Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Notes from Sian Beilock, GPS December 4 2014 Event


            We have all done this. Practiced and prepared for the big exam, speech, presentation or performance. But in the moment we forget, flounder and fail. Why? Sian Beilock, Ph. D. can tell us.

            An Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago, Beilock (http://sianbeilock.com/)  is an expert on performance and brain science and the author of a new book,  Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting it Right When You Have To. December 4th she gave her insights and tips at the Glenbard Parent Series at Glenbard South. 

            Research has indicated that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at an activity. Beilock explains that “deliberate practice” or practicing something correctly is most important, as is “varied” practice which means people should try different activities instead of just focusing on one.

            Why do people “choke” under pressure? Beilock calls it “paralysis analysis.” A malfunction occurs in the pre-frontal cortex, the large area of the brain that governs thoughts and emotions. Stress causes worry, which causes people to start thinking too much about performance details. Too much analysis of the details causes “brain paralysis” and results in “messing up.” Actually, it is stress that causes the pre-frontal cortex to fail to connect well with the rest of the brain’s functions.

            To get the connections back, Beilock recommends:  1) taking a break from the activity, even for a few minutes; 2) talking the problem over with someone; 3) getting some rest; or 4) take a walk in nature. Even looking at pictures of nature can help.

            What can we do about negativity?  If you haven’t done well at an activity, Beilock suggests that you think about how you can do things differently next time. People also need to think about why they are going to succeed. When people think of themselves in negative terms they will do worse on a task. Mindset matters.

            Other strategies Beilock offered to avoid “choking” included: 1) closing the time gap between training and competition; 2) “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Believe that you are capable and make sure your body posture is reflective of that attitude; and 3) journaling before the big task helps to minimize anxiety.

            All in all, success is more than simply what you know. Attitudes, motivation and anxiety all affect performance.

Suzanne Burdett is a freelance writer and a Glenbard parent.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why do some children succeed while others fail?
Important New GPS Program in the New Year
Mark your calendars NOW!

January 21 might seem words away today but we all know it will be here in no time. Please place the date on your calendars and websites-as all are welcome to this free and important program which will be of interest to all.  And warm wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.  

The Glenbard Parent Series : (GPS) Navigating Healthy Families presents "How Children Succeed! Beyond Smart -- How Grit, Curiosity, and Character Help Kids Thrive" at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 21 at the College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center (MAC) 425 Fawell Blvd. Glen Ellyn.

Why do some children succeed while others fail?  Can character, rather than IQ,  be the secret to real and lasting success?

The story that is often told about childhood and success , stresses intelligence over all:  with the greatest success coming to those children who score the highest on tests -- from preschool admissions ‘exams’ to high school SATs. In this provocative program, New York Times best-selling author Paul Tough cogently argues that the qualities that matter most for life-long success in our children have much more to do with personality skills such as  curiosity, optimism, perseverance, and self-control.

Tough’s GPS workshop will introduce parents to a new generation of researchers and educators who are using science to uncover the mysteries that help to mold ‘character.’ Through their stories, Tough reveals how these newly discovered insights can be used to transform young peoples’ lives. By showing how nature and nurture are intertwined, Tough demonstrates the surprising ways in which parents do—and sometimes do not—prepare their children for successful adulthood,  providing a blueprint into how to improve the lives of all children.

Tough's book "How Children Succeed' has spent years on the best-seller lists. A contributing writer /editor to the New York Times Magazine, Paul Tough is also the author of  "Whatever it Takes", a compelling look at the groundbreaking work of the Harlem Children's Zone and its leader Geoffrey Canada, named Best Book-2008 by the Wall Street Journal.Tough has also contributed articles to magazines including This American Life and The New Yorker, where he has honed his focus upon education, poverty, parenting, and politics.

Don't miss this hopeful presentation which will change our understanding of the powerful role parents and other adults must play in nurturing character traits in our children -- traits that both foster resilience and help insure real, lasting life-success.  The public is invited to this free special event at a very special location.  Doors open at 6:30pm.

GPS is generously sponsored by the Cebrin Goodman Center, CASE (Cooperative Association for Special Education), he College of DuPage, the DuPage Medical Group, the Emmy Gaffey Foundation, and the Trust Company of Illinois.

For information on all GPS programming go to www.glenbardgps.org or contact Gilda Ross, Glenbard Student and Community Projects Coordinator, at 630-942-7668 and by email @ gilda_ross@glenbard.org.