Miss Andrea is what "my kids" call me. As an admitted science nerd and public school teacher for almost 14 years specializing in children with behavior and learning problems, I share scientific research and insider teaching tips that have helped me shape my kids into well-behaved, academically-successful children - an achievement considering I run a "self-contained" classroom for kids with behavior and/or learning issues so severe they are prevented from inclusion into the general education population.
When I went from writing to teaching, I was clueless on the best way to reach my students with respect to learning and behavior. Three approaches helped me reach my students, which all fall under the category of "brain-based studies:"
Brain Neurophysiology: Like many of our other bodily functions, our thoughts run in patterns, and like a phone number, have a tendency to become entrenched with usage. Behaviorists call this Learned Skill theory, which means once a behavior becomes a habit, it is learned it is typically more difficult to unlearn. Practice, therefore, is essential to engraving new, improved thinking habits, which I call "Mind Patterns." Included therefore, is understanding the function of an undesired behavior and finding replacement skills for it.
Evolutionary psychology: Behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures and various species (such as language, parenting, personality and social relationships) are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations. To understand these adaptations is to make behaviors work better for the individual.
Scientific humanism: This encompasses an approach to teaching that has the most evidence to back it up. It is also is the most popular. The premise in humanism is that the best way to socialize our children is to adopt a rational stance to molding hearts, rather than wielding a higher power to coerce behavior.
In addition to teaching, I still freelance part-time and am a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Authors Guild. My articles have appeared in local newspapers and national magazines on educational, medical and scientific topics and my book, Quit Smoking for Good: A Supportive Program for Permanent Smoking Cessation (The Crossing Press 1998) was endorsed by the president of the Hawaiian Islands Nonsmoking Organization (HINO) in 1999. I am currently working on a book on raising happy, fulfilled, good kids.
I have a B.S. degree in biology, a B.A. in journalism and a M.S. in Education (PreK-12 Curricula) with a certification in special education and am in the enrollment process for a PhD.
Let Sleeping Kids Lie Years ago, I was teaching a preschool class where the topic was the letter g and, wearily holding up the alphabet card, I asked the group of 20 if they remembered the letter, not really expecting an answer. “G,” came a little voice, and when I turned to see who it belonged to, I almost tipped over from shock. It was Josh, a special education student who had been a crack baby and on whom –
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