SMART PARENTING and not GOOD OR BAD PARENTING

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CREATE A CONSISTENT SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH: who can decide that? A question that plagues all parents, first timers more, as to whether they are bringing up their children the right way. Also the pre given fact that all parents want to become the best parents, no doubt on that.

A lot has been written about ‘Good and bad parenting’ but what I list here is post spending many years of being in contact with children across the spectrum. What I am talking here is about Smart parenting

Whatever your style of parenting may be, the bottom line is – you all want your children to be happy, healthy and successful. You all also know that one shoe doesn’t fit all

Here are my 5 golden tips

  1. Listen to YOUR child for :
  • Each child is wired differently
  • All seek acceptance and do not like to be compared
  • All want to be valued as individuals.

Listening means that you value his/her views even though you may not agree with some/many/all of them. This alone give the child a sense of worth and he feels comfortable airing his thoughts and views without the fear of admonishment. Remember- Do not preach.

  1. Give positive reinforcements
  • Tell them that their opinions matter
  • Praise / award them for their views and thoughts

Positive stimulus will result into positive response

  1. Encourage healthy discussions
  • Hear them speak with an open mind
  • It’s OK to change your perception/decision.
  • Respect the views of others

Discussions allow for opening of the mind to other ideas and the fact that there could be other perceptions that you had not thought about.

  1. Agree to Disagree
  • Set guidelines like a ‘time out’
  • Create an environment of constructive discussion.
  • Encourage brainstorming.
  • Indicate that you may not always be correct

Two entirely different thoughts may be having some value. Constructive feedback does wonders and helps the mind to evolve to another level. Thinking skills get honed along with listening skills

  1. First deserve then desire
  • Get them to struggle
  • Create an unpredictable environment
  • Nothing comes easy in life

They need to understand the fact that much as you love them, you will ensure contribution. Unless effort has been put in the right measure the end result would vary, and that

  • It’s alright to fail
  • Not every situation will emerge to your satisfaction
  • Accept failure, identify mistakes and move on.
  • There is great learning in failure.

Adversity is a stepping stone to greater success. It is the difficult times that bring out the best. A human beings’ basic instinct is to survive. Pick up success stories from real life experiences, yours and of other known people. Hope you all enjoy reading and connecting with it.

Would be happy to answer questions from my readers.

 

 

 

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Integrated Curriculum -The way to go!

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I have been reading a lot on what integration of curriculum means in the context of the learner and the educator and have also been at the head of driving such a curriculum as a school Principal.
In this journey I have realized that there are various angles from which integration can be viewed. For starters I would like to focus on the change that is required in the Perception of the educator , the learner and the parent.

For that to happen I will write a little about the subject centered traditional approach towards curriculum progress and the multidisciplinary, cross-disciplinary integrated curriculum.

I hope this  will be useful and give clarity to all who read this blog

 SEPARATE SUBJECT CURRICULUM: is that each content area is distinct in its knowledge base and its outreach. The skills, attitudes and values acquired also vary. Subjects are taught with emphasis on theory thus enabling students to gain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of individual subject effectively.

On the other hand INTEGRATED CURRICULUM talks of the single-minded deliberate application of methodologies by way of different hands on strategies and seamless connect with more than one subject for the creation of the curriculum.

It has been widely accepted that the Integrated Curriculum approach as progressive and viable in today’s dynamic environment and increase in the Spirit of Inquiry …the WHY of everything.

At a personal level, having implemented integrated approach, the issue that needs to be addressed is to provide suitable professional development to the educators, for their learning has come from a subject centered curriculum. This needs to be an ongoing activity, with on the go topics as samples, post which the educator would need to pick up topics to integrate.

