Book review: How your child learns best by Judy Willis

By Anita Matthews
Published in  ParenThots, The Star, March 8, 2010

HOW YOUR CHILD LEARNS BEST
By Judy Willis, MD, MEd
Publisher: Sourcebooks

Parents and teachers who struggle to motivate and inspire their children to learn will certainly benefit from Dr Judy Willis’ book that offers “brain-friendly strategies to ignite the learning process”.

Her combined qualifications as a neurologist and school teacher, who had the opportunity to experiment brain-friendly techniques on her own children, further underscores the value of the strategies shared in this book.

Having read brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor’s book My Stroke of Insight that documented her full recovery after suffering a massive stroke, Willis’ book had a ready reviewer at hand. Taylor had written extensively of the plasticity and capacity of a brain to relearn the old or learn new things. Imagine what a parent can do with a regular kid by adopting Willis’ methods.
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Book review: We need to talk by Richard Heyman

By Anita Matthews
Published in ParenThots, The Star, Feb 8, 2010

WE NEED TO TALK - TOUGH CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR KIDS
By Richard Heyman
Publisher: Adams Media

Communications professor Richard Heyman’s book is a refreshing change from the standard staple available on store shelves. Instead of focusing on why parents need to communicate with their offspring, Heyman details the “hows”.

That nailed it for me. As a parent I have often found it difficult to say the right thing to my children and more often than not, I come off sounding as if I am taking sides. Needless to say, most times, the right words come to me only in retrospect. Perhaps I should write down past experiences for future reference. That is exactly what Heyman delivers in the 200-odd pages of this very useful book.

He starts off by sharing his and his wife’s experience of teaching their son the value of responsibility. The latter was 18 and of legal age but was jobless and not interested in college. According to Heyman, his son had always rejected parental authority and they knew they were unable to manage him. The best solution was for him to move out and take charge of his own life.

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Toddlers on the net: When should you get your child a PC?

by Anita Devasahayam

Children have become the new target of Internet pushers. Parents mesmerised by slick advertising campaigns, and not wanting their kids to be left behind, are taking the bait. But when is it the right time to introduce computers to children? And does the technology really provide them greater opportunities to be creative?

Educators are beginning to question the drive to get children on computers and on the Net at an early age — even before they can write, spell or do arithmetic. American educational psychologist Jane M Healy, PhD, in her eye-opening book: Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds — For Better And Worse points out that computers, used in the wrong way, can actually hinder a child’s educational development.

With 35 years experience in teaching, Healy, a former tech-pusher, made an about-turn after three-years of exhaustive research in hundreds of schools across the United States. According to her findings, children under seven don’t really need to be exposed to computers at all as it affects their brains and physical health. “The brain undergoes certain ‘critical’ or ’sensitive’ periods in both childhood and adolescence, when learning environments exert special kinds of effects and when certain types of activities and stimulation are most appropriate and necessary for the brain to reach its potential. If we waste or subvert these developmental windows, the losses may be irrecoverable,” writes Healy.

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