Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Parent's Playbook for Learning: Author Interview


Today I'm jumping a bit out of my own realm, and trying on something different. I read a non-fiction book. There. (nods solemnly) See? I survived! ROFL.
No seriously though. I read Jen Lilienstein's book; A Parent's Playbook for Learning, and although it's not my "normal" reading material, it was fun to see if I could apply this to myself and my son, who just started school in August this year. I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Jen some questions, so settle in, and let's see how it went:

Sabina: Hi Jen, and thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions.

S: First, would you please tell my readers a little about yourself?

By morning and evening, I am a parent. By day, I am a marketing consultant. By night, I devour education and personality type research. I don’t sleep much, but I really enjoy all the facets I’ve brought into my life. I keep hoping science will figure out a way to keep 365 days in the year, but squeeze out 30 hours a day!

S: Why did you write A Parent’s Playbook for learning?
I really wanted to make sure my kids LOVED learning. For me, education isn’t so much about what you can stuff in, but how you inspire kids to learn and connect the dots on their own. I wasn’t doing a very good job of it on my own even though I’d done extremely well in school  and am definitely modeling life-long learning. Once I started employing personality type techniques, things started to click for my kids. I think inspiring a lifelong love of learning in your kids is one of your most important tasks on a parenting to-do list. With 20-30 kids in a classroom during the school day, teachers need backup.

S: Reading your book, I found it hard to put both my son (who just started school this year), but even myself into the different “boxes”. Finding out if we were introverts or extraverts were fairly easy, but finding out if we were a Judger or perceiver, turned out to be a bit more difficult, even harder to find out what kind of judger/perceiver we were.  Do you experience this often? And what do you recommend?

It’s important to remember that it’s more of a continuum than a box. To which side do you lean when you’re NOT under stress? (Many people find they flip sides or the pendulum swings when under stress.) If you enjoy crossing things off a to-do list and prefer more order and schedule in your life, you are probably a judger.  If you tend to leave things until the last minute because that’s when you do your best work and prefer to stay in the “what if…” stage as long as humanly possible, you are probably a perceiver.

S: What do you think is the biggest challenge for a parent who is an introvert/extravert, when the child is the opposite?
Definitely how to tackle homework. Introverts need to do homework first and then talk through their thinking. Extraverts need the opposite—they need to talk through the assignment first and then get down to business.

S: What kind of Learner are you?
Introverted feeler.

S: What are you working on right now? (Or your next project?)
My next project is to take the nearly 40,000 profiles that have been completed on Kidzmet.com and see what kinds of parallels can be drawn between the different preferences. Which ones work in tandem more often? How does/should that impact the ways in which we engage and motivate students?

S: Do you have a piece of advice for parents whose kids just started school?
Make sure both you AND their teachers see your kids’ Kidzmet profiles. It’s a free service and can give both teachers and parents a toolbox from which to draw if your child has trouble in the classroom. (And you might not even know your child is having issues until after the first report card!)
Thank you Jen, for answering my questions! If you want to know a little more about Jen, here's her bio:

Jen completed her undergraduate senior thesis on Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligence and its effect on self-esteem, attendance rates and love of learning in 1994 and in the years prior to founding Kidzmet, she worked in the education industry in various capacities including brand and product management for JumpStart educational software and in marketing for a non-traditional post-secondary certification. Once she became a parent, she started seeing just how differently her kids learned than she did...and was reminded how critical it is that teachers and parents “get” how each unique student likes to learn in order for kids to become engaged, enthusiastic learners. She also started to realize how many parents didn’t know personality-based techniques and strategies that could help their kids learn how to learn better.

Ms. Lilienstein currently serves on the Editorial Board of the National Afterschool Association, the Publications and Platform Committees of the NAA, the Quality Committee of the CA Afterschool Network, and advocates for Afterschool for All with the Afterschool Alliance. She is also a member of BOOST and ASCD. Ms. Lilienstein is also a weekly contributor on the Total Education Network, which is syndicated on 80+ networks and heard by more than a million people in 180 countries around the world.

At home, Jen is Mom to an extraverted seven year-old daughter--who has already dabbled in music, swimming, gymnastics, ballet, nature, yoga and art--and an introverted four year-old son who loves to do puzzles, build with LEGOs, examine the lives of animals and insects, and admire anything with an engine.
You can find Jen Lilienstein here:

You can buy A Parent's Playbook for Learning here:

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