This article is a summary of Learning Ally presentation by Kate Garnett of Hunter College, CUNY.
The sad statistic is that children who struggle in school hear 20 negative comments for every one positive comment each day of their education. This is why they begin to shut-down, begin avoidance behaviors, and many times, stop wanting to learn. It’s not that each statement is necessarily mean, but it can be as simple as, “Sally, your b is going the wrong direction again” or “Josh, you have complete sentences, but you forgot your periods” “Sally, you read that beautifully…now tell me what does the sentence mean?” For kids with dyslexia, even their best efforts still lead to forgotten periods, misspelled words, turned around letters, lots of eraser marks and sometimes no comprehension of what they just read.
On average, 94% of people who are married more than 10 years receive five positive comments from their spouse for every one negative comment. Behavior scientists have found, we humans, don’t want to be in long-term relationships, where we hear a lot of negative feedback. In fact, behaviorists found that for reading and math scores to improve in children, they must receive four positive comments for every one negative in their classrooms. PBIS, a nation-wide positive behavior interventions and support program, states that teachers, at a minimum, should give three positive comments for every one negative comment to minimize negative behaviors and maximize positive behaviors in class.
Leading researchers state that when children go home from school, they often feel like they are spinning out of control. And, we as parents, left to help them with hours of homework, sometimes unknowingly add to that stress, and wind them upeven tighter…
Susan Barton, a national dyslexia advocate, states that “home must be a safe haven for kids with dyslexia and other learning issues.” She advocates learning how to communicate with our kids who do have learning struggles, so home is a place to feel loved and accepted.
Kate Garnett, of Hunter College in New York City, recommends that every parent and teacher who touch children with learning issues read the books “How To Talk So Kids will Listen, and Listen So Kids will Talk” and “How To Talk So Kids Will Learn” by Faber and Mazlish. These two books take the theories of Haim Ginott,and boil them down into bite-size communication tactics that every teacher and parent can implement.
1. How to acknowledge children’s feelings with concern, humor and fantasy
2. How to communicate correction and allow children to plan and draw their own conclusions
3. How to restore courage so children have the confidence to try again
4. How to build resilency after its been lost.
Children who learn that no matter how hard they try, their best efforts can never measure up, begin to retreat and withdraw from those activities. Dr. David Tilley states that “within one week, a kindergartener will know if school is going to be something they are good at.”
Struggling learners need our encouragement and understanding. As parents and teachers, we need to learn to understand why they can’t do what we are asking, how to accommodate them, how to encourage rather than tear down, and then we must find things these children ARE GOOD AT, and build their talents.
Please consider checking out these authors at Amazon.com….
Written by Heidi Kroner, True Potential Education, Dyslexia Inspired Learning,www.truepotentialed.com