Intrapersonal

How to Teach Your Kids to be Critical Thinkers

Posted by on Sep 26, 2011 in Blog, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Linguistic, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences | 0 comments

Critical thinking is a skill that few children are inherently born with. However, it is a skill that all children should develop. Why? Well, for starters, because it will help your child better understand the world and how to succeed within it. It will help your child learn how to communicate effectively and get what they need to flourish. It will help your child know themselves better, the challenges they face and the skills at their disposal. Critical thinking is a tool that will enable them to solve problems, be creative and find more meaningful ways of living. And who doesn’t want that?! The question is how. How do we teach children to be critical thinkers? Well, this article on Edutopia has some great ideas: “Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking” that I have expanded upon to share with you here: 1. Questions, Questions, Questions “Questioning is at the heart of critical thinking, so you want to create an environment where intellectual curiosity is fostered and questions are encouraged.” This is not just about allowing our children to ask us questions but about us asking the right questions of our children. What kinds of questions? One article suggests questions that are: open-ended, with no right or wrong answer, which prompt exploration in different directions. require synthesis of information, an understanding of how pieces fit together. perpetually arguable, with themes that will recur throughout a student’s lifetime and always be relevant. This is by no means an exhaustive list but I think the point is to use the questions as starting points, as opportunities for kids to continue exploring/expanding the limits of what they know. When our children ask us a question, our answer shouldn’t be the end of the query but rather, it should provide enough information to prompt further exploration. 2. Start with a prompt and help them unpack it. “Pose a provocative question to build an argument around and help your students break it down.” There are two parts to this: (a) pose a provocative question and (b) help them break it down. First, a provocative question is not only one that makes the child stop and think (that is, it does not have a clear black and white answer)  but one that piques their curiosity (they want to know the answer). Curiosity is what inspires the pursuit for answers. Critical thinking is the process that enables us to get there. Once we’ve asked the curious question, we need to guide our children to help them understand what precisely is being asked. For instance, “are bullies mean?” The answer is not a clear yes or no.  We need to unpack the question first: what is a “bully”? Is someone always a bully? What do we mean by “mean”? Does being the one necessarily entail being the other? Are bullies born or made? Are bullies responsible for their behavior or is it a matter of the environment or circumstances in which they live? You see where I’m going with this… The point is less to arrive at a conclusive answer and more a focus on the process of thinking through the question and its implications. 3. Provide tools for entering the conversation. The article suggests providing “sentence starters and connectors” that enable children to enter a conversation. This is a way of empowering children to question other people’s thoughts and to share their own. For instance: what do you mean, can you clarify, why do you think that, I agree/disagree, etc. The purpose of this step is for children to learn how to connect their ideas to those of others and to...

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18 Ways to Develop Your Child’s Intrapersonal Intelligence

Posted by on Sep 12, 2011 in Blog, Intrapersonal, Multiple Intelligences | 0 comments

