(203) 453-5067 Laura@HandleEducation.com

Why all the UPTALK?

  I’m sensitive to language, both oral and written. When someone utters a grammatical faux  pas or malapropism, I try hard not to make a face, even though I cringe inwardly.  So, I am miffed by the content barrage of uptalk everywhere I turn. For the uninitiated, let me explain the term.  An article in Psychology Today, by Hank Davis, defined it as follows: “Uptalk. That ever-growing tendency to end statements with upward inflections to make them sound like questions. Like you’re not quite sure what you’re saying is true. Or clear. Or will be acceptable to your audience. To suggest that you’re willing to back down, or restate your point, or change your viewpoint altogether if your listeners don’t nod their approval.” When we learned sentence structure in our early elementary school years, we associated different sentence types with their respective punctuation marks and inflections. Declarative sentences, those that convey a statement, wish or desire, end in periods, and a person’s voice lowers at the end of that type of sentence. For example, “Today, I bring you the latest news.” This sentence should be declared with assurance and a lowered inflection. Interrogative sentences, on the other hand, are questions, and their punctuation is a question mark. In this case, a speaker’s voice ends with an upward inflection. “Televised news establishes linguistic norms for millions of people.” So, when news commentators use uptalk, are they reading tele-prompters filled with question marks?  (Now that deserves an upward inflection!) Every time someone utters a sentence in uptalk, he sounds tentative. And I use the male pronoun purposely, because although this phenomenon probably started with girls, it… Read More »

The Prodigy Myth

  Stories abound of individuals born with innate abilities whose talent astounds most mortal beings.  These include figures from a wide range of fields from the arts to natural sciences, mathematics, and sports: Michelangelo, DaVinci, Mozart, The Beatles, and Tiger Woods are just a very few examples.  Mozart starting performing classical music at the age of five. Ted Williams, the Boston Red Sox left fielder was nicknamed “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.” However, what most people fail to realize is that these “prodigies” displayed certain traits that may have caused them to appear innately blessed and effortlessly gifted. They had the opportunity to excel through persistent and extraordinary effort. Of course, few people would diminish Mozart’s musical abilities. However, they  should take into account that his family situation certainly contributed to his musical talent. According to Mozart.com, “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was tremendously lucky to have an experienced musician as a father with Leopold Mozart. Leopold immediately recognised the potential in Wolfgang. He dedicated his life to supporting his son’s talent.” The young Mozart had the interest, and his father oversaw many hours of deliberate practice. Centuries later, the quartet known as The Beatles acknowledged that their success came from sustained practice: “In Hamburg, we had to play for eight hours.” Furthermore, how many fans were aware that Michael Jordan, one of the most famous NBA players, did not make his high school basketball team? He was determined to succeed, so he put in many hours of practice to perfect his athletic skill, and the results were extraordinary. The lesson here is that effort is the key to success. Of course, having some talent… Read More »

If schools were permitted to have just one training, this is the one!

This training will help to raise test scores for your students, decrease discipline challenges, and improve classroom rapport. You will learn how to meet students where they are and lead them where they need to be, capture attention, and promote deeper learning.