I think the authors have some really great insights in this chapter. All of you who teach 4 to 6 year olds, know how difficult it can be when a child is throwing a temper tantrum or has decided to "shut down" and not move. No matter how hard the teacher tries, the misbehaving child is holding the classroom hostage by thier behavior. Teaching a child how to regulate thier emotional self is a cruical part to early childhood education. It is an unfortunate reality, that children who come to you emotionally immature are frequently the same children who do not do well in school. I'm sure as you read the authors words, a specific situation or child's face surfaced in your mind. It does not come as a shock to learn that these  inappropriate coping skills are learned through poor parenting. Many times I feel that first we need to teach the parents before we can find success with thier child.  the key is establishing a relationship with the adults.  Once again, the authors stress the importance of talking with students about thier feelings and teaching them that they  have a choice to thier reactions.

I, also, thought the sections on praise were  thought provoking. Although, I think it is unrealistic to expect 4 or 5 year olds to make good choices for intrinsic reasons. I do  agree with the authors that empty praise is ineffective and non-productive. Commending children for effort and perserverance is much more long lasting and a lifelong coping skill.

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I particularly agree with your final statement about commending children for effort and perserverance. I have a group of about 4 that are very low. Most times they want to give up before they even start. I find that I am trying to do activiities with them on a one to one basis. This allows me to be each ones cheerleader. They each need to be told that they can do it and not to give up and to just try. When an activity is accomplished, the big smile alone tells me that I approached this the correct way. Since most 4 year olds feel that they can do anything, "I can do it myself!", it makes you wonder what kind of feedback or encouragement they are getting at home.
I think kids are especially prone to think that being "smart" is a luck of the draw. They think that being smart is predestined. And, I think during the primary and elementary grades this might very well be the case for many of our students. I don't think the discipline, sacrifice and perserverance it takes to master a language, mathematics skill or to write an essay are necessarily learned and nurtured during elementary school. KIds need to know that hard work or an attitude of "stick to it ness" are important life skills. I think kids understand this concept when playing a sport or learning an instrument. But school is a different experience because so much of it is about how we learn and think. For those who get it- it looks easy. However, for those who don't "get it" it's frustrating and not fulfilling. Teaching our kids that perserverance is in itself rewarding is an important life lesson.
I agree with you Susan- that the ability to regulate one's emotions is such an important thing to learn in early childhood. When a child has difficulty with this it seems to pervade thier abilities to learn and have positive social emotional growth. Many preschoolers that I work with often lack the language/vocabulary needed to identify their own emotions which causes a great deal of frustration or insecurity for a child. Discussing emotions and giving children the words to label how they feel opens up doors for communication and often leads to other important social skills such as problem solving. I really like the part of this chapter that talks about praising efforts rather than intelligence. It makes sense...a highly intelligent person with little encouragement or perserverance may end up having a lot of difficulty in life, but an average IQ with lots of encouragement and perserverance may go very far in life.
I really liked reading about the type of positive reinforcement we should be using with our kids. I tend to be the one to give constant praise....maybe too much. I find myself thinking about the praise I use now. I am interested to see how they grow now that I'm saying..."I like your persistence...or your organization is making your work neater...your study habits are paying off".

I definatley see students who give up easily in my classroom. Teaching them perserverance and determination is tiring but rewarding. Giving them the resources to independently figure out answers is pertinent.
I agree with Kristie that giving students the resources to figure out things confidently and independently is such an important skill to instill in young children. I find that some of my students often say things like “I can't, I don't know how; you do it for me..." I try to provide them with encouragement and with plenty of modeling in hopes of them deciding to try something new. But I believe that so many of these students are so afraid of failing either because they have been reprimanded for doing so in the past or are so used to having everything accomplished for them that they don't necessarily know how or want to attempt anything independently. So perhaps changing my form of praise and encouragement for these students from a "yes, you can definitely do it" kind of tone to a "let's see how much we can accomplish together or look how well you did with this task, perhaps you could attempt the same with this". Giving the students a personal sense of accomplishment rather then a guaranteed success or failure.
This chapter made me think of a few students in my class. I have those few that "hold the class hostage" and have inappropriate outbursts. Sometimes I have difficulty trying to reason with the child and discuss the situation at hand. It is those times when I have to take a step back and remind myself that they are only 6 or 7 years old. They don't have the approriate coping skills and by acting out, they are coping in thier own way. I have one student who is really going through a rough time at home. Because of this, the student is not reading, learning math skills, or appropriate social skills. Instead of scolding the child, I need to think of the root of the issues and come up with a plan to help the child.
I agree that empty praise is ineffective. When praising a child it should be for the effort and hard work they put forth. I like the part in the chapter that stated "if praise is not handled properly, it can become a negative force, rather than strengthening students, makeds them feel more passive and dependent on the opinion of others." I see that with some students in my room. They are in a way scared to take risks because they are worried of what I might think. That I won't in fact "praise" them for doing a good job.
I was struck by the author's citation of the report form the society for Research in Child Development that "The first few years of schooling appear to be built on a firm foundation of children's emotional and social skills." (p. 173) And, that children need to learn the two separate skills of recognizing their emotions and labeling their emotions. I can think of several students who just aren't there yet - they don't have these skills. And when I look at their family situations, it becomes apparent that they haven't had the benefit (again) of parents, family members, and/or caregivers who have taken the time to talk to them and help them develop the ability to regulate their emotions. I feel like I spend a lot of time with these children in particular talking about anger, sadness - and alternatives to those feelings, how they can change the way they interact with their peers - trying to "distract" them before they go into "emotional overdrive", as the authors discuss on p. 172. It's clear that these are the kids who do "less well in school." So, once again, I think that it's our job as preschool teachers to play the role of the parent with these children, and maybe back off a little on the "academics" to help these students develop their emotional intelligence, which will benefit them in their later school experiences.
I too have had students with emotional outbursts that "hold the classroom hostage". It is very tiring to handle these situations, but like Nicole M said you have to remember that they are only 5 or 6 and probably come from homes that do not give them emotional support.

As far as praise, I too think I overpraise students most of the time. I'm going to watch what I say now and make sure I commend the students thinking process and work effort more.
I see it year after year, the emotionally well-adjusted child who seems to glide effortlessly through the school year. They makes friends easily, work well in a group and are open to learning new things even if the concepts are difficult. They certainly seem a happier lot and can focus on learning as opposed to struggling with peers. As teachers we must really focus more on working with the “whole child” not just the cognitive/intellectual part, so all students can become successful.

I also agree totally with the author’s assertion about parents who push their children throughout school and life focusing on getting them into the Ivy League Schools or the top of their professions to the exclusion of all else… as if it were the Holy Grail. She states “What good will it be if the child becomes a miserable “successful” human being, unhappy, unable to regulate his emotions, unable to understand why people act the way they do?” Later the book quotes Professor Gardner who is a huge proponent of emotional intelligence as saying “Many people with an IQ of 160 work for people with an IQ of 100, if the former have poor intrapersonal intelligence and the latter have a high one” As a parent and an educator I wholeheartedly agree! I also know that this aspect of emotional intelligence is a hot topic amongst employers of big and small companies. They want people who are motivating, able to fit in and get along with other people. Which is just what we have been reading and talking about.



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