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Common sense a prerequisite for brilliance

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Do high standardized test scores assure success?

Many highly-accomplished people had far from perfect scores on the SAT test. Some struggled to get through college and others dropped out. With these results, there must be more to success than academic brilliance.

Granted, technological advances have made academic knowledge, especially in math and the sciences, more important. However, common sense is just as vital as it was fifty years ago. Sadly, many parents have become so focused on academic knowledge and fame that common sense has fallen by the wayside.

Common sense is something most of us understand intuitively, but is difficult to define. It is a combination of wisdom and self-discipline.

According to Wordnik wisdom is, “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Wisdom is not something that can be found in a textbook, taught in a classroom, or downloaded from the Internet. It is not tested through standardized tests like the SAT, MCAT, or GRE. Instead it is something that comes with exposure and experience.

The same dictionary defines self-discipline as, “Training and control of one’s conduct.” Self-discipline is generally modeled and taught at home through structure, responsibility, consequences, and praise.

Before the age of helicopter parents, most kids developed common sense as part of everyday life. Children were given considerable responsibility. Parents set expectations and there were consequences for poor choices. Only the winners received trophies. Through the school of hard knocks kids gradually learned how to present ideas, communicate with others, and alert people of delays. They came to understand the importance of punctuality and how to diplomatically address problems.

Now many parents are so worried about the “perfect” D1 sports program, landing a lead movie role, etc. that they do too much of their kids. It is often better to set general extra-curricular involvement requirements and establish minimum effort expectations rather than micromanage.

Finally, it is important for children to take responsibility for their actions. If a child is going to be late, he/she should notify the adult in charge. When a child damages property, he/she needs to earn money for the repair. And when a child performs poorly on a test, he/she needs to get a poor grade rather than have his/her parent negotiate with the principal.

Stepping out of the micromanagement role is challenging. However, it is easier once we realize our children need an environment that fosters common sense to become truly brilliant.

These Social Media Apps Are Causing Trouble In Schools

The Huffington Post – Staff Writer

“How certain apps become popular with kids is a bit of a mystery. The best ones mix all the stuff tweens and teens love ― gossiping, hanging out, clowning around, and meeting other kids ― with an X factor that makes them go viral. Once an app gains critical mass (like, when every kid in school is on it), that’s when the real fun begins. But that’s where things can go wrong, too.”(more)

Teens ‘rebelling against social media’, say headteachers

BBC – Emma Thelwell

“Almost two-thirds of schoolchildren would not mind if social media had never been invented, research suggests. A survey of almost 5,000 students, mainly aged between 14 and 16, found a growing backlash against social media – with even more pupils (71%) admitting to taking digital detoxes to escape it. Benenden, an independent girls boarding school in Kent, told BBC News that its pupils set up a three-day “phone-fast”. Some girls found fears of being offline were replaced by feelings of relief.”(more)

Well-adjusted or only peer socialized?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Over the past fifty years what Americans believe makes a child well-adjusted has changed. Today many parents think a youngster is well-balanced if he/she interacts easily with his/her peers. Even though this type of social interaction is important, it is only part of what is necessary for a child to be happy, secure, and successful.

Children need to know they are loved and must have daily attention and socialization. Even though our society prioritizes peer socialization, it is equally important for kids to learn how to interact with people who are older and younger, of different socio-economic backgrounds, and from other cultures. It is also important that our children have open dialog with people who have different political viewpoints, interests, and careers.

Providing broad socialization does not have to be an expensive or time consuming process. Every community has people with diverse talents, passions, and interests and almost all areas have people from different cultures and of different ages. Rather than seeking safety in people who are similar, parents can reach out to those who are distinctive and include them in family events and social gatherings. This step allows their children to experience uncommon worldviews and cultural perspectives and have exposure to new career options, hobbies, and sports.

Sometimes we forget that emotional development is tied to physical well-being. To make matters more challenging, our lives are so busy that we overlook these physical necessities. Well-adjusted children need adequate sleep and exercise and need to eat well-balanced diets that include ample unrefined and minimally processed fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, and grains. There are many websites that include recipes for quick, healthy options and fast food restaurants that provide fresh, wholesome choices.

We have less experience monitoring how our children are progressing beyond peer to peer socialization. As a result, it will likely take a conscious effort to make sure development is on schedule. Observation is often an effective tool. Do our kids actively engage adults in meaningful dialog in a broad range of subjects? How do they respond when someone broaches a topic which is new to them? Are they able to diplomatically disagree? Do they take the opinions of adults at face value or are they able to listen and form their own opinions? Have they developed new sports, art, or community interests?

Once a parent starts monitoring a broader range of emotional and physical components, they will have a good idea if their child is well-adjusted.

Social and emotional learning appears to provide benefits that last

Ed Source – Jane Meredith Adams

“A new review of studies from around the world found that students who were taught positive social skills at school reported higher levels of those skills months and even years afterward, compared to their peers who were not taught those skills. The long-term benefits of social and emotional learning appeared regardless of the students’ economic or racial background or the rural, suburban or city location of the school, according to the meta-analysis published this month in the journal Child Development. Social and emotional learning is an organized approach to teaching students personal skills, including how to identify emotions, empathize with others and resolve conflicts.”(more)

Pupils need internet lessons to thrive online, say Lords

BBC – Judith Burns

“Learning to survive in a world dominated by the internet should be as important for children as reading and writing, says a House of Lords report. Lessons about online responsibilities, risks and acceptable behaviour should be mandatory in all UK schools, the Lords Communications Committee argues. The internet is “hugely beneficial” but children need awareness of its hazards, said committee chairman Lord Best. Industry leaders said education was key to keeping children safe online. The Lords report builds on findings by the Children’s Commissioner for England in January that the internet is not designed for children, despite them being the biggest users by age group. “Children inhabit a world in which every aspect of their lives is mediated through technology: from health to education, from socialising to entertainment. “Yet the recognition that children have different needs to those of adults has not yet been fully accepted in the online world,” say the Lords.”(more)