The Polite Times™
|A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.|
|Vol IV, No 07||
President’s Corner – Not Academics OR Social Skills
Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:
The first month of the new school year is coming to a rapid end. And, with it comes the emphasis, once again, on academic test scores. Already teachers and administrators are worrying about how they are going to cram everything that will be appearing on standardized tests this Spring into their students’ heads.
There is so much to do in the mere 180 or so days in a typical academic year. How, then, can we continue to justify losing a third of it or more to discipline and behavior management? Why are we willing – as parents, as educators, even as taxpayers – to accept the waste of the equivalent of 30/45/60 days out of the school year?
It’s because many of us seem to have this belief that teaching social skills in school will come at the expense of teaching academics. But, this perception couldn’t be further from the truth.
Face it: Johnny’s never going to be able to read if Johnny doesn’t learn to pay attention and to take his job as a student seriously!
This may sound extreme, but our children’s education is being negatively affected every day by disruptive and disrespectful kids in the classroom. Even if our own kids have excellent social skills, even one or two kids in the classroom who don’t can wreck the learning process for everyone! And, we don’t even have to be talking about real “troublemakers.” Students who interrupt, won’t focus on the job at hand, don’t pay attention to teachers or classmates when appropriate and necessary, and won’t follow along with the rest of the class interfere with the teacher’s ability to keep order and to teach!
If we were able to cut down on this low-level “behavioral noise” even a little bit, we’d find that we have more productive time for learning. Less time spent on discipline and behavior management leads directly to teachers with more energy for the job they are expected to do. Better staff and student morale contributes to a better school culture, which leads to lower absenteeism, among other things. Kids that are coming to school more regularly, feel positive about their environment, and are paying attention in class are bound to become better students.
Is it a wonder, then, that schools which have implemented PoliteChild programs have seen increases in their test scores? Not at all: if I were to give you an additional 10-30 productive days in your academic year, don’t you think academic performance would go up?
It’s not “academics OR PoliteChild”…it’s “academics AND PoliteChild.” PoliteChild programs are not the silver bullet, but they can enhance what is already being done in the classroom to improve academic learning by generating a culture and atmosphere of discipline, order, and … learning!
As Eileen Nurani, principal of Van Buren Elementary recently stated in a newspaper interview, “We are working hard to improve academics, but in addition, we want each child to have the social skills needed to go out into the work world and interact appropriately with others.” (Source: The Desert Sun, September 26, 2005)
Not just good students, but good people. Isn’t that what we all want?
And so, when organizations and schools have to struggle to find ways to fund programs like PoliteChild, you have to ask yourself:
It’s all about “No Child Left Behind,” right? Well, what is the cost of even one child left behind? The cost to the child, to the educational system, to our communities?
And, which child will be the one we decide doesn’t deserve every chance to succeed?
As always, we welcome any and all comments. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. Until next month, stay safe, and stay kind.
Corinne Gregory, President & Founder
In our May 2005 newsletter, we announced our joint effort with the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (www.abcte.org) to develop a series of Classroom Management courses for new teachers as part of their “Passport to Teaching” program.
“Classroom Management for Success” is now available and the first teacher-candidates are starting to enroll and participate in the on-line and DVD-based course.
Well, we now have our new teacher training product -- the SocialSmarts for Gradeschoolers DVD – available for purchase directly from our website!
While we do still take email and phone orders for this product, we thought we’d make it easy for anyone who wanted instant access to our products to order the DVD Instructor set directly through the PoliteChild Store. And, it’s the featured product on our home page!
To see exactly what it
is you get, and to order the full 4-DVD Instructor program, go to
be able to add this new tool to your shopping cart, along with our
popular “got manners?” T-Shirts, “PoliteChild on
Board” stickers, and more…
As our involvement with schools and school districts grows, it only makes sense for The PoliteChild to bring in expertise related to our target customers.
Therefore, The PoliteChild is pleased and honored to announce our newest member of our Advisory Board: Darlene Dolan.
Ms. Dolan has been involved in education since 1972, first with 14 years in the classroom and then in school and district administration. Her career at Moreno Valley School District included being honored as Principal of the Year and participating on the Moreno Valley School Board. After her move to the Coachella Valley, she became involved in Desert Sands Unified School District where she served as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment under Superintendent Dr. Doris Wilson.
Her achievements at Desert Sands landed her an invitation to present to the Office of Education in Washington DC on school choice. Her success with securing grants is well-known and broadly recognized.
In general, Ms. Dolan has developed a strong reputation for being passionate about quality education for all children. She has long recognized the link between good social skills and children’s academic achievement, and has been an ardent supporter of the PoliteChild and its contribution to our educational system.
We’re very excited about adding Ms. Dolan to our Advisory Board. For more on Ms. Dolan and her experience see her bio on The PoliteChild website.
|Parent Tip of the Month: Out of the Mouths of @#*&!! Babes?|
Recently, we had a couple of related inquires from parents wondering what to do about their children’s cursing or use of “unacceptable” words. So, it seems that this is a good topic for our Tip of the Month.
