Tuesday, December 7, 2010

American Parents are NOT Aware of Their Children's Actual Math Proficiency!!!

‎78% of USA parents report that their children's math performance is in the top 20 percentile!!! Why is it that less than 50% (much lower in New Mexico) of our children meet college readiness standards? Please read the below article and share your thoughts with me. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

USA Today
December 7, 2010

Report: U.S. parents overconfident about kid's math
By Dan Vergano

U.S. parents look out of touch in helping their kids with math, a report suggests, in comparison with one top education nation.In the "Parent Perceptions and Practices Regarding Math Education During the Middle School Years," report, sponsored by technology firm Raytheon, an Eduventures, Inc., research team compared U.S. parents to those in Singapore and the United Kingdom. The technology firm, "relies on a talented engineering workforce," the report says, so it wanted a look at why only 43% of U.S. high school graduates met "College Readiness" standards for mathematics.

"U.S. parents may be overly confident or lacking in the use of accurate metrics around math performance and college preparedness. For example, 78% of U.S. parents report their children's math performances are in the top 20% compared to peers in school," finds the report. Among the findings:

More parents in Singapore (51%) receive teacher advice on their helping with math homework, compared to U.S. and UK parents (25%).
More parents in Singapore (42%) use math tutors for their middle-school age children, than U.S. parents (10%).

More Singapore students (92%) receive out-of-school math teaching than U.S. or U.K. stuedents (less than 50%).

In general, the report concludes that U.S. parents place less emphasis on math skills than Singapore's parents, while for their children, "the employment world into which they graduate will continue to have increased needs for those with science, technology, engineering, and math expertise."

A recent National Academies of Sciences report echoed this concern, saying U.S. science education has "worsened" in the face of increasing international competition.
However, a number of observers have pointed to a lack of jobs, rather than shortfalls in U.S. education, as the driver behind U.S. science education graduation rates. A Georgetown and Rutgers University study found that the best U.S. students left technical fields for better-paying jobs in finance, medicine and law in recent decades.

Motivational Monday

"Don't just let your business or your job make something for you; let it make something of you."
—Jim Rohn

Friday, December 3, 2010

Six Behaviors That Increase Self-Esteem

Six Behaviors That Increase Self-Esteem
by Denis Waitley

Following are six behaviors that increase self-esteem, enhance your self-confidence, and spur your motivation. You may recognize some of them as things you naturally do in your interactions with other people. But if you don’t, I suggest you motivate yourself to take some of these important steps immediately.

First, greet others with a smile and look them directly in the eye. A smile and direct eye contact convey confidence born of self-respect. In the same way, answer the phone pleasantly whether at work or at home, and when placing a call, give your name before asking to speak to the party you want to reach. Leading with your name underscores that a person with self-respect is making the call.

Second, always show real appreciation for a gift or complement. Don’t downplay or sidestep expressions of affection or honor from others. The ability to accept or receive is a universal mark of an individual with solid self-esteem.

Third, don’t brag. It’s almost a paradox that genuine modesty is actually part of the capacity to gracefully receive compliments. People who brag about their own exploits or demand special attention are simply trying to build themselves up in the eyes of others—and that’s because they don’t perceive themselves as already worthy of respect.

Fourth, don’t make your problems the centerpiece of your conversation. Talk positively about your life and the progress you’re trying to make. Be aware of any negative thinking, and take notice of how often you complain. When you hear yourself criticize someone—and this includes self-criticism—find a way to be helpful instead of critical.

Fifth, respond to difficult times or depressing moments by increasing your level of productive activity. When your self-esteem is being challenged, don’t sit around and fall victim to “paralysis by analysis.” The late Malcolm Forbes said, “Vehicles in motion use their generators to charge their own batteries. Unless you happen to be a golf cart, you can’t recharge your battery when you’re parked in the garage!”

Sixth, choose to see mistakes and rejections as opportunities to learn. View a failure as the conclusion of one performance, not the end of your entire career. Own up to your shortcomings, but refuse to see yourself as a failure. A failure may be something you have done—and it may even be something you’ll have to do again on the way to success—but a failure is definitely not something you are.

Even if you’re at a point where you’re feeling very negatively about yourself, be aware that you’re now ideally positioned to make rapid and dramatic improvement. A negative self-evaluation, if it’s honest and insightful, takes much more courage and character than the self-delusions that underlie arrogance and conceit. I’ve seen the truth of this proven many times in my work with athletes. After an extremely poor performance, a team or an individual athlete often does much better the next time out, especially when the poor performance was so bad that there was simply no way to shirk responsibility for it. Disappointment, defeat, and even apparent failure are in no way permanent conditions unless we choose to make them so. On the contrary, these undeniably painful experiences can be the solid foundation on which to build future success.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Practice Being Like a Child

Practice Being Like a Child
by Jim Rohn

Remember the master teacher once said 2,000 years ago, “Unless you can become like little children, your chances are zero, you haven’t got a prayer.” A major consideration for adults.