18 Ways to Develop Your Child’s Intrapersonal Intelligence

So you want to improve your child’s Intrapersonal Intelligence? Well, I have 18 fun, engaging and crazy effective ways for you to do that. But first, if you don’t already know: What is Intrapersonal Intelligence? Intrapersonal Intelligence is one of eight computational abilities that we all have and it pertains specifically to your ability to process information through self-observation and reflective thinking, the contemplation of self. Children who favor an Intrapersonal Intelligence will tend to be skilled at understanding their own feelings and motivations, they will intuitively reflect upon their strengths and weaknesses, their challenges, the way the world impacts them, and their responses. The does not mean they don’t use their other eight intelligences. Nor does it mean that only kids who are introspective use their Intrapersonal Intelligence. How do you develop Intrapersonal Intelligence? Below are 18 ways to help your child develop their Intrapersonal Intelligence. The activities are presented in levels of increasing complexity. These levels are in no way related to a child’s age or grade level. Rather, in light of the fact that each child has a unique intelligence profile, these activities allow children to start at whatever level they prefer and to continue feeling engaged and motivated as they advance to the more challenging levels. PS – many of these activities also help develop other intelligences (see the MI code references here).  LEVEL 1 Describe an emotion to someone else. Have they ever experienced this emotion? How was their experience different or similar from your experience? Why do you think that is? [L.I.][Ie.I.] Read your favorite book and try to identify what the problem is in the story. How does the problem make you feel? How did the main character resolve it? How would you have resolved this problem? [L.I.] Reflect on something that has affected you emotionally (happy or sad) and think about what happened that made you feel that way. What would have made you feel better or worse? Why would that make a difference? Think about something you have done to someone else. How do you think that affected them? Why do you think that? [Ie.I.] LEVEL 2 Think about something that is difficult for you to do. What are the challenges you face in accomplishing this task? How do you feel as you are trying to work through these challenges? How do your feelings affect your ability to perform the task? Try to come up with a new strategy to help you overcome those challenges. Illustrate an emotion you have had. Think about why you chose to illustrate it the way you did. What triggered that emotion? Would that image change if you experienced the same emotion but with a different experience? [S.I.] Practice breathing exercises or meditation and reflect on how these exercises make you feel and why. Teach these exercises to a friend and discuss how they make your friend feel and why. What are the differences and similarities between the experience you are having and your friend’s experience. [Ie.I.] Choose ten words that best describe you. Why are they important? Arrange them into categories. What do these categories tell you about yourself? [L.I.] Reflect upon a challenging situation that you overcame. Why was it a challenge? How did you overcome it? How did the experience change you? Share that story with someone else. Have they ever had a similar experience? How did they overcome their challenge and does their strategy help you in any way? [Ie.I.] Read a story to someone using different voices and conveying different emotions depending on the action in the story. Discuss how the different voices affect the story and its impact...

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How to Praise Your Child Without Turning Them Into a Monster

Posted by on Feb 9, 2011 in Blog, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Parenting | 4 comments

How to Praise Your Child Without Turning Them Into a Monster

You’ve read all those articles telling you that you’re an awful parent for praising your child. Your child will surely turn into monster, praise-hounds, constantly seeking your attention, or worse – the attention of others. No, the best way to handle this is to not praise them at all. But you’ve also read all of those articles telling you that you’re an awful parent for not praising your child. What is wrong with you? You are so uncaring and unempathetic! Your child needs to know that you care, that they’re efforts are being recognized. How could you be so callous? It’s a lose/lose situation, isn’t it? Well, not necessarily. See, you can praise your child without turning them into a monster and I’m going to teach you how.  First, you need to understand what praise is and why we pursue it. Then we can talk about how to do it so it’s actually a positive and productive tool. What is Praise? Praise is the act of making positive statements about a person, object or idea. In general, one’s response to these positive statements is to feel validated in who we are or what we’ve done that has triggered the praise. Feeling validated is really just feeling that the decisions we made have been confirmed and accepted by others, that we belong to a group of people who approve of us and our actions. It’s no secret that we all seek to experience a sense of belonging. Moreover, that we should seek the praise of our peers is also not surprising nor is it problematic in and of itself. So, what is the problem? The problem is when Praise is what guides us in the choices we make and things we do. This is obviously of concern with regard to children who are natural praise-hounds and so susceptible to doing what other people tell them to do. The way to manage this, however, is not to withdraw praise, but to understand its effect on how to do it well. How praise can turn evil. The problem with praise is when we don’t manage it well and it becomes a way of changing your child’s personality. The reason this is a problem is that it can lead to low self-esteem, lack of confidence, or even pushing your children to engage in activities that are unhealthy or unsafe for them in the process of seeking validation. On the other hand, if praise is managed well, it can result in the exact opposite: a child who is confident, has positive self-esteem, and pursues activities that promote their physical, mental and emotional development in productive ways. The key is to understand how praise works, and it’s quite simple: A child will act in ways that he knows have consistently been positively reinforced or approved of by the community whose praise he seeks. The key is to praise in a way that reinforces your child’s positive behaviors (i.e. you want them to feel good about doing good things). How to Praise in a positive and productive manner. Positive praise is about three things: Distinguish between behavior and identity. It’s one thing to tell your child they did well on their homework, it’s another to say they are smart. The former is something that’s within their control, the latter is not. The point is to give your child positive feedback about things they can actually change. Explain what is “good” vs. “bad” behavior. If what you want is to encourage your child to make the right choices, then help them understand what those choices are and why they are good...

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