The stimulated mind of a child: The impact of environmental factors on behaviour.

A number of students are referred to me exhibiting signs related to behavioural and emotional challenges. More times than not, I will see clients who are moderate to severe in their behaviours. So we’re talking about students who are involved in disruptive behaviours or illicit activities, atypical behaviours, and consistent violators of school policies. To be more specific, these are children who were referred to the multidisciplinary team, for the following issues at school and at home:

  • verbally abusive
  • fighting with fist and weapons
  • uncontrollable sudden outbursts of anger
  • vandalism
  • constant stealing
  • excessive lying
  • drugs and alcohol abuse etc.

Generally, I will begin with a Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA) on the student.  This will include a number of observations, interviews with teachers, parents and the student, along with checking reports from other stakeholders.  The objective is to get as much information as possible.

Over the years I have come to notice that behavioural or emotional challenges do not always exist in isolation (in this case only in one particular setting), but, sometimes their expressions do.

Some years ago, after graduate school, as I was starting off as a psychologist working with children with emotional and behavioural disorders, at the time I did not realise there was so much more I had to learn.  I remember taking the approach that clients will be consistent in their behaviours, regardless of the environment they were placed in. But human beings are not like programmed robots.  For instance, if we install software on our laptops, then regardless of where we are in the world, it should work the same.  So, if I take my laptop to Europe, Africa, United States or the Caribbean, when the icon for Microsoft Office Word is clicked, the program will open.  People should be the same, right?  No!  This approach will be so wrong.

Behaviour is affected biochemically, but environmental factors (or lack of specific ones) around us, also influences our reactions or expressions.

It is therefore very important, that to reduce or to completely eradicate an unwanted behaviour, we look at things which maybe contributing as fuel to the behaviour.  When this is identified, we should manipulate it to modify the behaviour.

Now, the understanding that children are affected by their environment has vital importance on the way they learn as well. For this reason, as an educational psychologist working with teachers and students, I encourage teachers to create an environment with things that acts as positive stimuli. These positive stimuli may include:

  • posters,
  • a library,
  • multimedia,
  • adequate space for group work and other social interactions,
  • proper lighting and temperature,
  • and a reasonably outfitted soundproofed room etc.

What are some additional features you believe can be used to act as positive stimuli to our children learning?

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6 Powerful Habits For Success: Achieve Your Goals, Live That Dream And Add More Meaning To Your Life.

The objective of this book is to assist you to develop habits that promote success in your life. You will be able to now condition your mind and put together strategies to make you successful.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Life with Expectations
Chapter 2: History of the Problem
Chapter 3: Preparing For Action
Chapter 4: Six (6) Habits of Successful People
Chapter 5: How To Keep Going When Forming Useful Habits Get Tough.

I Challenge You To Be Better.: Knowing Yourself, Becoming A Friend Of Journaling & Self Evaluation.

I believe that in spite of all that is going on in the world; in your community, in your home for instance, it is possible for you to live a more meaningful life.
Whatever you choose to do in your life that is positive, can move from just being an idea in your head to becoming a reality.
So, what do you want for yourself? Do you want to become a better father or mother, student, athlete, business person or spiritually minded person for example.
I want you to read through this book and truly find value from the information that is placed within.
I challenge you to be better because I know you can.

6 Tips to Rule the Art of Conversation

How to talk to anybody, anywhere, anytime

The art of conversation is a necessary skill for almost everything in life. Conversations introduce you to people, important people who could be your mentors, employers, employees, partners or friends. Without conversations as the foundation for those relationships, you’ll have a hard time building a social circle, starting a business or advancing your career.

Once a conversation gets going, you should have little problem maintaining that momentum—but for most of us, getting it started is the hardest part. Master these “talking points” to get (and keep) a conversation going:

1. Lead with a compliment.

Compliments are the best possible way to begin a conversation. Not only do they provide a perfect opening line and a possible door for discussion, they also make the person feel good about themselves. Starting the conversation off on a positive note is crucial to keep the conversation going.

Just remember, the more specific your compliment is, the better—for example, commenting that a person is well-dressed is nowhere near as satisfying or flattering as saying something like, “Your shoes are cute.” It’s concise, sincere and specific—and now you’ve opened the conversational door because your partner has something to talk about.

2. Embrace small talk.

Small talk is taboo to some people, and while it’s not the most fulfilling type of conversation, it is both functional and necessary. Small talk is what leads the way to deeper conversation, much in the way that a car must gradually accelerate to a certain speed rather than hitting 60 miles an hour instantaneously.

Small talk topics are easy to pull—you can talk about the event you’re attending, comment on a food or drink item, point something out about the venue, or if you’re desperate, you can talk about the weather. These are all shared experiences that anyone can relate to, so they can work for any individual.

3. Ask lots of questions.

If you want to move from small talk to real conversation, you have to look for any opportunity that leads you to change the subject. Don’t try to abruptly change gears and talk about something deep or substantial; instead, patiently wait for the opportunity to present itself.

Questions are conversational lubricant. Pay attention as much as you can to the conversation and use them to move it forward. You should be scouting the entire conversation for “tell me more” opportunities. Keep potential questions in the back of your mind. Try to be as specific and inquisitive as possible.

