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Risk versus Reward

I currently have two teenager boys  living at home, so I am constantly reminded of the risk taking behaviors of adolescents.  But now it seems,  according to new research on the teenage brain, that this risk taking behavior is actually an evolutionarily developed advantage for helping the teen transition from the safe home life to the “big, bad world” out there. In fact, according to author David Dobbs in the October 2011 National Geographic, the teen risk-loving behaviors are not the result of the “puny brain” or “work in progress”  brain, but rather the “result of teens weighing risk versus reward differently than adults. ” (pg. 54) Reward can often involve the elevation of status among their friends.  So today, I am looking at my two sons differently. I am figuring out more rewards that I can offer them for “smart decisions.”  I am also pondering why so many middle and high school teachers use punishment rather than reward to motivate teens.   Even on days like today, where I spent most of my time in my studio creating jewelry, I am also thinking about education.  I am as passionate about the right way of teaching as I am about creating jewelry.

Here are my designs today and here are my wishes for teachers of teenagers.

1) Please don’t belittle teens (especially not in front of their peers)

2)Please don’t automatically assume they are lying, cheating or stealing.

3) Please allow them to explain why they are not cooperating, not completing the work or not paying attention to you.

4) Please try to motivate the teens with interesting and relevant assignments

5) Please learn about the teenage brain so you understand what motivates them and what doesn’t

6) Please take a risk and try to be different than most teachers of teenagers and I guarantee the rewards will be great.  Believe me, I know.  I am still in touch with many of my former students who rewarded me with their love and attention while I was teaching them and continue to reward me by staying in touch.

 

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I believe in evolution

I believe in evolution –this is not a political statement.  Although as a science teacher, I really have studied the evidence presented by scientists on evolution and I have taught it as part of the earth science curriculum.  But I am not talking here about human evolution, I am talking about my evolution as a jewelry designer.  I finally photographed a few of my signficant early pieces in my growth as a jewelry designer.  My very first piece, which I can’t part with, the bracelet I made for my son to give to a girl on Valentine’s Day, when he was in seventh grade. I worked feverishly on it up until the day before, when he announced to me that he decided to break up with her.  I have kept that bracelet to remind me of all the hearts my Danny is going to break.  My first efforts at bead weaving…edges curling, half completed spirals, hundreds of dollars spent on lessons and materials producing products that would never be worn, let alone see the light of day.  Then there are the pieces, where I thought I had a great idea, but the execution of that idea quite what I had hoped for… so into the junk pile it went. Finally, there are some pieces that are just dated.  Now I have not been beading that long, but like clothing styles, jewelry styles come and go and some of them are more likely to be worn regionally like my hippie Unakite necklace, which was popular in Charlottesville, Virginia, not so in Southwest Florida.  So take a journey with me down ten years of jewelry making.  Its ok to laugh.  Its even better if you want to say “my she has evolved and adapted over time.”  Lol

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