An Education in Self Worth

Quick hit because we’re going to dinner for Larry’s birthday!

The main topic: The benefits seem obvious: If students write about values that they find important, they tend to do better in school. The mystery is why the improvement is limited to African American students who weren’t doing well before they began the writing project..

No one has yet answered why the improvement sticks around, either, but PosPsyched suggests it may be just the act of writing about intelligence, creativity, and so forth that encourages those positive ideals.

The focus on values may be a substitute for whatever is lacking in education at home and elsewhere in the schools. Based on years of working in child welfare and observing families in domestic disputes in court, I’m convinced that the most deprived, abused, neglected child can still thrive if there is one loving person in his or her life. I think perhaps the journaling may provide a substitute, offered at just the right moment so that the child can see a way to some kind of success. The fact that the improvement was not stellar, but lasted indicates that the imprint one the brain may have been small but it was deep.

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