(203) 453-5067 Laura@HandleEducation.com

Try Some PIE!

Failing to plan is planning to fail.  How many times do well-intended goals fail? How many  keep their New Year’s resolutions beyond the first week or the first month? How often do study hours evaporate? How many reports are late? How many diets fail? Countless examples demonstrate that despite the best of intentions, planning alone provides insufficient incentive to achieve a goal. Successful planning involves three stages. Following these steps can help someone attain almost any goal:PIE.  Look below for a practical implementation for a study plan. PLAN: Before new students enroll in my test preparation program I send out questionnaire. I ask them to complete and submit it prior to their first session. The questions on it include the student’s desired score on the exam (ACT or SAT). The students usually have an easy answer to this.  But then the questions require more thinking, as I ask HOW they will achieve their goals. HOw much time will they devote to their task? When will they fit it into their schedule? Once they respond, they move to the next step. I ask them to IMAGINE: Once they have considered their tentative study methods and time, they must think about the obstacles that they may face. Obstacles ALWAYS exist, so envisioning them is  crucial step to learning how to overcome them. According to psychologist Gabriele Oettingen, author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside The New Science Of Motivation, facing obstacles is important. For example, if a student cites social media as a distraction, he can face the challenge by shutting off a smartphone, or changing the setting to “Do not Disturb” during scheduled study… Read More »

Student Engagement: Tips for any Level

  Student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education. It is the essential ingredient for learning to occur. Student engagement is the province of every classroom from pre-kindergarten through graduate school. Obviously, the first step a teacher must take to assure that learning occurs is to provide a safe, orderly environment. In working with educators at levels from pre-school through college, I offer three essential components of classroom management they must develop before they begin to think about presenting content instruction: Caring, Rules, Practice Caring: A truism in education states,“Students don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” So HOW do students know a teacher cares? A first step is learning each student’s name as soon as possible, optimally at the first meeting. Taking the time and effort to identify each student yields benefits for the future. Teachers can utilize seating charts and a variety of mnemonic strategies to help them accomplish name recognition as soon as possible. Students are people, too!  Engage the students in brief but meaningful written or oral discussions about their interests and activities. These types of interactions are known as non-contingent. This means that the students need not perform a particular task or activity to receive attention from the teacher. These interactions can occur before or after class, in hallways, at lunch, at recess, etc.  Some examples: What’s your favorite pastime? What was the best thing you did over the… Read More »

Fostering Intrinsic Motivation-Allowing Choice

    In a previous blog post, I described the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Research has demonstrated that external rewards are ineffective for long-term positive results whether in the academic realm or the workplace. But internal goals can boost the ability to achieve. As early as fifty years ago, James Coleman,from Johns Hopkins University, found that students’ attitudes regarding the amount of  control they had over their lives directly affected their achievement. Fast forward to the present, and this concept of self determination has not yet been fully integrated into our educational system.  According to a recent article in Educational Leadership, high school dropouts often feel that external forces control their lives: They are “buffeted by fate.”  One important element in fostering a sense of control is CHOICE. Bryan Goodwin cites a meta-analysis form 2012: ” . . . feeling in control of one’s life, combined with academic self-efficacy and goal orientation, accounted for roughly 20% of the variance in university students’ grade point average.”  So, how can teachers help students take control of their learning? They can provide choice in their classrooms. Teachers can empower their students in active learning by allowing them to participate in their education. Rather than engaging in  authoritarian behavior, in which students have no options, authoritative teachers provide opportunities that engender a love of larding.  These choices can range from the  electives they choose to the order in which  students complete assignments to the types and scope of projects they will submit. Even small choices can affect students’ attitudes. Helping students learn that they have control over their lives is one of the most valuable lessons for school and… Read More »

Get a “Handle” on Learning with Active Reading.

    Reading comprehension is essential for academic and professional success. Reading can be  as relaxing or stimulating as the subject the reader chooses.  However, in order to study effectively, a reader must employ certain strategies.  This process of becoming immersed in reading material in order to fully comprehend and absorb the information is called “active reading.”  Learners benefit from reading with a purpose; active reading engages mindfulness and provides the strategies that identify the intention. Once a learner internalizes the process, it can yield significant rewards. According to an article in Edutopia, “Adults forget all that they do while reading. We are predicting, making connections, contextualizing, critiquing, and already plotting how we might use any new insights or information. . . .teachers need to train students in each of these skills, and begin to do so early on.”  Teachers can incorporate these strategies in the classroom to equip their students with effective learning techniques. The emphasis here is on the “active” portion of the process. Writing assists learning, so prefer marks like brackets or symbols or words on the material rather than simple highlighting. Steps in the Active Reading Process- 1) Pose questions that will aid learning. When finding the answers in the text, mark them with words or symbols. Questions: Why am I reading this? What do I already know about this topic? What am I trying to learn? What does this mean? Why is this important? How and why questions are particularly helpful, as they require more detailed explanations. 2) Pay particular attention to the beginning and end of the pages. 3) Paraphrase the material in short sentences.… Read More »

The “Secret” of Raising Successful Children

  If someone were to ask which personal characteristics can predict a child’s happiness and satisfaction when he was an adult, what would you respond?  Would you consider intelligence, creativity, athletic ability, or some other quality?  Dr. Leonard Sax, MD, PhD, has posed that question in his new book, The Collapse of Parenting.  The answer, based on long term scientific studies, is none of those qualities.  Rather, it’s self-control. During the previous century, psychologists discovered that personality has five dimensions: conscientiousness, openness, extroversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability.  Of these five traits, the one that most often correlates with happiness, wealth, and life satisfaction is conscientiousness.  Dr. Sax states, “Individuals who are more conscientious earn and save more money, even after researchers adjust for intelligence, race, ethnicity, and education. . . , (they) are also significantly happier than individuals who are less conscientious, and they are substantially more satisfied with their lives..” (119) Research studies have also found that these individuals are less likes to suffer obesity or Alzheimer’s. Is self-control genetic, or can parents instill this quality into their children?  The answer: “Conscientious is not hardwired. It is not determined at birth. It is something you can influence. It is something you can change.” (125) Parents can teach self control to young children as well as teens.  In order to do so, they must become more authoritative. They need to act like what they are– parents, not friends! They need to establish firm guidelines. Their imperative is “to implement a simple program that builds self control . . . Put your toys away after you play with them. No cell phone… 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.