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What Will Make Your Kid Succeed in Kindergarten?

The secret to amazing teachers and successful 6-year-olds, pulled from scientific research that has yet to even hit the library shelves. Read More

good stuff

Todd - Thanks for another great post - I love the way you look at the data. So a couple of questions...
1 - You mention that "being positive" has less of an impact than emotional support. Does being negative have any effect on kids' performance?
2 - Does this translate to grades higher than kindergarten?
3 - Does being emotionally consistent make you a better parent, too?




Hey Doug,

1- interestingly, the positive or negative climate does not impact kids across the board. There were many academic skills that simply were unaffected by the emotional tone of the classroom.

2- this is the first study on the variability of emotional support by teachers. I hope people extend this work. Is it relevant to college kids? I suspect that the "fit" between teacher styles and the personalities of older kids will become more important. For instance, some kids need more structure and others want more creative freedom. I suspect the same might be the case for organizations. But these are just hypotheses and I look forward to more data on these more dynamic concepts.

3- if my memory serves me well, the answer is yes. But no references come to mind. Now I'm going to look for them...

thanks for the brain food.

A few questions!

Hi Todd,
I enjoyed the post as well as the comments/ questions from Doug and your replies. When you say that "positive or negative climate does not affect kids across the board" I wonder how that is measured. When teachers are recorded during observations, is every statement by the teacher classified as positive or negative? How is the the quality and specificity of so called "positive" comments or negative comments accounted for? In my experience, positive statements impact students and motivate them to work harder when they are backed up with evidence in student's growth and work. Teachers can be "positive" yet not effective and actually impede progress if they give empty praise and/or label students as "smart." In any case, I don't see that you are completely writing off the importance of a positive environment, yet I wonder if your message may mislead some readers to conclude that educators' efforts to be aware of their language and comments with students are not so important. I don't think that you are saying that ( are you?) , and I know you are emphasizing consistent support.
I do understand that consistency is huge and it makes sense. It sort of reminds me of the importance of consistency in the formation of secure attachments between young children and their caregivers. I also know, as a teacher, that I can be consistent yet also use novelty to engage and arouse my students to a ready state for learning. Perhaps your English teacher was consistent in his use of evoking emotion and getting students' attention through non-conventional means.
In any case, you've clearly got me thinking..and curious about how to optimize my learning environment and interactions so that my students are ultimately successful!
Thank you.

What Will Make Your Kid Succeed in Kindergarten?

Thank you so much for your insightful article on surviving kindergarten. On the other hand, I believe kids have so much they can teach us about the world.

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Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at George Mason University and author of The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your 'Good' Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment more...

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