HOW INTEGRATION WORKS:

  • It enables creation of a cross curricula connect. For example taking a theme let’s say ‘Nature’, all subjects such as English (by way of Reading a passage on the theme and answering questions on them) Math) by taking a concept of Graphic representation on species of plants and animals), Science (by talking about the ecosystem / environment) Technology (by using tools to summarize analysis) History and Art (by depicting evolution). This way we can also simultaneously move from STEM to STEAM.
  • It increases student initiative and consequently higher levels of retention
  • Gives them the understanding of the ‘cause and effect’ of any activity and that nothing works in isolation. Example, A place with cold weather conditions will require (Geography ) insulated housing, clothes food (Science) the logistics of cost (Math) communication to the population about the changing temperatures (English and technology) create scenes for better understanding (Art)

Finally with this approach the students are also able to practice multiple times their  Reading and Comprehension skills without even realizing that the objective along with content learning is  also the development of these skills.

Set Goals to win in life

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“Half the battle is won if the way towards  achieving something is well defined and structured”

Some simple steps suggested are:

  • Be Specific– think with a great deal of focus and put in points what you goals are!
  • Allow yourself to Measure your achievement ..where have you reached in your journey towards achieving the goal
  • Its all good to dream high and big but you must set goals that are Attainable and Achievable . they must be something that you are capable of reaching
  • What is the Relevance of these goals in your life. Are they important to your existence? Are they relevant to your lifestyle? Will their attainment move you up your planned path?
  • How long have you given to yourself to achieve the goal.Have you set yourself any Time limit ?Also ensure

These are some of the SMART questions that you need to ask yourself before you set targets .Having a concrete plan of action leads to building of self confidence , be it a student or an adult. It is only the scope that changes. the actual way forward is the same for each and every one of us . There are bound to be hurdles in your path. Understanding and accepting them as challenges the first step towards achieving them .

Happy goal setting and achieving !!!!

Effective Parent teacher Communication- A Two Way Approach

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Tips for teachers :

1.”Do not communicate only to complain but do give some positive strokes to your communication” there is some inherent good in every child

2.As a child centric facilitator always keeps in mind the importance of the communication as it impacts the home environment where the child  faces the parents on reaching home after the end of his day at school.When communicating with parents, consider your remarks in relation to the three categories that influence how parents participate.

  • Academics and other school activities.
  • Social interaction and accomplishments
  • The impact on the child.and how parents can help at home with their child’s learning

3. Try to understand the reasons for the child’s behaviour by getting  to know the background and analyse before jumping the proverbial gun.

  1. Be suggestive in your communication rather than authoritative .
  2. Respect the individuality of the child. Refrain tarring everyone with the same brush….in other work be different and deal one on one . Every child is different and responds differently to any given stimulus. Convey your concerns accordingly
  3. Initiate communication after a great deal of thought and avoid passing generic off the cuff comments as it puts off the parent and conveys casualness
  4. Be consistent on your communication – parents appreciate on going feed backs.
  5. Follow up is a must within in the given timelines- setting the ball rolling and catching up on measures take thereafter speaks of the teachers sincerity and keenness to solve related child issues.
  6. Be gentle yet firm and convey with conviction and yet be flexible to change your opinion after the interaction if required…you may not always be right.

Finally start your communication on a positive note……it lowers guards and makes the parent moe open to suggestions.

Tips for parents:

  1. Communicate appropriately to the teachers issues that are of concern to you at the beginning of the session…your child is in his/ her care for almost half the day.
  2. Maintain cordiality in the communication by respecting the teachers time and personal space.
  3. Words of genuine encouragement / praise work for the teachers as well as they do for the children.
  4. Be involved but refrain from going overboard. Very rarely will you find a teacher not being involved in your child’s growth and development.
  5. Trust the teachers for her inputs and yet be firm if convinced otherwise and be transparent- it is your child that is important and is very observant of the signals that he/ she absorbs.
  6. Share the child’s weaknesses and strengths both as you perceive them . It aids in the collaboration between the teacher’s agenda and lesson plans with the parent so that the skills being introduced in the classroom are being reinforced in the home environment.

