Monday, 23 May 2011

The Relationship Between How You Feel as a Parent and What you Do as a Parent

If you were asked how your emotions influence your behaviour as a parent, do you think you would be able to say that you manage to treat your children the way they ought to be treated even when you're not in the mood for it?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

It doesn't matter what we do; It matters how our children perceive it

My eldest daughter reminded me of a valuable parenting insight this morning. After being asked several times to do something, I became exasperated with her. My tone changed.

"Will you please do what I asked you to do now?"

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Stunning: Aren't Children People Too?

On Friday morning I had the opportunity to be interviewed for an hour on ABC Radio National's Life Matters programme. The topic for the morning was "Being Made to Do Things." You can hear the entire programme via the ABC's podcast here (just go to Fri May 13th).

We spent considerable time discussing the different ways that people - particularly parents - make other people do things. I spoke about how force makes people feel, especially our children. And I discussed ways that we can respect our children's agency and autonomy. I'll write in more detail about these ideas in my next post.

For this post, however, I wanted to highlight a comment that made my jaw drop for all the wrong reasons.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

NAPLAN-style tests aren't working in the USA

Photo: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard holding the 2011 NAPLAN test. (Source: SMH)

For some time I've argued STRONGLY against NAPLAN testing. Research shows it doesn't work and is BAD for our children, yet the Prime Minister remains fixated on holding her course - in spite of evidence to the contrary.

This article in the Sydney Morning Herald further validates my position. Here are some key quotes based on US Research:

NAPLAN-style testing and reporting has failed in the United States by narrowing the curriculum and corrupting education standards, says a chief education adviser to the US President, Barack Obama...
Schools and individual teachers have been judged and rewarded financially for improving student test scores and punished for poor ones. This led to many of the best teachers abandoning schools in the disadvantaged areas, with some teachers accused of teaching to the test and others of helping children cheat to improve results.

"We have seen growing student exclusion to get the scores up. Schools either prevent students from taking the test or encourage them to leave school," she said.
"It doesn't serve society to say we got our scores up but didn't educate lots of children. At the end of the day, it hurts the economy."

"The US is taking a U-turn away from test-based accountability,'' said Professor Darling-Hammond. ''We hope not to meet Australia heading in the other direction in seeking policies we have sought to move away from."

Our kids don't need it. Our teachers don't need it. Our schools don't need it.

NAPLAN is scheduled for May 8-10 in Australian schools, but your kids don't have to do it. You can write a letter to your principal and request that your child not participate.

I've submitted the following article to the SMH as an op-editorial piece and have received a positive response. You may find it interesting:

How to Prevent Your Child From Being a Bully

Bullying is in the headlines on a daily basis recently. Around 1 in 5 kids aged 10-17 admits to bullying other children 'frequently'. And at least a third of kids admit to bullying other children 'sometimes'. That means there's a pretty good chance that my kids and your kids are doing some of the bullying some of the time.

A recent study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in the past few days shows that parents can be THE ones to make a big difference in preventing their children from becoming a bully - and it's not through making demands, lecturing, punishing, threatening, or 'bullying' their kids out of being bullies.