The Tipping Point, part 1

        I picked up a copy of The Stanford Daily on the train on May 1st. Daniel Hsia, a major in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, referred in his column to The Tipping Point, a book by Malcolm Gladwell. The subtitle of Gladwellís book offers valuable information: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

        Gladwell has made a study of significant changes that result when influential people change the way they approach problems. One of Hsiaís examples was the significant decrease in violent crime after the New York City Transit Authority instituted a serious campaign to rid the subways of graffiti.

        I am thankful to Hsia for these lessons he taught me in his column, and I pass them on to you:

        1. The roles of teacher and student are interchangeable.

        We have set things up so that older people are predominantly teachers, while younger people are their students. It is possible, however, for things to work the other way around. Letís be open to ways that our younger people can teach us lessons that we need to learn. What have you learned from a younger person lately?

        2. Be open to alternative sources for information.

        We get used to listening to the same radio programs, watching the same televised news reports, and reading the same periodicals for information. But why not shake things up and get a fresh perspective by listening to a different talk show host or reading a different periodical?

        3. Itís valuable to have confirmation that we are on the right path.

        I believe that the greatest difference in childrenís learning will be made when parents get involved on two levels: their personal education of the children within the family life and the care for making the school a better place in which all children learn.

        Parents are the most influential people in their childrenís lives! Think of all the positive changes that can take place when these adults decide to focus their actions in this direction. The confirmation of my own theory gives me additional strength to continue my writing and speaking out on this issue.

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

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