Negative Self-Talk & How to Change It

15th January 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

Negative Self-Talk & How to Change It, by Shad Helmstetter.  After reading about how one of Caesar’s assassins, Brutus, shifted himself from probable victory into suicidal defeat at the Battle of Philippi, (at least as detailed in The Last Assassin),  we became interested in negative self-talk. Helmstetter’s short, uplifting book tackles an important issue––how we talk to ourselves makes a big difference in how we feel about ourselves, how we interact with others, and ultimately, how successful we are, at least according to however we define success.  As Helmstetter notes, “The problem is that Negative Self-Talk Disorder is an unconsciously acquired disorder that becomes physically, chemically, wired into your brain. (It becomes an actual disorder––faulty wiring––in the brain.) If you do nothing to change it, it not only stays, it also gets progressively worse. It becomes a part of your programs, and follows the rules under which your brain operates. Imagine meeting a sour, pessimistic, down-in-the-mouth person who is negative about everything. When you meet someone like that, it is clear that person did not suddenly become a negative, unhappy person overnight. People who are super-negative––whether they are aware of it or not––have worked at it. Probably for years. Day after day, thought after thought, they have, usually without knowing it, wired their brains to see the world in a darker, more insecure, less enlightened and optimistic way.”

If you’re looking for ideas about how to get yourself out of a negative way of treating yourself,  Helmstetter’s book is a good place to start. The book is a bit of a self-promotion for his audio materials, but then, we like Helmstetter’s audio materials, so we didn’t mind.

A Beautiful Visual Explanation of Bayes Theorem

Bayes Theorem is one of the most useful theorems around, especially when it comes to new breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.  This terrific video by 3Blue1Brown allows you to understand the theorem in a concrete visual way.  The video also showcases teaching at its best. 

Learning & the Brain Online Educational Conference

Barb gave the opening keynote for the last Harvard-MIT-Dana Alliance “Learning & the Brain” educational conference in Boston in November, 2019–one of her last live, face-to-face engagements before the COVID social-distancing shutdown. The good news is that on Feb. 20, 2021, the conference returns in online form. The lineup of speakers is incredible!  And Barb’s own talk will include wonderful updates on learning from her speech last year. (Neuroscience is advancing rapidly!)  Register for this outstanding online conference here.

5 Ways to Support Kids With ADHD During Remote Learning

When it comes to special challenges, perhaps our most frequent question from parents and teachers relates to helping students with ADD and ADHD. This outstanding article by Katy Reckdahl in Edutopia provides useful background and excellent tips that are also useful for all students.  Key grafs: 

“ADHD affects the entire brain,” says Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, MD, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine. “Your brain does not make enough dopamine or epinephrine—chemicals that are important for self-control and self-regulation. So students with ADHD can’t regulate their impulses, their attention, their emotions. They struggle with being disorganized and with time and money management.”

Remote classrooms pose special problems. Researchers recently found that 31 percent of parents of kids with ADHD described remote learning as “very challenging” and struggled to support their children at home. Educators and students can be at a disadvantage, too. In the physical classroom, teachers can generally see when students with ADHD are confused, fidgety, and in need of a quick refocus prompt—but many of these signals are lost in translation during Zoom instruction. And because learning from home is generally more independent, it requires more focus and organization, two qualities that are often in short supply for students with ADHD.

To support kids with ADHD in elementary and middle school, the educators we spoke with said they’re focusing on the fundamentals of smart online teaching: brain and body breaks, chunking lessons into shorter units, and connecting with and soliciting feedback from their students—but especially those with ADHD—as often as possible. “In regular classrooms, the whole first quarter is about understanding students’ learning styles and creating partnerships with them to learn what I might do to help them,” says New Orleans elementary school educator Sari Levy. “We can’t forget that point when we’re teaching digitally.”

If you are interested in helping students keep their focus, you’ll enjoy reading the whole article.

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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