Teachers are like potters. They mould the raw clay of the minds of the children into beautiful pots or figurines that last a lifetime. The effort they take in moulding the mind of the child is reflected in his personality throughout life.

Like artisans chiseling a rock to carve an exquisite sculpture, teachers chisel away unwanted flaws in the mindset of the child to transform him into a creation of art.

The role of the teachers in child development is highly commendable. It is important that we understand why we should appreciate teachers, When children enter school, their minds are like a clean slate – fresh and impressionable. The positive inputs and knowledge fed by the teachers make the child develop into a strong personality.

Not just academics, teachers play a vital role in inculcating moral values, ethics and integrity into the child. One instance of proof is the “conduct certificate” issued by schools and colleges for students. When they issue such a certificate, they must also understand the role they play in shaping the child’s character and conduct.

Eminent personalities like Dr. Abdul Kalam, former President of India have always attributed their success in life to their teachers. Even current celebrities like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Hillary Swank of Hollywood, American Poet Maya Angelou and our own Bipasha Basu of Bollywood have credited their teachers for their fame and status in life. Famous Anchor Oprah Winfrey and Former American President Bill Clinton to do not miss lauding the contribution of their teachers at every interview. In fact, Clinton’s Teacher Mr. Sputlin was the person who identified  Clinton for his leadership qualities and convinced him that he was wholly capable of organizing things.

When you are climbing uphill, you need a stick to hold on; A teacher is that support. If for some reason, you slip and fall, can you, in any way blame the teacher? This is what most of us do. If there is any folly on the part of the student, we blame teachers.

Only a complete comprehension of the role of a teacher can make us realize their value. Let us look at five reasons why we should appreciate teachers.

  1. Teachers educate students.

Academic education is not child’s play. Mastering the rules of grammar for a language or the concepts of science or mathematics is a laborious task. Understanding alone is not sufficient. Trying to explain this information in a simple and easily understandable manner is more Himalayan.  Teachers do all this and more-

  • They teach fundamentals
  • Explain concepts
  • Clarify doubts
  • Formulate and conduct tests
  • Assess performance
  • Review results
  • Summarize the information
  • Improvise teaching techniques

The list is endless.

  1. They guide students

Teachers have been known to identify and tap the potential of the student. Teachers interact with students regularly and thus are able to assess their strengths and weaknesses. So they are able to easily divert the student into the right path, channel their energy and make them focus on their targets.

  1. They inspire students

Teachers lead by example. Often teachers are living role models for students. Children often imbibe the positive qualities of teachers. Great masters have had even greater teachers. Aristotle- the Father of Science, was taught by Plato. Plato himself was the student of the legendary philosopher Socrates.

  1. Teachers counsel students

Teachers do not limit themselves to the academic field of duty. Instead, they go a step further and take a personal interest in the lives of students. They devote time and patience to listen to children about their personal and family issues and counsel them accordingly. Teachers must have a psychological bent of mind in reading the student, understanding his problems and advising them accordingly.

  1. Teachers motivate their students

It is not enough to just coach, guide or inspires the students. Teachers provide unflinching support and motivate the students when their spirits sag. The faith of the teacher in a student makes him triumph when all else fails.

Teachers are instrumental in identifying the spark of genius or talent in us. They are the winds that fan the fires of passion. They are the light that leads us into the tunnel of life. It is a time we understand why we should appreciate teachers and honour them accordingly.

Our own Teacher-President Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was such a living example and inspiration as a teacher that his birthday on September  5th is celebrated as ‘Teacher’s Day in India’. Let’s Practise is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and to enhancing the respect for teachers world wide.

 

Our emotions can have great impact on our behaviour and life skills. Emotional imbalance not only affects adults but also kids. Their academics and overall development can be harmed. Should emotions be taught in schools?

“Nobody ever taught me to manage my emotions, I have learnt it myself, then why not my child?

Does this question arise in your mind?

Parents – you will agree that the scenario of your childhood days and that of your child is completely different. Today’s competitive lifestyle and the influence of technology has increased the threat for children. Unlike earlier, children tend to spend their maximum free time on electronic gadgets or PlayStation and rarely interact with others. The way they socialize, study, play, etc. only reduces the chances of developing social-emotional skills.

Facing the outside world won’t be easy for your child where they must deal with stressful situations. Academic pressure, peer pressure, homework stress, etc. will make him anxious. This situation may lead to unanswered questions that will only complicate the situation. Lack of emotional skills can also develop the feeling of inferiority in him.

“Building emotional awareness, self-control and relationship skills are master skills, when we nurture them, children do better in all areas of their daily lives, including school.” – Mark Greenberg, PhD, director of the Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Lets Pratise Experts recommend that schools should include social-emotional training in the academics, which in turn will help students regulate their emotions. Schools should introduce Social-emotional Learning program that teaches students the following:

Self awareness

Self awareness is knowing yourself completely and this includes your likes, dislikes, behaviours, emotions, etc. Students who are aware of themselves can understand others and socialize better. Children should be taught to analyze their feelings. Meditation and talking about their emotions are great ways to develop self awareness among children.

