Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Make a Difference

Paul Torrance, author and writer best know for his research on creativity, asked a group of kids to think about the characteristics and traits of the "teachers who made a difference" in their lives. Torrance believed that these traits apply to parents, mentors and others who play a part in the lives of kids. His survey determined that "all of these special people":

  • Communicate through words and actions that the child, his or her beliefs, feelings and behaviors, are important.
  • Make it easy for kids to identify, express and accept their feelings.
  • Convey understanding and acceptance of their own feelings. Make it clear that they value the whole child, not just special abilities, behaviors or achievements.
  • Help kids to see their own special qualities, and express that they value these.
  • Allow and encourage kids to pursue special interests.
  • Set aside some focused time to be with the child.
  • Give encouragement and support for attempts, not just for successes.
  • Emphasize the value of cooperation, and are themselves models to show that working together works for everyone.