Often, our kids use offensive words without realizing that these words are offensive or rude. So, the first step in getting them to stop is to ask them if they know what the word or phrase actually means. Usually, if they don’t know the meaning of a word or phrase, explaining to them why what they are saying is offensive or rude is enough to get them to stop.
For younger kids, you can use a phrase such as a “nobody word” to remind your child that “nobody in our house uses that word.” If they inadvertently slip and say the offensive word/phrase, stating calmly, “oh, ‘nobody word!”” might be enough to reinforce the message that this is the word/phrase we don’t use. Even older kids can use the “Nobody Word” concept.
One thing you want to be careful about, however, is that you can inadvertently reinforce the use of the word or phrase you’re trying to eliminate. Remember the primary rules of child motivation: #1, kids are motivated by positive attention, and #2 they’ll take negative attention over being ignored.
As you’re trying to eliminate the “bad word,” you have to consider the reason for why your child is using the word. If they know it’s an offensive word or phrase, but continue to use it, it may be because there are playing the game of “Parental Gotcha.” In other words, they are trying to see what your reaction is going to be to the word and when they use it, they are getting a kick out of seeing your blood pressure go up.
If you suspect this is the case, again, first use reason and ask them why they are using the word or phrase. If you get the typical, “I dunno” answer, then you should calmly explain that you don’t like it when they use that word or phrase, and if they can’t learn to control their language, there will be consequences.
Your consequences should, as much as practical, be related to the offense. No, we don’t mean you should resort to washing your child’s mouth out with soap! But, perhaps having them writing a sentence 20/30/50 or more times “I will not use the word or phrase … <insert your phrase here> anymore” will help in both raising awareness of what the “nobody word” is, and be enough of a pain that they will think twice before saying the word or phrase again.
And, if the behavior persists, you can up the degree of consequence. After all, if they can’t manage to control their mouths, then perhaps they aren’t mature enough to go to the movies (privilege), or have a sleepover with other friends, or borrow the car. Revoking privileges is another way of applying consequences for an unwanted behavior.
But, the last thing you want to do is get mad or blow a gasket when your child repeatedly uses the word or phrase. Remember, they may be playing “Parental Gotcha” and your reaction is exactly what is motivating them to continue using the word or phrase: they know it drives you out of your tree! And, when you explode, they’ve won.
So, try as much as you can to retain your composure, and deal with the offensive language issue as calmly and rationally as possible. Then, no matter what tactic you have to use to break that bad habit, both you and your child can stay cool and not have the battle escalate to something worse than the minor skirmish you’re facing now.
Was this Parent Tip valuable? If so, we’d love to hear about it – or let us know what else you’d like to hear about, and we may feature it in an upcoming issue of The PoliteTimes.
The market for child-etiquette, manners and social skills education is nothing short of red-hot, and growing every month according to articles in USA Today and more. Are you ready to get involved in helping develop good social skills in our young people and participate in changing the world?
We’re especially interested in finding providers the following areas:
Los Angeles, CA and Orange County
Join the growing number of PoliteChild affiliates who are taking our proven courses to change the faces of their communities! If you’re interested in joining us or know of someone who is contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 866.485.4089. We’ll provide you with information about opportunities, benefits, return on investment, and everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether being a PoliteChild affiliate is the right business for you!
|PoliteChild in the News|
Wow, it’s been a busy September, especially locally in the California Desert. Here are a number of recent PoliteChild appearances and “media outings, ” and even some up-and-coming features.
The Desert Sun, Sunday, September 11, 2005. PoliteChild’s success featured in an article entitled, “Ok class, it’s time for a lesson in etiquette.”
KESQ NewsChannel 3, Coachella Valley, Tuesday, September 13th, 2005. Featured TV segment on PoliteChild aired during the 6pm news.
The Desert Sun, Eileen Nurani, principal at Van Buren Elementary School interviewed in the column, “3 Questions With:…” and discusses her goal for bringing PoliteChild programs to Van Buren this year.
Desert Magazine, October, 2005 issue. PoliteChild Founder and President, Corinne Gregory, named as one of the 10 people to invite to the table this month in the column, “The Perfect Party.”
November, 2005: PoliteChild interviewed for inclusion in a Pennsylvania-based parenting magazine on the importance of teaching our children gratitude – Just in time for the holidays!
November, 2005: PoliteChild has also been interviewed for another article to appear in San Diego Family Magazine. This one, too, talks about gratitude whether parents are doing their kids a favor by succumbing to their every whim and wish!
|What do you want to know?|
Every month, The PoliteTimes gains more readers and a broader audience, we’re continually striving to give you information, news and tips for our newsletters that are interesting and relevant.
Do you have something you’d like to see us cover or have a question you’d like us to answer (privately or through our newsletter)? If so, contact us at email@example.com or by phone at 866.485.4089!
We appreciate all those
folks who have already written us to give us feedback. We do read
each and every one of your letters and take
your input seriously! If you don’t get a response from us in
48 hours, please email us again. We’re finding that SPAM filters
seem to be overly efficient in blocking out correspondence sometimes,
even the correspondence that’s wanted and welcome!