Listen To Your Child

listening-to-childThere are a number of things we can do to make our children’s lives happier, whether a parent or teacher small changes in how we behave can have a big effect.

One of the most important things is being able to listen. We all instinctively know this but perhaps neglect it when it’s our own kids. As a parent you will probably be hit by a barrage of communication all day and it is very tempting to just switch off. If you are busy or trying to concentrate on something then again you won’t be inclined to listen to what your child wants to say.

We need to remember that children are whimsical creatures, they think of something and the first thing they want to do is tell Mum or Dad. We should be flattered rather than annoyed that they want to bestow their thoughts upon us. Your child will happily butt in on conversations or your thoughts regardless. But annoyance is the worst favour we can return.

You can teach your children some etiquette in terms of this. You could say something along the lines of “Wow thanks so much for telling me, now next time you want to tell me something and Mummy is talking first you just need to say ‘Mummy, I need to tell you something’ and then just wait a moment so I can stop what I am doing and listen”. After a few times they will get the idea and you can manage the interruption better. Make sure you do then stop and listen, keep your end of the bargain.

When you listen then make really sure that you put your full attention on what your child is saying. Wait for them to finish and make sure they have finished. You can ask them “Is that everything you wanted to tell me?” Once they have said it all they will be fine because you are showing them that they are important and what they have to say is important to you.

It will also allow you to truthfully say at another time “You have to listen to Mummy now, because Mummy has something important to say to you, Mummy listens to you doesn’t she? So now it’s your turn.” Most children have a strong sense of justice and will see that this is fair.

Once your child has told you what they want to tell you then make sure you let them know you’ve heard it. Give them an appropriate answer if necessary or at the very least a response like “Wow! That’s amazing!” or “Really? That’s really interesting.” Having shown that you have listened, taken in what they said and that you have heard it they will most likely go and resume whatever it was they were doing.

Do this in your daily life with your child and you will see the difference. If you love your child then listen to them, it couldn’t be simpler than that.

important-listenGuest Blog by David Evans Bailey

David Evans Bailey has an MA in Digital Media Art. He taught ICT and Photography at Secondary School level for several years as well as being involved in many theatrical and other endeavours. His background is an IT professional. You can see some of his artwork at www.davidevansbailey.com

Handwriting For Kids

good-handwritingIt may be unfashionable to talk about quality of handwriting, but if a child does not learn to write clearly and legibly, he will be at a disadvantage.

In this day and age where all children are well versed in the use of computer keyboards and other high tech means of producing a written page of work, it can be argued that they don’t need to be able to write well by hand.

It is true that essays and formal presentations would normally now be typed and word processing is an essential skill which must be learned. Continue reading

Answering The Question: GCSE English Language

examsI have covered aspects of the importance of answering the question earlier in my blogs. This time I would like to look at examination questions. In many ways this is the most vital time for your child because so many marks can be lost at this level.

Here is part of a question from a specimen OCR GCSE Examination Paper for English which may help to show what I mean. The candidates had to read eye-witness accounts of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. This excerpt relates to one of them. Continue reading

Focus

stage-focusStill concentrating on this series of approaching writing from the perspective of a theatre director, let us consider focus. What does it mean?

In theatre, focus is that point where, at any given moment, the audience has its attention. This is quite deliberate. The director decides exactly where he wants to direct attention. He can then use various methods to direct the audience to look at that point.

Dialogue naturally helps this process along, because the audience tends to look at whichever actor is speaking. But a director can change this by having actors look towards the area of focus – an actor who is silent or a doorway. A sudden sound, or lighting can be used for the same purpose. Continue reading

Best Computer For Your Child

computer-laptopThough we are on the brink of the summer holidays, a new year of school will soon be upon us. Your child may well be starting school or even moving up perhaps from primary to the seniors. You may also be thinking of what computer to get your child next. There is no doubt that having access to computer equipment is important to your child’s education and also their ability to survive and compete in the modern world.

Firstly you should ascertain what the intended school’s policy is on personal equipment. Some schools will allow or even encourage laptops and tablets, others may provide them and others may not allow students to bring their equipment to school. Continue reading

A Holiday Musical Challenge

music-sumer-transcriptSumer is a cumen in – famous words from a mid 13th century manuscript.

Famous for being the earliest known example of music written to be sung in parts (or counterpoint), this lively tune, once learnt, never forgotten, has popped up in the most unlikely places in recent years. It was sung as part of the opening ceremony of the 1972 Olympics and even appeared in the children’s programme Bagpuss (1974). It has featured in pop songs and symphonies and is perhaps our best known, medieval piece of music.

You can listen to an excellent performance by the Hilliard ensemble on YouTube. You will hear the first part start singing and when they have finished the first bar (there is a cross over the bar line), the second part commences. They continue singing in a round (as in Frère Jacques or London’s Burning). Meanwhile another part sings the 5th line over and over and another part sings the 6th line over and over. Continue reading

Read The Question (Part Two)

understanding-questionsThis is my second blog on the importance of reading the question correctly. I have already covered some ways which can help: reading the question three times; underlining the important words and recognising which questions are likely to be open to misinterpretation.

Today I want to look at reading the question in Comprehension tasks. There are several types of questions in Comprehension. However, the most important step is reading and UNDERSTANDING the question, no matter what type it is. Some questions are straightforward:

‘What time did the train arrive?’ : ‘Who won the race?’ Continue reading

Timing: Changing The Pace

chair-for-directorContinuing with my series of blogs approaching writing as from the eye of a theatre director, let’s look at timing. First, what is timing?

In theatre, timing is about when, how and where an actor says a line or performs an action. It’s about the impact of pauses, delivery, action and freezes. It’s also about the relative speed of the action. Tension needs slower action; excitement gets faster action; thinking has a pause, and shock will cause stillness. Continue reading

What Is Happening To ICT?

kids-computersThere may well be some confusion in schools and with parents as the National Curriculum has replaced ICT (Information Communication Technology) with a new subject of Computing. New GCSEs have also appeared labelled Computer Science, which may muddy the waters even further.

To try and clarify this situation is not easy as there are no clear guidelines or indications as to which way a school will choose to go. However, the subject of ICT is a broad based subject to impart digital skills and knowledge across a broad spectrum of technology, which includes a number of popular Microsoft applications such as Word and PowerPoint. Computing itself encompasses some of this but extends more into programming and a much more technical knowledge of computers themselves. Computer Science therefore is again even more technical and programming based. Continue reading

Fancy A Good Story?

song-peter-wolfFor those who like a good story, there is a wealth of material in the classical music repertoire for young people to enjoy and explore. Peter and the Wolf by Prokoviev, Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas are all-time favourites.

Further exploration could include Aaron Copland’s Rodeo, George Gershwin’s American in Paris, Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Grieg’s Peer Gynt suite, Holst’s Planet suite, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.. Continue reading