Be like children and remember there are four ways to be more like a child no matter how old you get :

Be curious. Childish curiosity. Learn to be curious like a child. What will kids do if they want to know something bad enough? You’re right. They will bug you. Kids can ask a million questions. You think they’re through. They’ve got another million. They will keep plaguing you. They can drive you right to the brink.

Also kids use their curiosity to learn. Have you ever noticed that while adults are stepping on ants, children are studying them? A child’s curiosity is what helps them to reach, learn and grow.

Learn to get excited like a child. There is nothing that has more magic than childish excitement. So excited you hate to go to bed at night. Can’t wait to get up in the morning. So excited that you’re about to explode. How can anyone resist that kind of childish magic? Now, once in a while I meet someone who says, “Well, I’m a little too mature for all that childish excitement.” Isn’t that pitiful? You’ve got to weep for these kinds of people. All I’ve got to say is, “If you’re too old to get excited, you’re old.” Don’t get that old.

Faith like a child. Faith is childish. How else would you describe it? Some people say, “Let’s be adult about it.” Oh no. No. Adults too often have a tendency to be overly skeptical. Some adults even have a tendency to be cynical. Adults say, “Yeah. I’ve heard that old positive line before. It will be a long day in June before I fall for that positive line. You’ve got to prove to me it’s any good.” See, that’s adult, but kids aren’t that way. Kids think you can get anything. They are really funny. You tell kids, “We’re going to have three swimming pools.” And they say, “Yeah. Three. One each. Stay out of my swimming pool.” See, they start dividing them up right away, but adults are not like that. Adults say, “Three swimming pools? You’re out of your mind. Most people don’t even have one swimming pool. You’ll be lucky to get a tub in the back yard.” You notice the difference? No wonder the master teacher said, “Unless you can become like little children, your chances, they’re skinny.”

Trust is a childish virtue, but it has great merit. Have you heard the expression “sleep like a baby”? That’s it. Childish trust. After you’ve gotten an A+ for the day, leave it in somebody else’s hands.

Curiosity, excitement, faith and trust. Wow, what a powerful combination to bring (back) into our lives.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kumon Family Orientations - Authenticity

Wow, wow, and WOW! The below article really gives me some new insight into "selling" Kumon to potential families.

First, a little info from my personal experience... then the article.

Kumon North America rolled out some new Parent Orientation materials last year. The info and materials were great and customizable (thanks, KNA!) I did everything I could to incorporate these amazing materials and script into my family orientations. I completely revamped my "new family" meetings.

What happened? FEWER ENROLLMENTS! I suppose that the "script" and "buzzwords" were just not me. I started "playing a role" rather than conveying my true enthusiasm and belief in the Kumon program. I stopped being as personal and individualized as I had been about "making the shoe fit the foot" of each potential new student. I started sounding "cannned", rather than authentic.

Good gosh! I am so glad I realized this sooner, rather than later. I've gone back to my "old" authentic, enthusiastic, and personal orientations. What I missed hearing from families when I used the "one-size fits all" script was that they "knew/felt my respect and belief in the Kumon program. Now that I have gone back to my "own" version, EVERY parent lets me know that they feel and appreciate my passion for Kumon.

This authenticity makes a difference. My enrollments are increasing :-)

Read on, my friends...

Selling Your Authenticity
~ Roger Dawson April 6, 2010

The truth is incontrovertible, as Winston Churchill would say. You cannot be a top producer unless you genuinely believe in the value of your product or service and can enthusiastically convey that to your buyers.

Let’s be clear about what I mean by enthusiasm. I don’t mean the mass excitement generated at rock concerts and sales rallies. That kind of frantic jump-up-and-down excitement is short-lived. What good does it do to get all pumped up at one of those rallies if the thought of making a cold call gives you a migraine?

No, I’m talking about the genuine enthusiasm that comes from a sincere belief in what you’re selling. To develop enthusiasm, start truly believing in your industry, your company, your product and your ability to serve your customers. If you truly believe in your product, you won’t need superficial excitement to motivate you. You’ll be sitting in front of that phone thinking, I can’t wait to pick up the phone and start telling people how good this is.

Here are some tips on how to grow your enthusiasm:

1. Get feedback from your customers. A lot of salespeople don’t want to hear from people they have sold. No news is good news for that kind of salesperson. Get feedback. The more you hear from your customers that they were delighted with their purchase, the better you will feel about what you do.

2. Improve the quality of your customers’ feedback with this mantra: I’m going to promise my customers less but deliver more. If you are closing sales by exaggerating the worth or value of your product, you are always going to have unhappy customers.

3. Stimulate your sales presentation with enthusiastic third-party stories. If you sell vacations and you can’t get excited about going to Hawaii, you can still enthusiastically say, “Jo and Bill McAuley were so excited about their vacation in Hawaii. They called to tell me that it was the best time they’d had in their lives.”