Self management – Controlling anger and frustration

Once students learn to identify their emotions, the next step is managing them. Self-management is essential for kids to lead a healthy lifestyle and children are usually sensitive and get affected by minor issues. Teachers and parents should help the child in dealing with emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety and fear.

Taking responsibility

Parents and teachers should encourage children to take responsibility for their actions and this also includes accepting your mistakes. Teach children be responsible and ask them to avoid blaming others for their behavior and this will make them turn into a  honest and more responsible individual.  

Managing stress

If a child is stressed, then the parents and teacher should help him overcome the stress. A student may have stress in many forms – homework stress, exam stress, family feud, quarrel with friends, etc. Children should be taught to solve these problem, to relax themselves or share their problems with the one they trust.

Instead of teaching children to suppress their emotions, we should teach them to talk it out and understand them. A child who receives great social-emotional skills training will turn out to be a successful adult with a wonderful personal and professional life.

Experts at Let’s Practise support the idea of including social emotional learning in academics. What do you think? Let us know here.

“Competition is very good… as long as it’s healthy. It’s what one  needs to strive to be better.” Christine Lahti.

Active participation in competitions enables development of many positive traits in children. However, unhealthy contests can cause stress and disappointment in children.

Even child experts recommend healthy competition for children. But if you are still hesitant to involve your child in tournaments and worried about its effects, then here are a few ways to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy contests:  

How to red flag unhealthy competitions?

  1. The competition will arouse anxiety or make him nervous.
  2. He will not be prepared to accept his defeat.
  3. Resistance to further participation.
  4. Previous contests caused disruption in friendship.

How to green light healthy competitions?

  1. Your child will sound excited about the competition.
  2. He should be okay with losing the match or tournament.
  3. He will focus on improving his skills.
  4. Competition is seeding improved confidence.
  5. The child has fun and looks forward to participating rather than winning.

How can a healthy competition benefit your child?

 

  • Motivates children.

 

Tournaments are an interesting way to keep your child motivated. Despite the ups and downs, their passion for doing better keeping them going.

 

  • Builds confidence.

 

Participating in meets gives a good dose of self-esteem to the child. Continuous participation and interactions help them overcome negative emotions like fear, anxiety, etc.

 

  • Makes them goal oriented.

 

Contests set a goal for victory and children to practise hard to reach those goals. Thus, these children turn out to be focused individuals.

 

  • Prepares them for the real world.

 

In today’s world, one cannot move up the value chain without competition. From a seat in a reputed college to a decent job, you will face rivalry everywhere. Hence, school level contests would be a good start for him.

 

  • Life becomes interesting.

 

Youngsters are always curious and enthusiastic. Meets are a wonderful platform that enables them to exhibit talent and interact with teachers better. Thus teachers can work with students as a team, making even the introverts life interesting!

Three tips for encouraging healthy competition in children:

 

  • Help them set the right goal.

 

Your child can’t win all the time so make sure that failures do not stop him. Parents can help children in fixing achievable goals for the contest. Exceeding these goals will prevent him from getting dejected.

 

  • Ask them to compete with themselves.

 

Explain the importance of practice and perfection to your children. Contesting with oneself is always a good idea than with others. This will help him try harder and perform exceptionally than always.   

 

  • Don’t compare instead appreciate their efforts.

 

Parents should never compare their kids with others as this can evoke negative emotions in him and also lead to an inferiority complex. Always encourage your child to give his best and appreciate even his smallest achievements.  

 

Competitions help children to understand and develop social skills and values. Taking part in group matches will encourage them to cooperate with other team members for success. Winning in these matches not only boost their self-esteem but also prompt them to practise, research and develop their skills. Even if they lose one of the tournaments, they can learn from their mistakes and give their best the next time.

So will you encourage your child to participate in the next contest at school? Let’s know here.

 

There are two types of people in the world: larks and owls. No, this isn’t a quiz you have to take to assess what type of bird you are. This is about your child’s sleeping habits and how you can help them be productive- both at school and at home.

The Larks

Larks are songbirds, often awake at the break of day. In old tales, the singing of the lark was used to denote the start of the day, much like a rooster crowing. That is why larks are also known as ‘early birds’.

Someone who is a lark is a morning person. This does not mean that people who must get up early as part of their job or work are morning people. The key is that larks enjoy waking up early in the morning and usually go to bed early in the evening.

The Owls

By contrast, owls, also called ‘night owls’ will stay up late, as their name suggests. Like larks, this does not include people who have to stay up late because they have work to do.

Teens and kids are increasingly turning into night owls. Technology plays a big role in this as they stay up late watching TV or playing computer games instead of going to bed.  

There are other children that fall in-between the two categories (sometimes known as ‘hummingbirds), leaning towards one or the other.

Why is Sleep Important?

You should note that there is no exact period for sleep as every child is different. The day’s activities will influence how tired your child is, so they won’t sleep and wake up at the same time every day.

The National Sleep Foundation however, recommends giving your child between nine to eleven hours of sleep. In any case, make sure your child gets at least eight hours of sleep so they can function properly the next day. Hours aren’t the only factor, though. They need to be in bed between the hours 12 midnight to 4 am. Most experts suggest a sleep schedule from 10 pm to 6 am.

