New Age thinking for our young scholars
Aug. 17, 2015
by Jenni Sebora

Remember the days when writing a research paper meant physically going to the library to do research – viewing microfiche, searching through journals, magazines, and digests? Typing your paper on a typewriter using white-out to correct mistakes? I do. You had to search to find facts and information.

In today’s world, facts are at our fingertips. Type in or just verbalize a question you want answered and within seconds, there are usually numerous “answers” via the Internet.

The resources available and learning are different for our youth these days. Researching a topic is vastly different, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to synthesize and organize that information into a structured format of some kind, whether it be a paper, or computer presentation that is formatted on a smart board.

In our modern world and in our schools, students don’t have to be bombarded with facts because facts are at their fingertips. Of course, there are facts and some rote learning that need to take place, such as multiplication facts and the alphabet. However, our children need to be “taught” how to think, how to process information, problem solve, how to critically think and look at issues.

With a new school year upon us, we can help get our young scholars ready for such thinking. For some children, going back to school is exciting and pleasurable. For others, it can be more stressful, and even frustrating.

We want going back to be pleasurable for all of our children, or at least more pleasurable. My youngest daughter loves buying school supplies. Even choosing her pencils and tablets is very joyful to her. She loves school and all it has to offer, including seeing her teachers, socializing, brainstorming, lunch with her friends, reading, and the list goes on. She can’t wait to get back inside those physical walls of school. She has a zest for knowledge and thinking. It really is fun to hear her talk about it.

My middle daughter, a high schooler, is not quite as zestful about school. For one thing, she would do better with the whole idea of school if she could just start her school day one hour later. Her circadian rhythm really is that of many teenagers. It is factual that starting school a little later, especially for high schoolers, would be better for their brains, but that is a whole other topic and logistically is difficult (extracurriculars, after school activities, bus schedules, etc.). She loves being with her friends and loves being around people, even her teachers, and is happiest when she is around others, which is good for school. School is a social environment, and it should be.

While my teenage daughter was gone with a friend and her family for a weekend getaway, my youngest daughter and I did the annual school supply shopping. We both enjoy this. We decided that we would pick out some fun folders with sentiments and some cool tablets and pencils for sister. We also purchased a flannel shirt for her to surprise her and ignite some excitement for the new school year. (Flannel shirts are in, especially tied around your waist, so I have been told).

When we got home, we placed the purchases on her bed for her to discover when she got home. And guess what, it worked. She thanked us, looked over her supplies and tried on her shirt.

Sometimes just those little things can ignite fun and excitement. Decorating one’s locker or even purchasing some new socks, perfume, etc. can help get the attitude for school in the right direction. Dress up sometimes. It is true, that this can have an impact on how you internally feel for the day.

If a student does not feel joyful about school in some aspect, they will downshift in attitude and focus. Let’s help our students get off to a good start to the school year. It is amazing what some simple things can do.

We want our young scholars to want to learn and think, to be critical thinkers and know how to problem solve. These are vital skills in today’s world.

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