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SmartWired: Setting Your Child Up for Success
By Dawna Markova

All 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.

There 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.

SmartWired 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.

Think 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.

Taken 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.

Dawna 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.

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