4. Learn about your competitors and their shortcomings. Some salespeople are reluctant to do this because they have no intention of knocking the competition. That’s fine, but hopefully, the more you know about your competitors’ problems and shortcomings, the more enthusiastic you will become about your own product.

I’ve never met a more enthusiastic salesperson than my good friend Peter Shield. I first met Peter in Brisbane, Australia, when he introduced me to the audience at one of my Power Negotiating seminars. About 15 years later, Peter emigrated from Australia to Las Vegas, where he got involved in the timeshare industry. He has taken to the timeshare industry like a duck to water. He loves it.

For years now I’ve tried to break Peter’s enthusiasm for timeshare. I’ve never been able to do it. Every project he has worked on has been the most incredible bargain in the world. “Come on Peter,” I’ll tease him, “when I want to go on vacation I can pick from thousands of travel bargains on the Web. Why would I need to buy a timeshare?”

“Roger,” he replies, “we’ve been friends for over 15 years now and I’ll tell you the truth from the bottom of my heart. You will never, ever find a better buy than the project that I’m working on now! And apart from that, you get my service. My service comes with every sale I make. And you can’t buy me online.”

What does that teach me about Peter’s approach? It teaches me nothing will ever shake his enthusiasm for his product.

Buyers are not persuaded by logic. They are persuaded by how well you can communicate your belief in your product and service.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kumon Advisory Committee - Tooting My Own Horn!!!

So... I recieved an awesome (and surprising) e-mail from Mr. Jim Coakley (the King of Kumon Branding) last week. In the e-mail, he offered me the opportunity to participate as a member of Kumon North America's Branding Advisory Committee. I am honored and humbled by this amazing opportunity, which I, of course, accepted!

Here is some addition information, as published in the April edition of "The Bridge":

"In the January-February 2010 edition of The Bridge, we announced the establishment of new subject-specific Instructor Advisory Committees in order to give distinct and focused attention to each of the many important components that go into operating Kumon Centers. (...) Selection of committee participants was based on a variety of factors, including recognition of the Instructors’ conviction in the Kumon philosophy and method, proven ability to implement the program and operate their businesses effectively, demonstrated interest and proficiency in the particular focus of the committee, and leadership skills. Committee members serve a one-year term and may be reappointed."

Branding Advisory Committee (BAC)
Arti Balakrishna ........................... (Southeast)
Kasia Braun ................................. (Northeast)
Marilyn Fenton ............................ (Canada East)
Bruce Fitterer ............................... (Northwest)
Sue McLean ................................ (Central)
Anne Parham ............................. (Southwest)
Hina Patel .................................... (Central East)

I'm a little intimidated about being included in this group of amazing, successful, experienced Instructors, but I am absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to share my experiences, learn from the group, and MAYBE provide some ideas/thoughts/suggestions as to how KNA will increase KUMON brand awareness in North America. Increased awareness and "top-of-mind" recognition will benefit all of us :-)

I'll keep you posted on the upcoming BAC happenings and am looking forward to visiting with my fellow Kumon Instructors this summer in NYC.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and "happy weekend" to everyone.

I hope you all experience something amazing today~

~~~Miss Anne

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Communication with Your Elementary School Child

Communication with Your Elementary Age Child
by Denis Waitley

In communicating with children of all ages, eye contact and physical contact are important. These should be part of our everyday dealings. A child whose parents use eye and physical contact will likely be more comfortable with himself and others, be a better communicator and have better self-esteem.

Eye contact, especially, is a little gesture whose presence or absence can covey big meaning. There’s surprisingly little eye contact in many households, and when it does exist, it’s usually negative, such as when the teen is being reprimanded. The more you can make eye contact in a loving way, the more your child will feel nourished.

You send several hundred verbal and nonverbal messages to your children each day. You don’t have to say a word to send a message to your child. You can turn off verbal communications, but not the nonverbal ones. Ninety-three percent of all communication is nonverbal. Parents under stress often withdraw from one another and from their children, and when they do communicate, it tends to be bossy and irritable.

First you listen, and then you talk. Decide that for you the conversation is going to be about listening. Devote your attention to what your son or daughter is saying, because kids are very good at detecting insincerity. Make it clear that you are listening and trying to understand your child’s point of view. When your child describes an event, repeat what you think your child has just said. You might say, “It sounds like you’re saying….” Don’t be too quick with advice. Pat answers imply that the child’s problem is too simple and maybe not significant. Listen while the child explores all aspects of the situation. Often, your child will talk himself or herself into the same solution you were eager to offer.

Stress to your child the importance of using positive, affirming language. Teach your child that his/her language is a reflection of his/her thoughts and attitudes. Also, that others will form attitudes about us, based in part on what they hear us say.