Best of the web

Not asking 'how was school', motivating teenagers and debilitating anxiety in children – a selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

When Teenagers Bristle at ‘How Was School?’

(Lisa Damour, The New York Times)

Of all the failed attempts to start a conversation with your teenager, the above question must rate as the best/worst opener. Nothing guarantees a swifter shutdown than this seemingly innocuous enquiry. School is tough, writes the author, and teenagers would rather leave it behind. For parents, there are better approaches: specific questions, and picking up on a topic raised by your teenager.

Schools Tests ‘Kill Joy of Reading’, says War Horse Author.

(Judith Burns, BBC)

Tougher testing of  English school children has been introduced, with politicians arguing that previous expectations were too low. But at what cost?  War Horse author Michael Morpurgo says too much testing risks killing the joy of reading for children. Those who fail experience shame and anxiety. Tests help reinforce ‘almost an apartheid system of a kind in this country’ – those who read books, and those made to feel the world of words is not for them.

How can you Motivate Teenagers?

(Sarah O’Doherty, Irish Times)

It’s a myth that teenagers lack motivation, writes Dr Sarah O’Doherty, a clinical psychologist. Look at the lengths they will go to to get a concert ticket, or commit four hours to getting their hair and makeup just right. So how can you channel their natural motivation into doing things that don’t top their list of priorities?

For Kids, Anxiety about School can Feel Like ‘Being Chased by a Lion’

(Kavitha Cardoza, nprED)

We have all experienced some level of anxiety: dry mouth, sweaty palms, a pounding heart. In fact, anxiety is the most common mental health disorder. But for some children, anxiety is such a debilitating condition that they may not even make it to school.  This article looks at a program in the United States of America specifically geared to students with severe anxiety.