Finally I would like to suggest some key words for effective parent teacher conferences:

  • Consistency
  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Transparency
  • Empathy

How we can try to become good parents….it’s no mean task.

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Being a parent and a mentor to my own children and my students have led me to pen down my thoughts on how one can “TRY to become a good parent”.

1.Read to them….their horizons widen when you do.
2.Display affection….like a hug, a cuddle or two…it makes their day
3.Listen to your children …..it means the world to them
4.Set rituals like having dinner together , praying at bedtime, share the days experiences etc
5.Give them their space….it’s,good not to know everything
6.Let them make mistakes ….and learn from them.
7.Urge them to keep trying….making mistakes means they are doing just that…encourage them not to give up. Let them realise that you need to work for everything and nothing comes easy in life.
8.Do not preach….they will switch off.
9.Set concrete targets/ goals before them…they learn better that way.
10.Teach them to care. Set examples . They lean best by observation.
11.Do not over parent…..ease them into taking age appropriate tasks
12.Above all set some non negotiables.They will emerge and understand when you say and mean no.
Here’s to bringing up happy children

Bullying in schools

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   What is bullying? Is it different from teasing? Teasing is done to irritate or provoke another person with constant comments and barbs. Bullying, on the other hand, is an imbalance of power. The distinct difference is that bullied students are unable to defend themselves, they are either insecure or lack the confidence to defend themselves against someone who they consider more powerful. It occurs in different forms such as threats, teasing, name calling, excluding, preventing others from going where they want or doing what they want, pushing, hitting, and all forms of physical violence It is one of the major school safety problems. Bullying affects students’ sense of security.

Bullying mostly occurs at school. It can occur in the following forms:

• Sexual harassment (e.g. Sexual abuse involving unwanted physical contact);

• Ridiculing and ostracizing

• Ragging(which of late has been strictly banned) Children subjected to bullying often suffer it for they are;

• Afraid of Retaliation.

• Fear that they would not be believed,

• Not confident that anything would change as a result,

• Think that their parents’ or teacher’s advice would make the problem worse,

• Afraid that people will call them tattlers   The students who witness feel the same. They all agree that bullying is wrong, but rarely intervene on behalf of the victim. They fear that they could become the next target.  In any bullying act, there is a victim, the ringleader, assistant bullies (they join in), enforcers (they provide an audience or laugh with or encourage the bully), outsiders (they stay away or take no sides), and defenders (they step in, stick up for or comfort the victim).   Bullying Behaviour There are some common symptoms despite country and cultural differences,  

• Bullying more often takes place at school.

• Girls tend to bully girls, while boys bully both boys and girls.

• Consistently, studies indicate that boys are more likely to bully than girls.

• Bullies often do not operate alone. Bullying does not end in elementary school. Middle school seems to provide ample opportunities for bullying, although at lesser rates. The same is true of the beginning years of high school.

• It continues up till early adolescent period of both boys and girls.  How can we prevent bullying  

• Keep communication channels open- Parents, school faculty and other adults should listen to the children and be available to talk to them.

• Be alert to symptoms of strange behaviour: as parents, teachers and adults you need to closely watch symptoms of withdrawal, disinterest or unwillingness to go to school and fear among children.

• Teach children to respect others : “Do unto others as you would have others to do unto you” sums it all up • Set school policies and rules : have a school mission statement “treat all with respect”….reward students who show respect for peers and adults

• Establish a clear reporting system for any violations.

• Have house meetings /classroom meetings(circle time) wherein good behaviour is appreciated and speak to the students about their conscience during such meetings. Talk about some case studies and get them to analyse behaviour.

• Monitor student’s body language and observe the reaction post discussion. Do a thorough follow up and help the students

• Form an anti bullying club and encourage students to confide in council members. Complete confidentiality should be maintained  

• The school counselor to be actively involved In all to sum up….. Bullying in schools can be prevented or at least marginalized initially and done away with completely if there is consistency in the approach.