|Image from here|
Andrew refers to resilience as the ability to overcome adversity and obstacles. Resilient children then, are able to persist with problems/learning and have a higher tolerance for "not knowing".
He spoke of many different facets for building resilience in children, such as fostering a sense of belonging (being part of a gang - your family) and learning positive values (being true friends rather than fair weather friends). You can read more about it here.
The presentation centred around overcoming anxiety for children. Andrew says, "the greatest inhibitor to learning is the fear that we will be exposed as inadequate. Rather than risking exposure many people give up, switch off, feign illness, play up, dumb themselves down and try to become as invisible as possible."
The building blocks for success in the classroom are threefold: 1. Persistence, 2. Concentration, 3. Memory.
Andrew focused on concentration during the presentation. Concentration is our ability to draw our energy towards a specific event which we can then attend to. There are two types of attention: diffuse (allows us to absorb information in an uncritical way without judging it) and narrow (focuses on specific details). Both types of attention are necessary for living and learning.
According to Andrew, people fall into different categories in relation to maintaining concentration. By learning how they show loss of concentration, we are able to help our children get back on track and learn.
The concentration styles he discussed, how they manifest in our children and what we can do about it are outlined below (what I took from his talk anyway). Andrew said that they begin to emerge at about the age of four.
1. Happy wanderers: visual distractibility- observant of irrelevant information; Use visual concepts to keep them on track
2. Frequent Flyers: space cadets whose ideas go zooming off to distant planets; Provide opportunity to brainstorm and then encouragement to pick a couple of realistic solutions – imagination time vs concentration time
3. The Spies: all the wrong sounds seems to be amplified in their minds; Auditory learners; help them to narrow their focus.
4. Finger Safari experts: tactile distractibility; Teach them to sequence; use of games, physical challenges
5. Amplifiers: turn up the volume on whatever is happening around them; Challenge them - vary their perspective in relation to the stimulus through shifting viewpoints
6. Star Trekkers: treat every event in their life as unique and unconnected to anything in the past; POTBO (Point out the bleeding obvious)
7. Social secretaries: Need things to be perfect; lost in details; Teach them to ‘have a go’. Give them time limits.
To read more about Andrew's work and some of his fantastic articles, check out his website.
Do you recognise any of your little people in Andrew's Concentration style guides? How do you manage concentration problems in your children? Share your tips in the comments.