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue among children and teens. Dr. Timothy Roehrs, who is the Director of Research at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, USA found that sleep plays a part in decision making. You cannot allow your child to lose sleep and then allow them to ‘catch up’ on weekends.

Kids that go to bed early and wake up early are healthier than those who sleep late and wake up late. Of course, due to hectic days and school work, this may not always be possible. Also, waking up your child early allows them to start the day at a more leisurely pace.

Set an Early Bedtime  

There are things that you can do to ensure your child goes to bed earlier. For one, you can have early dinner. Avoid discussing stressful topics with the child right before bedtime. This can play on their minds and cause them to lose sleep.

Do not let your child gaze at bright screens in the dark or late at night because this will strain their eyes. Soothing music helps put children to sleep and no loud music or noises before bedtime because it will affect their ears negatively.

You should experiment with different sleep times to see what fits. If the child wakes up earlier than intended, make them sleep later. Likewise, if they won’t get up when you want, send them to bed quicker. Once you find out the best hours, maintain it for as long as possible.

Avoid Coercion

The early bird catches the worm, but the early worm gets eaten. Having your child be a lark is ideal, but their health is far more important. So, do not to force your child to wake up early. Just like sleeping late will drain your child of energy, so will enforcing an early wake-up time. In both cases, the child is missing out on crucial hours of rest.

It all depends on the child’s internal clock or circadian rhythm. So, avoid blaming the child for his or her natural qualities.

Be sure to follow these tips and not underestimate the power sleep has over your child. If you can’t turn them into a lark, at least prevent them from becoming an owl. Teach your child why they need adequate rest and the benefits of waking up early.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

 

Let’s Practise Can Help

If you want more information and need help getting your child to focus and do well in school, contact us.

Now, it’s time for bed. Good night!

Sources:

https://sleep.org/

http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/09/29/night-owls-vs-early-birds-who-is-healthier-wealthier-and-wiser

https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

https://www.sleepio.com/blog/2014/04/22/sleep-fact-or-sleep-fiction/

 

Luck, Hard work or Focus – What is important?

Have you ever wondered why or how people like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Cristiano Ronaldo, Shahrukh Khan, Warren Buffet became what they have become? And when you do, what comes to mind as possible reasons? Mostly we hear people saying things like Luck, Hard Work, Focus, and/or Dedication. It all makes sense but really is that all?

luckLuck:Whenever we look at successful people, we call them ‘lucky!’. But what is luck? Is it just a chance, a good fortune? If yes, then how do people get repeated successes? If we were to say that luck is important too, then we would define luck as a confluence of perseverance, prospects and preference. Opportunities present themselves every day to every person. Do they not? But only a person who recognizes them and seizes them without delay, gets to convert these opportunities to their preferred outcomes. And we very comfortably tag them ‘lucky’. However, a close look reveals that only those people who persevere to look for prospective opportunities to exploit become lucky. Hey, but this is no rocket science! Still why most of the ordinary folks are not able to do so? Why?

Hard work: “…No, No, it’s not luck, its Hard work or rather Smart work…”. This is the answer of most people who don’t believe in luck. And I am sure they are correct. No success is achieved without hard work or sweat. Even the child prodigies became world-class experts in their fields, only after working at it for a long time. Sachin Tendulkar was at his best only when he was 24-year-old, although he had started showed brilliance at a young age of 16. I am yet to find a single successful person who hasn’t done his share of hardwork. But, why is putting  hard hours so difficult?  Why do most of ordinary people give up sooner? Why?

Focus and Dedication: Maybe it is the lack of focus and dedication. Often people are not focused and they stop. Hard work without focus leads to only a sinusoidal performance curve with lots of peaks and valleys. It doesn’t yield a consistently improving performance. So focus and dedication should be the key to success. Well, we all know the importance of focus and dedication since our childhood, yet most of us find it difficult to maintain it over a long period of time? Do over achievers have a special brain or some additional nerves to keep them focused? No!  Most high achievers have similar brains as the ordinary people. Then why?

Secret Ingredient to Success: All the above mentioned things are required for success but they are not sufficient.There is one secret ingredient to the gravy that brings flavor to the complete dish and make it yummy! And that ingredient is INNER DRIVE. Every individual has at least one strong Inner Drive. And then they have many external drives. The individuals for whom the external drive syncs well with the true inner drive, achieving success becomes a reality. The unfortunate part is that most ordinary folks spend their whole life without realizing their true inner drive.

Now what is this Inner Drive? We often use words like Passion, Obsession, Mania to talk about Inner Drive. I chose to call this yearning as INNER DRIVE, to clearly differentiate it from the external drivers. For some people this inner drive is to connect with other people, for others it is money. For some it is knowledge, and for others it is relationships. While for others it is leadership, and for others it is creation. Those who understand their inner drive and live their life with a yearning to fulfill it, become super successful. You can look at any successful person and you will see a very strong inner drive which led to his success. Be it Mother Teresa to help the needy, or Mahatma Gandhi to strive for truth and fairness.

As Bruce Springsteen once said :  “When it comes to luck, you make your own.”