Monday, September 5, 2011

Tools of the Mind vs. Tiger Parenting

I ran across an interesting piece here on BigThink which touches on Dr. Sam Wang's indictment of "Tiger Mom" principles:

“An important point here,” says Wang, “is that willpower [i.e. self-discipline] training in children is most effective when the child is having fun.”  Intense stress is a poor learning tool at best, and potentially harmful to the developing brain, especially in sensitive children. Gently guided play, a powerful approach exemplified by the school program “Tools of the Mind”,  can incorporate self-discipline training into the imaginative play that children naturally engage in and enjoy."
This roused my curiosity about Tools of the Mind as I was not familiar with this program. Check out this NPR article for more background on the methods. The program focuses on improving executive function; 
"good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child's IQ....  executive function is the ability to regulate one's own behavior — a key skill for controlling emotions, resisting impulses and exerting self control and discipline." 
For anyone really interested in learning more about this, I found a 3 part series (part 1, part 2, part 3) from Kids at Thought to be comprehensive and helpful for understanding the Tools of the Mind program, the research supporting it and the methods of applying it to teaching and raising your own children. 

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