Thursday, 5 January 2017

Tipping Point

According to best-selling author, Malcom Gladwell, “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

I like to think of the moment that a student “gets it” -- conquers a challenging concept, understands something new, surprises himself or herself with an insight or accomplishment – as a tipping point, of sorts. I have seen the dull look of boredom and doubt gradually turn to bright-eyed engagement -- even enthusiasm.It may take time, (and even tears), but once the transition starts it can sometimes quickly spiral up.

Even a small success can reduce the resistance to tackle something new. The more successes, the more effort and of course, the more successes. Upward spiral.

At Pinecone, we offer a safe harbor for this process. Kids come in at all ages, and most are worried about their abilities. Whether from poor grades, struggling study habits, parental/teacher worries, or peer competition – these students are worried.  Providing the right material at the right level and in the right amount can be the key to getting these students to relax. As they work through concepts they missed in school, and realize that they can learn them and learn them well, the self-confidence kicks in. And this is a big deal.

It may be more of a “tipping attitude” than a “tipping point”, but the new upward spiral is evident and obvious. It is truly a joy to watch this transition. Getting to this point can be hard – requiring patience and support of parents and Pinecone assistants, and requiring a certain grit from students. My job is to make sure the student achieves the tipping point. It is not so much about memorizing times tables or using proper grammar, as it is about enabling a child to gain the ability, confidence and wonder of achieving successes and of tackling ever-broadening challenges.

We are lucky to have amazing students and trusting, dedicated parents. I’m so happy that most of these parents have witnessed this transition in their students. Those that are new have this to look forward to. Allowing your child to reach his or her “tipping point” is the best gift you could give. It is a lifetime gift.

Happy New Year from your staff at Pinecone: Tere, Himani, Natalie, Maha, Brigitte and Miss Vivian!

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