Archive for Communication

High Stakes Testing? Stress!!!

Posted on Communication, General, Parenting, Self-Esteem, Stress February 24, 2015 by Mary George

As spring approaches we brace ourselves for the inevitable, controversial Common Core state testing that our children will endure. How can we help manage our children’s emotional well being through this difficult time? How much DO YOU KNOW about WHAT your children are being testing on? WHY are they being tested in this manner? However you may feel about the Common Core standards or the mandated assessments, it is important that we have a basic understanding of the testing and how to help ourselves and our children learn how to handle stress through this difficult time.

A brief history as to how and why our children are being tested…

 In the 1990’s the United States educational policy makers made a change in the testing methodology to move beyond the normal multiple choice, fill in the bubble tests due to critical opinion about biased testing and a narrowing of the curriculum that was being taught. Their answer was to focus on alternative methods of assessment such as portfolios and open-ended tasks coupled with multiple-choice testing. While some of the new educational methods proved to narrow the ethnic and gender gaps, their outcome was mixed at best. It proved to be too expensive to implement and scoring was unreliable in portfolio assessments. This moved us to what is touted as the greatest US educational reform policy created, the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. This legislation required states to adopt test-based statewide accountability systems, testing annually in reading, math and eventually science from grades 3 through 8, plus one year of high school. This is where the High Stakes testing that our children deal with today derives. It is a policy that is considered to focus on social reform rather than educational reform and is constantly under fire. Jonathan Supovitz, an associate professor at Penn Graduate School of Education and senior researcher for the Consortium for Policy Research in Education expands upon this detailing the history of our educational policy and the possible future of our country’s educational reform in “IS HIGH-STAKES TESTING WORKING?” – an article worth reading.

**It is worth noting that as recently as February 11, 2015, “a bill dubbed the Student Success Act [designed to change No Child Left Behind], passed on a party-line vote (21-16). It would significantly scale back the role of the federal government in overseeing public education, give states more flexibility in designing accountability systems and consolidate dozens of federal education programs. Block grant funding also would allow states to distribute federal money to districts and schools as they see fit. The bill is expected to move to the House floor in less than two weeks.” House Lawmakers Push ‘No Child’ Overhaul Forward, US News & World Report.

“High Stakes Testing” is at an all time high with the Common Core guidelines for curriculum.  Stress is a part of our everyday lives for us and our children, and learning skills to help manage those stressors is an important life skill. Please join My Remarkable Self™  on March 4th from 7pm – 8:30pm at Rye Recreation, as we discuss and learn new skills to manage our worries was well as our children’s in an effort to help prepare them for the upcoming State Mandated Standardized tests. Contact us at info@myremarkableself.com for registration or for further details.

—Mary & Claire

Great articles to read:

What It’s Like to Take a Common Core Test – February 2014

Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes – June 2014

 

© Kids Empowered LLC 2015 and My Remarkable Self. All Rights Reserved.

Stop Cyberbullying? Communication is KEY

Posted on Bullying, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Cyberbullying, General, Technology January 23, 2015 by Mary George

What is Cyberbullying? Break that word down – What is bullying? Do you really know? Most do not. In today’s world the term “bully” is a hot word that is often misused as well as confused with conflict. Conflict is normal and healthy, and children need to learn to navigate conflict without their parents constantly trying to solve their problems for them. On the other hand, “bullying” is an action that is repeated and targeted. Cyberbullying is also repeated and targeted though online and is specific to minors.

What can we do to understand and prevent Cyberbullying? Communication with your child is key. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of talking to your child. A recent Huffington Post article, “Family Dinners May Help Kids Cope with Cyberbullying,” states, “Like victims of face-to-face bullying, kids who experience internet bullying are vulnerable to mental health and substance use problems – but spending more time communicating with their parents may help protect them from these harmful consequences.”

The Huffington Post sites a study conducted by Frank J. Elgar of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University in Montreal, in which he and his team anonymously surveyed voluntary data from more than 18,000 teens at 49 schools in Wisconsin. Here are their findings:

 

  • “About one in five students said they had been bullied on the Internet or by text messaging at least once over the past year.

 

  • Cyberbullying was more common for girls than for boys, for kids who had been victims of face-to-face bullying, and for those who themselves had bullied other kids in person.

 

  • Cyberbullying tended to increase as students got older.

 

  • Youngsters who had been cyberbullied were more likely to also report mental health problems like anxiety, self-harm, thoughts of suicide, fighting, vandalism and substance use problems, according to results in JAMA Pediatrics September 1.

 

  • Almost 20 percent of the kids reported an episode of depression, while around five percent reported suicide attempts or misuse of over the counter or prescription drugs.

 

  • Teens who were often cyberbullied were more than twice as likely to have been drunk, fought, vandalized property, or had suicidal thoughts, and were more than four times as likely to have misused drugs than those who were never cyberbullied.

 

  • As the number of weekly family dinners increased, the differences in mental health issues for kids who were or were not cyberbullied decreased.

 

‘The more contact and communication you have with young people, the more opportunities they have to express problems they have and discuss coping strategies,’ Elgar said. ‘Essentially the relationships between victimization and all other mental health outcomes were lessened with more frequent family dinners.’ ”

Family dinners to us signal a time when you can connect and talk to your child or children without the interruption of phones, computers or other distractions. It is quality time when the events of that day can be discussed and you all check in with each other. It is basic undistracted communication with your child that will allow you into their world and them into yours. Discuss with your child what quality time they enjoy with you and find a way to make it happen. Enjoy it and appreciate it.

While findings and statistics such as the above study are hard to find because cyberbullying is a newer problem, we can do our best to learn from the knowledge at hand and use them as a guide to help us understand the growing problem of cyberbullying and prevent it from happening to our children.

— Mary & Claire

**My Remarkable Self is available to give informational Cyberbullying Workshops for parents, students, educators and businesses. Please contact us for further information.**