Book Review: NurtureShock

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman went seeking the greatest minds in children's research to ask some hard questions.  They came to some startling results and wrote NutureShock, informing parents all over the world about their findings.  I learned a lot while reading this book, more than my brain could handle.  NutureShock is broken down into ten chapters, each covering a specific issue.  Because this book was jam packed with information, I am going to break this review down into a couple posts.  There are tons of research articles cited and data overflowing from the pages.  I will have to go back to reread some chapters when they're relevant to Luke's development because I don't know if everything sank in.  Below are my take aways or the big ideas from the first two chapters of the book.

  • Telling a kid that he's smart is like telling a kid he's good at basketball because he's tall.  It might not be true and it doesn't help the kid get any smarter (or better at dunking).  Researchers studied the effect of praise and found that students praised for effort rather than intelligence sought out more challenging problems and did better on those problems.  Remember John Medina from Brain Rules for Baby said the same thing!  You can find that review here.
  • Researchers also found that praise for effort needs to be specific and sincere.  No more 'great job, you worked hard!' meaningless compliments.  Psychologist Wulf-Uwe Meyer found that by age twelve students believe that praise from a teacher means you're not doing well and the teacher thinks you need extra encouragement.  Wow, this is a wake-up call.  Kids are so smart.  I remember praising student effort as a teacher, but I probably did it a little too much.  Bottom line: praise your kid for effort in a sincere, specific way.
  • Lots of sleeping makes you smarter.  Yes!  Finally, a study out there that approves of me going to bed ridiculously early.  Dr. Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University along with sleep experts from Brown University studied fourth and sixth graders and found that one lost hour of sleep is equal to two years of lost cognitive maturation and development.  
  • U.C. Berkley's Dr. Matthew Walker explains that for kids a good night's sleep is vital for long term learning of vocabulary words, time tables, historical data, and all other factual information.  Another fact that is c-r-a-z-y is that sleep deprived people have a hard time recalling pleasant memories, but remember bad memories just fine.  Yuck! 
  • We all know this already, but teenagers are a special breed all their own.  Mary Carskadon from Brown University explains that when it gets dark outside adults produce melatonin that makes us feel sleepy.  Unfortunately, adolescent brains don't produce melatonin until 90 minutes later.  That's why they have a hard time going to sleep at a normal hour, like the rest of us.  This creates a big problem for the teenage population because they have to be up and out the door early for school...when their bodies are still producing melatonin and telling them to go back to sleep.  Many experts in the field have fought and continue to fight hard to get school start times moved back. 
  • Did you know that when a middle or high schooler loses one hour of sleep the odds of obesity go up 80%?  It seems that sleep is kind of a big deal.

Bronson, Po, and Ashley Merryman.Nuture Shock. New York: Twelve, 2009. Print.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...