Setting Your Child Up for Success
By Dawna Markova
children do not learn alike. In fact, each of us is wired to learn
and communicate differently and each learning style has its own
strengths and challenges. Understanding how we are wired is the
key for each of us to succeed in any domain. Children need to learn
to use their innate capacities to overcome their limitations. We
limit potential if we operate otherwise. Rather than focusing on
what is wrong, we must begin to help our children recognize what
is right about them and how to use what's right to overcome challenges.
is a growing body of research in psychology, business and education
that it is better to track assets than focus on deficits. By helping
children and the adults who support them become aware of HOW they
are smart - how they are naturally wired to think, learn and communicate
- and by tracking their innate gifts and talents, we can create
the conditions to foster the next generation in every possible way.
is a powerful new approach to unleashing your child's potential
and fostering a lifelong love of learning. It is based on four simple
principles to truly bring out the best in our children.
of differences as resources rather than disorders:
We know now there are many kinds of intelligence. We need to understand
there are also many ways a child accesses and expresses those intelligences:
think of violins and flutes. Each child's brain is a unique instrument
and thus has a particular way it is meant to be played, specific
conditions that are needed if it is to express its own music. Intellectual
diversity is a natural condition and gift to our species.
Track assets rather than deficits:
What is natural for the infant's brain is to track success and discard
failure. Like a heat-seeking device, when a baby learns to drink
from a cup for instance, the brain records each correct contact
with the cup and ignores each miss. As a consequence, in its first
two years, a baby is able to learn the two most complex neurological
tasks required of humans: walking and talking. That's because when
we track assets, we increase the speed and depth of learning.
Think of mistakes as experiments rather than failures:
The latest research in cognitive neurobiology indicates that experiences
actually shape the structure of the brain. Every child needs to
be encouraged to explore his or her world through experimentation.
In the attempt to standardize the way we measure children's learning,
we are giving them the message that getting it right is more important
than having the experiences that will build trust in their own capacity.
Learn from the inside out as well as the outside in:
For the past three hundred years, schools and parents have been
instructing from the outside in. We decide what they should learn
and how they should learn it; we determine how long it should take
and how to evaluate when it has been learned. The result is that
school often feels peripheral to their lives. When we educate from
the inside out, our children develop the capacity to discern what
is right for them. They become adults who trust their own judgment
and ability to determine the direction their life should take.
together, these principles, confirmed by the latest in cognitive
neuroscience, will empower children of all ages to maximize their
success at school and in life. This in turn will enable the next
generation to be full contributors to the global community.
Helping to create the richest possible environment and support for
the development of each child's unique talents, including asset-focused
partnerships between the home, school and community.
Markova, Ph.D., Author of The
Smart Parenting Revolution - A Powerful New Approach to Unleashing
Your Child's Potential is internationally known for her groundbreaking
research in the fields of learning and perception. She serves as
the president of SmartWired, the CEO of Professional Thinking Partners,
and a research member of the Society for Organizational Learning,
founded by Peter Senge of the Sloan School at MIT. In the past forty
years, Markova's work has expanded into the boardrooms and corporate
headquarters of companies in America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
She now reaches hundreds of thousands of people around the globe
through seminars, keynote speeches, and her eight books, which have
been translated into seven languages. Dr. Markova was recently honored
with the Visions to Action Award, "for people who have made
a profound contribution to the world." She lives in Northern
California. Visit Donna at www.smartwired.org.