New Civilization News: Being Enthusiastic and giving Encouragement to Children    
 Being Enthusiastic and giving Encouragement to Children4 comments
picture31 May 2007 @ 14:49, by Gerald Vest

Everyone needs appropriate encouragement-

As I have been discussing in my Learning to Learn & Play with Children blog, it is essential to support children with what Ashley Montagu describes--"Appropriate Encouragement." Dr. Montagu beautifully describes this concept as follows for all ages:

"Babies are new to themselves, and all that surrounds them is novel. Children of all ages feel much the same way; it is a feeling and a view of life that can last a lifetime. To see the world always with a fresh eye means that one brings encouraging things to every experience a habit of feeling, of experiencing, a not-taking-for-granted the everyday scene, but finding something new in each time one encounters it. And this can only come about naturally by encouraging the child, at every age, to be interested, curious, and experimental minded. This is what babies and children are, and what all humans are capable of being all of their lives, if only they receive the appropriate encouragements." (Montagu, p. 222)

I believe that Professor Montagu is one of our most outstanding human development specialists, yet few professional social workers and allied health professionals are aware of his contributions to understanding and applying his concepts of "neotenous traits." I wrote a previous article introducing these 26 basic needs that are so very important for the development of the child and for the adult to maintain and support throughout his/her evolution.

All of these basic needs are elegantly described in Growing Young and in this article I am focusing on the importance of teachers, families, care givers and other adults to support and encourage this basic need for children to sustain their interest, curiosity, and experimental mind throughout their lifetime. It appears that many children in our schools are abandoning this requirement for healthy living as they enter secondary schools and become more like or emulate adults. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps if we could be more enthusiastic about our children's work while continuing to encourage them and support their interests they would continue to improve, learn and advance their knowledge and skills.

I have found that using photography and theatre offers a great means for children to learn to express themselves and also provides encouragement for them while sharing their creativity with others. This past weekend, Ariana introduced her art work with us. Daeja, her younger sister and I, served as photographers. We posted this short introduction on Google Videos so do let her know about your impressions of her work and you can apply this concept and contribute "appropriate encouragement."

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4 comments

10 Jun 2007 @ 13:01 by jazzolog : Appropriate Encouragement
Yes, and don't we need even a redefinition of "appropriate" here? Federal, state testing standards...now created by outsourced corporations whose ranks are filled with consumerism salespeople...are the place to start. Teachers these past few years in the States have become discouraged and depressed over what is required of them. Their administrators increasingly aim their own ambitions at the country club stardom of a CEO. Mediocre teachers take the frustration out on the kids. They stand in the hall, between periods, and count the days until they can get out. Sometimes I feel there is a grand plan to privatize public education in order to better dumb down a population that knows nothing except following orders. Gerald, please continue on: you are a hero!  


10 Jun 2007 @ 14:14 by jerryvest : Thanks for your thoughtful and
encouraging response, Richard. All that you say is true and I know that as teachers we know how difficult it can be to teach in schools where the admininstrators are overly paid and focus more on their own publicly perceived value and importance than the teaching-learning experience offered by parents and teachers.

I also wondered about "appropriate" encouragement and why Dr. Montagu would qualify a positive or generous insight for a child. He is definitely very precise with his language so we can only reflect on this question.

The question of 'appropriate touch' has also been raised as I often use this concept to identify healthy, consenting or nourishing touch as contrary to abusive or inappropriate physical interaction. Perhaps, our social, political and economic environment has become so false and confusing for our children by glorifying values and people who have contributed little to our health, education and welfare that we must become more 'appropriate' with our interactions with those we teach and cherish. You are the best!!!  



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