Communication and kids: When is it worth all the effort?

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My dad getting acquainted with me. He’s 38; I’m 19 days old.

Effective communication can take a lot of time!

Preparing a speech takes much more time than most people realize. Research. Organization. Interviews. Writing. Rewriting. Rehearsal. More rehearsal. Checking venue. Checking tech equipment. Getting decent graphics. Slideware. Travel. And on and on and on. Some experts say you need to devote an hour for every minute you will speak. Even when you’re speaking about a familiar topic, one you’ve spoken on dozens of times before, it takes more prep time than the average person realizes.

It’s like a child, in a way. When my first came along, people told us that a baby would take a lot more time than you realized. Smugly, we thought we were prepared. We were wrong. Life completely changed. Continue reading “Communication and kids: When is it worth all the effort?”

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“But I worked so hard!”

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Here’s one reality of preparing a speech: there is no necessary relationship between how much effort you put into preparing for a speech and how well it turns out.

It is true that most people (in my opinion) underestimate the effort required to do a good speech, in terms of research, organization, rehearsal, and delivery. Nevertheless, it is also true that you can spend months preparing for a speech and spend joules of energy, and still have a bad speech. Continue reading ““But I worked so hard!””

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Intelligence, even multiple intelligence, not real important in learning

Effort is. MindShift asks the question, Can Everyone Be Smart at Everything? and seems to conclude that we don’t need to be. My only quibble with the article is that the headline doesn’t seem to me to fit the article very well. But I like the article itself. We’ve known for awhile that telling a kid, “You’re so smart!” isn’t very effective. “Great effort!” works better. Even “Good job!” doesn’t work–kids tend to interpret as “you’re smart” or “you’re talented.” They don’t see that as something they have any control over, whereas they  do have control over their effort.

“[T]elling kids they’re smart when they get good grades encourages them to continue focusing on the grade rather than the learning process,” they say.

More importantly in light of recent practices, though, is this: the emphasis on learning styles can be just as counterproductive. When you tell a kid that he is a visual learner, it can leave the message that no one expects him to learn, say, via auditory means–again, he has no control over it. “Taking that idea one step further, kids might think that if they have to work hard at something, that must mean they’re not smart.”

Furthermore,

“Clearly, people have distinctive abilities and aptitudes. Some people have higher visual ability, and some have higher auditory ability,” said UCSD professor Hal Pashler, lead author on the report. “But the question is whether that predicts anything about the most effective way to teach them. … There is a complete lack of evidence of the sort.”

There’s a lot more food for thought there. Go take a look at the article to see the implications that seem, to me, to point beyond educating kids (as important as that is) to educating college students.

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Take the time

 

This will strike some as too personal for including on a college blog. So be it. It deeply relates to one of our main topics: communication.

My cousin died in a car accident over the weekend. Your cousins may or may not be close to you. My family in many ways has never been close, but on the other hand I had no brothers and sisters, and my cousin was born within two hours of my own birth. He was the relative I was closest to growing up, though we lived an hour apart.

We’ve kept in touch mostly through third parties–my mom would hear from his mom, etc. I kept meaning to talk to him, but I kept thinking I’d spend some time with him at the next family reunion. Thanks to life challenges in both our lives, though, as well as the fact that no one in our family bothers to organize family reunions, that never happened.

I didn’t even find out he had been killed until yesterday, and the funeral in West Tennessee was this morning. Opportunity gone.

He has had a tough life. We could have helped each other. Coulda woulda shoulda helps nothing and no one.

Communication doesn’t just happen. It takes effort; it takes consciousness; it takes attention. Is there someone you need to talk with? Do it today.

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