4. Be nice.

This should be obvious, but don’t neglect it. Your level of friendliness can make or break the receptiveness of the other party involved. Walk into the conversation with a big smile and open body language, and keep yourself open, receptive and smiling politely for as much of the conversation as you can.

Try not to cross your arms, appear distracted or let your eyes wander. Maintain eye contact when you can and go out of your way to show that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.

5. Let the other person do the talking.

This is another major point. If you go into a conversation and immediately begin dominating it with your own anecdotes, comments and explanations, the other person may immediately become disinterested. Instead, try to keep the focus on them as much as possible.

Utilizing frequent questions is a good strategy to this end. If you find that the conversation is dwindling, or if the person simply doesn’t respond well to questions, feel free to jump in yourself. Tell an amusing story or a personal anecdote—it may be exactly what the conversation needs to keep going.

6. Keep it light.

Try to keep the conversation as light and approachable as possible. If you immediately start complaining about your job or talking about what’s wrong with your life, people will want to avoid you. If you tell a joke or an amusing story, they’ll be far more likely to stay.

People tend to gravitate toward others with a positive attitude, so keep your conversational material positive. If you struggle with this, try memorizing a handful of good jokes or good stories to use when you meet new people.

These tips are written from a practical perspective, so they can be used in almost any environment, from a professional networking event to a bar or restaurant. The key is to get over your preconceived notions and hesitations and to embrace the reality of small talk. With a little practice and more confidence, you should have no problem starting a conversation with anybody, anywhere.

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/6-tips-to-rule-the-art-of-conversation#sthash.sLTCAGnm.dpuf

Parenting the modern child

Do you want to communicate with your children, have them listen to you or follow instructions easier? Millions of parents and teachers around the world are saying yes to this question. If you say yes too, then this podcast is for you.
We live in a world that is very much modern. There are so much we have available to us that can assist in making us effective. Parenting, in order to be effective today, must also be done using modern or up-to-date strategies. Listen to this podcast and learn some of them.
Remember to subscribe, like, and share this content if you think it was meaningful.

The Scientific 4-Step Process to Become World-Class at Anything

By Benjamin P. Hardy

If you want to become world-class at what you do, you must get to the point where it becomes unconscious and automatic.
IMAGE: Getty Images

Learning new things engages your prefrontal cortex, which operates via your working (i.e., short-term) memory. Your working memory is used for conscious decision-making and planning, directed at the attainment of your goals.

However, once you automatize a skill, it becomes subconscious; and thus, you free up by 90 percent your working memory, which allows higher-level functioning. For example, you can drive for minutes at a time without even thinking about driving.

In the context of learning and performance, automaticity allows you to apply and deepen your learning in novel and enhanced ways. Developing automaticity is the process of going from doing to being–empowering you to become an expert and innovator.

As Josh Waitzkin, author of The Art of Learning, has said, “Just as the yin-yang symbol possesses a kernel of light in the dark, and of dark in the light, creative leaps are grounded in a technical foundation.”

Here’s how it works.

1. Repetition!

Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality. –Earl Nightingale

The first step toward automaticity is repetitiously learning small sets or bits of information. If you’re learning a new language, it’s repeatedly hammering the same word types and roots. If you’re golfing, it’s practicing the same shot over and over.

However, automaticity goes beyond the initial point of mastery, to what has been called overlearning. To overlearn, you continue practicing and honing long after you know something inside-out.

Becoming grounded and proficient in the left-brained technical rules and skills frees up your right brain to creatively break or manipulate the rules.  As the Dali Lama has said, “Learn the rules well so you know how to break them properly.”

2. Find your zone and stay there as long as you can.

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.”―Richard Marcinko

The second step toward automaticity is making the practice or training progressively harder. If you’re at the gym, increase the weight and intensity. If you’re giving a speech, include elements outside your comfort zone.

The goal is making the task increasingly difficult until it’s too hard. Then you drop the difficulty back down slightly to stay near the zone or threshold of your current ability.

3. Add a time constraint.

The third step toward automaticity is making the training more difficult while adding a time restraint. Do the same activity (e.g., writing an article), but give yourself a shortened timeline to do it in. Your focus should be process, not outcome on this. Quality over quantity.

Adding a timeline forces you to work faster while at the same time it requires you to think about the time, which loads up your working memory (think Chopped on Food Network).

4. Load up your working memory with purposeful distractions.

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”–Sun Tzu

The final step toward automaticity is working/training with an increasing memory load. In other words, doing the task with greater levels of distraction. Math teachers leverage this strategy by having students learning an obscure fact and having them recall it immediately after completing a math problem.

Eventually, you can perform the activity in a flowlike state, where the external distractions and pressures no longer influence your unconscious ability to act.

Conclusion

Watching our 8-year-old foster son learn how to read is teaching me a lot about the development of automaticity. For months, he did everything he could to avoid reading. Yet, we were persistent in working with him.

Eventually, he developed confidence himself and began to see the utility of reading, and his motivation shifted from extrinsic to intrinsic. Now we have a difficult time stopping him from reading.

If you want to become world-class at what you do, you must get to the point where it becomes unconscious and automatic. Once you get to this level, you’ll be able to innovate and make your craft your own, because you’ll be operating at a higher frequency.

Original Post: http://www.inc.com/benjamin-p-hardy/the-scientific-4-step-process-to-become-world-class-at-anything.html

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.'” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

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