Saturday, November 19, 2011

Edward Hallowell L&B Keynote

Shine: Using Brain Science to Get Imagination and the Best from Your Students
Edward M. Hallowell, MD

He has dyslexia and ADHD.

How can we help students do more than they know they are capable of?

Read "A Walk in the Rain with a Brain." I have it, if you're interested in reading it.

The gist of the book is that there is no such thing as "smart." No brain is the same, no brain is the best.

How do we help children find their own brain's special way?

[Hallowell: There are two times in the world of ADD. Now, and not now. There's a test next wednesday - not now! Those with attention surplus disorder are busily blocking out their study time. :)]

Support is the difference between the prison population and the Nobel Prize winners.

Schools and teachers saved his life. Psychotic father, alcoholic mother, learning disability, adhd, etc. You save lives as dramatically as surgeons do.

The pyramid model
- Rests on the assumption that the children who will do best in life are the ones who do best every step along the way
- This is a terrible tyranny that has gripped the imagination of parents and warped childhood


1. Connect
- at its most distilled, we call it love. Love drives growth better than anything else. The best gift we can give our children is a childhood rich with positive interpersonal connections. It's free and infinite in supply! It's really sad that people trivialize this. Love is a tough sell.
- at the moment you become a parent you physiologically change, you enter into a permanent state of psychosis, you go crazy with love. This love leads you to do crazy things - give up time, money, dignity. We live in this state of madness the rest of our lives. That bond is the spinal column of a happy child. It is your greatest ally, trust it!
- connection within the family. Connection and conflict go hand-in-hand. The opposite of connection is indifference. By all means have conflict, just try to work it out and minimize bloodshed. Have family dinners, read together, have fun together. It's good for our brains! Make time for them.
- connection with friends. Pick and choose carefully. Talk to kids about friendship.
- connection to school. How do you feel when you walk in the door? Do you feel safe? Do you feel welcome? Is there someone there and something you're looking forward to?
- connection to nature. Go out and play, get outdoors, make up your games, get out there and come back for dinner. Get a pet.
- connection to the past. Not just history books. All kids ought to do a grandparent project.
- connection to clubs, groups, organizations.
- a spiritual connection. Beyond dogma to what you cannot see, cannot prove. Intuition. Reserve a forum for kids to speculate and wonder in a context of joy, not fear and guilt. Wonder together.
- connection with self.
- notice how rich all of this sounds? This is the stuff life is made of, and it's all free.

2. Play
- the connected child necessarily moves to step 2.
- not just recess. Any activity in which your imagination lights up. The more you play, the more your brain grows.
- great teachers light up the imagination. Ask questions. How? Why? Anything that you pose as a question instantly engages the imagination. Question, question.
- More prestige and pay than a doctor for teachers in Finland. All engaging the imagination, teaching problem-solving all the time. The teachers are so good that they end up leading the world.
- flow
- if you want to help your students find their brain's special way, engage the imagination
- great teachers balance structure and novelty. Too much structure and it's boring, too much novelty and it's chaos.

3. Work, Practice
- best way to get kids to do this is to spend lots of time on connect and play!
- great teachers sweeten the process, so that kids are working hard in spite of themselves.

4. Make Progress, Gain Mastery
- making progress in something that is difficult and matters to you develops confidence, self-esteem, motivation
- teachers MUST intervene with kids who aren't making progress. This is where great teaching changes lives.
- Real disabilities are shame, fear, thinking ur stupid and giving up

5. Receive Recognition
- doesn't necessarily mean you win a prize, just means someone who matters to you notices your progress
- moral education is not about drumming into kids the 10 commandments, its a matter of having some reason to do what's right. The "reason" is to have some ownership in the group - if you feel ownership, you uphold rules, help out, etc. It's really an issue of connection.

This cycle generally predicts success. It's what you come out of childhood FEELING that matters. Who are you? What's your attitude? That's what matters. Confidence, self-esteem, enthusiasm, resilience, growth mindset. Those are absolutely correlated with leading the kind of life we want our kids to live. Not limited to a certain IQ or income. No exclusionary criteria. Every child and adult can enter into the cycle and develop these attitudes. This is how you find out what your brain is good at.

If you tell a kid to dream big and then don't help, he becomes a cynic. If you tell a kid to dream big and then provide the support to fulfill the dream, he's thriving.

Why spend your life sucking up for a prize that's not worth it, when you could live a life that's worth living? This is the message that you all have the power to impart. Alas, it is not the message most parents and kids are getting. They're getting pressure-packed, fear-filled childhood.

This was an outstanding presentation! Makes me wish I could start parenting all over again, start teaching all over again!

No comments: