Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to School Resolution #3

Part three of the series Top Ten Back to School Resolutions for tweens and their parents:

Back to School Resolution #3: Participate more.

This resolution was a bit surprising to hear tween girls articulate – I expected to hear it from parents and teachers about girls and was so glad to hear it from the girls themselves. To strive to participate more in class – also articulated as “Raise my hand more often” and “Pay more attention/ask more questions” – demonstrates a level of self awareness that is amazing to hear from 7 to 14 year old girls. It makes sense that students who engage more in class get more out of class because they are active in the dialogue and mentally present. One of the best tips I heard for achieving this goal also came from a tween: set a goal of making one comment a day in any class; once you’ve lived to tell the tale, it’s not so scary and makes it much easier the next time. To raise confident and competent girls, we need to coach them to take risks by either volunteering an answer or asking questions to clarify her knowledge. By putting herself out there and increasing class participation, girls become more self-confident and little “failures” (like an incorrect answer) only pave the way for greater successes. In the President’s speech to school kids today he also spoke about taking risks (using himself and Michael Jordan as examples) and learning how to fail because without making mistakes, one cannot improve.

As a parent gearing up for the new school year, I am also feeling a renewed sense of commitment to my children’s schools. Education funding is hurting at all levels, and schools need their PTAs and PTOs more than ever. It is in that spirit that I find myself signing up for one extra volunteer task and moving my schedule to accommodate at least some of those parent meetings. So this year I resolve to take those extra steps to stay informed and to participate – I want to be aware of any changes our schools will need to make in this economic climate and be sure that add my voice to the dialogue.

As you send your kids back to school, how are you dealing with the calls for extra help from parents? Participate! Add your voice to the dialogue! Please post your comment below or send me a tweet at www.twitter.com/MsTwixt.

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