time the results were released, the global self-esteem movement was well underway with educators, psychologists and parents. Since this movement began, US academic performance has dropped in international comparisons and young people have continued to commit crimes and abuse drugs.


So it looks like it is time to return to what works, allowing children to build self-worth by accomplishment. This not only encourages a strong work ethic, but also avoids deception. Most importantly, it allows adults to set an example for what is required for success and happiness.