From an instructional styles perspective, Silver, Strong, and Perini (2007) noted that teachers who use mastery strategies focus on increasing students' abilities to remember and summarize. "They motivate by providing a clear sequence, speedy feedback, and a strong sense of expanding competence and measurable success." When focusing on interpersonal strategies, teachers use "teams, partnerships, and coaching" to help students better relate to the curriculum and each other. Understanding strategies help students to reason and use evidence and logic. Teachers "motivate by arousing curiosity using mysteries, problems, clues, and opportunities to analyze and debate." Self-expressive strategies highlight students' imagination and creativity. Teachers employ "imagery, metaphor, pattern, and what ifs to motivate students' drive toward individuality and originality." Finally, it's possible to use all four styles at the same time to achieve a balanced approach to learning (sec: Part One: Introduction, Figure B).
Students can work in all four styles, but tend to developstrengths in one or two of the styles. Each of these styles tends towardone of four dimensions of mathematical learning: computation, explanation,application, or problem solving. "If teachers incorporate all four styles into a math unit, they will build in computation skills (Mastery), explanations and proofs (Understanding), collaboration and real-world application (Interpersonal), and nonroutine problem solving (Self-Expressive)" (p. 74).
There are more than social graces to be lost in this. Nobody taught me how to recognize situations in which my looks would create jealousy or discord. Going to work, I often had to have one woman or another take me aside and explain that a coworker’s confusing behaviour stemmed from jealousy of my youth or looks. I could recognize a person upset with my productivity, or that I had just impressed a manager, but people who wanted to belittle me so they could be the best looking woman in the room made no sense to me. This was confusing and set me up for failure, or more often mockery, in some of my summer jobs during college. There were a few times it affected me in a classroom, too.
I don’t think that noticing, commenting or having beauty is offensive or condescending in and of itself. If I understand correctly, the main problem you seem to be addressing is that most of the beauty that exists today in America is unnatural, unsustainable and causes feelings of inferiority and ugliness when one can’t keep up with it.
I feel that in Israel, where I live, there are so many types of beauty both natural and tweaked that a woman can really feel comfortable dressing and primping herself as she sees fit without negating her overall worth as a person.
I love the conversation you had with that little girl but it should still be okay to fluff her dress and spin around all the while telling her how cute she is. My mother always told us we were beautiful and she meant it, even when we suffered from extreme fashion and beauty faux pas.
Like anything, don’t over do it. You wouldn’t incessantly talk to kids about books all the time and nothing else, just like you probably shouldn’t constantly praise their good looks. Switch it up a bit, and give praise when it’s needed. As one person said here, everyone is beautiful, just people see beauty differently. But sure, some are blatantly beautiful where others sometimes get overlooked. Confidence helps a person become beautiful, even in the adult world, men are attracted to confident women. Teach kids confidence, praise their abilities and compliment them.
I agree with you.
Giving complements to someone how thinks he or she is beautiful after spending time putting on various of clothes, scarfs etc is a nice thing, just as nice as saying “I like your style. Have a good time/evening/time.. When you got time we can play….”. By doing so, you give the person attention for the job the just put in dressing up/doing the hair/etc and then move on to do something together.
I don’t necessarily agree with you. I was very shy as a little girl, never heard that I looked pretty and never felt pretty. As an adult, not as a teenager, I still felt like I wasn’t pretty and everyone else was, so I dressed a little provocative, wore heavy makeup, stayed thin and was finally noticed. I was told several times that I looked like Connie Stevens. I was not happy, because I new it was all false. My parents had never made me feel like I was special and when I was in grade school, a male teacher let me know I was really plain. We had to take our baby pictures to school for some reason, and he said to me “you were a cute baby, what happened to you?” I am elderly now, and it no longer makes a difference to me,but as a young person, I felt awful.
I appreciated your article and wholeheartedly agree. Here is where I struggle and why I intentionally point out ALL traits I see in the young girls (and young boys) I work with as a school counselor…no one, not even my parents, said that I was pretty. My mother always said “pretty is as pretty does” and then she never complimented me…so I felt I never did anything right either. I didn’t feel exceptionally smart or talented, just good at doing the laundry. Now as an adult woman I struggle with self esteem, facial and body image. I truly believe if just one significant person in my life had told me I was beautiful I wouldn’t seek it in unhealthy ways. I tell students they are dressed nicely for school, I get excited when I hear them reading, I point out how glad I am to see them because they make me smile and I do all of this to fat, skinny, homely, beautiful, intelligent, special ed and struggling students. I believe EACH child is beautiful and they need to know it… not the beauty that the world holds but the beauty that they each hold. We can always find ONE good thing about a kid and make sure to tell them out loud, so others hear it! I also believe modeling appropriate work attire, coming to work with my hair done and ready to hit the ground running are good examples to students. There are days I wear no makeup and no jewelry…kids see me as less put together these days. I just tell them that I wanted to look more simple today but I’m still here to work for them…they accept that. The messages that we give children are so powerful and we are powerful force for good when we empower them to see the beauty inside of themselves and not look for approval from the world. I wish someone had done that for me!
I have to say I am one who is guilty of this. And it is something I will have to try hard to change. Especially because it is something that hits home for me personally. When younger I was always told how pretty/gorgeous I was, how skinny I was etc, but was never told how SMART I was or how far I could go in life. As I got older my Looks became an obsession. My self esteem was pretty low (And still is) And as my looks and weight became an issue I started to get depressed, and because it was something I relied on, I fell hard.
Thank you for printing this as I am a true believer. I learned this technique with girls – and boys – about how “who” they are is way more important than what they look like. I took it a step farther when my daughter started dressing herself at four years old that I allowed her to pick outfits to her desire as long as it was weather appropriate (not too many layers for a hot day/thin frilly dress for a winters day). She could add as many things as she could – and I had to laugh at the reactions from other parents when my daughter at 5 and 6 showed up in a plaid skirt, striped top, polka-dotted leggings, a red/white/blue crocheted shawl and red rubber boots. Never has this person I raised had an issue with how she looks in clothing. Now – at 17 she looks almost like every other teen but she always has something that is her own, from a crazy scarf to a wild pair of earrings. Whenever I see little ones who obviously dress themselves I congratulate the parent for letting them!
I don’t think it is wrong to tell a girl she is pretty or a boy he is handsome. My dad always told the world how beautiful his daughters were. However he also told me I had common sense and supported me when I went to college. My mom taught me a love for books, and many other things that brought me joy.
Most of all though I was given a foundation of who God was and I believe the most important thing we can do for our children and grandchildren is tell them that they are made in the image and likeness of our creator and that he has created them for a purpose that far outweighs anything they could even imagine on their own. I think everyone including girls need to know the purpose of why they are here. God created us to honor and serve and love Him with all of our hearts and He created us so we could reach our fullest potential whether we are a girl or a boy. I think the reason young girls are becoming so obsessed with appearance is because that is the culture they are growing up in. God has been kicked out of the classroom and out of a lot of the homes … and been replaced with media …that displays girls and women as overly sexualized images of what they are supposed to be.