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Stories by Richard Weissbourd

By Usable Knowledge 03/01/2017 7:11 PM EST
"It's very important that we elicit multiple views and honor free speech, but also protect human rights," Weissbourd says. "It's important that we tell kids to appreciate the complexity of others people, as they appreciate their own complexity. Additional Resources Learn to do a Circle of Concern [PDF] activity. Get a comprehensive bullying-prevention overview [PDF] from Making Caring Common. *** We Want to Hear from You
Our country is polarized: How is that showing up in your school? What are you doing to protect students, confront discrimination, prevent bullying, and foster...
By Richard Weissbourd 12/22/2016 3:43 PM EST
Richard Weissbourd
"The media influences may be different today, but the results are similar. If we don’t teach our children about love, the outside world will do it for us. Richard Weissbourd, a child psychologist at Harvard and author of “The Parents We Mean to Be,” urges adults to teach kids how to create mutually respectful, enduring bonds. “We spend an enormous amount of time preparing people for work, but do nothing to prepare them for love,” he says. “We have created this vacuum that TV, film and video have filled, and there are a lot of immature ideas about love.”" Read more at The Washington Post
By Richard Weissbourd 12/21/2016 3:13 PM EST
Richard Weissbourd
"The college-application process, always a bit of a rat race, has in recent years become ever more tortuous and with an ever-dwindling piece of cheese at the end. High-school seniors and their families are seeing elite schools’ admission rates plummet, so they are applying to more and more colleges, spending hundreds on admissions fees, and piling on activities to get an edge. “When people are anxious, it’s easier to latch onto quantity rather than quality,” Weissbourd says. Many high-schoolers do volunteer, but to Weissbourd, it seems the public service doesn’t always come with pure...
By Matthew Weber, Bari Walsh 12/08/2016 12:40 PM EST
watercolor illustration of US flag, with paint blurring into paper
Four weeks post-election, many parents are still feeling bewildered about how to make sense of it for their kids. How do we manage our own feelings of dismay — or fears about the vitriolic campaign and the great chasms in our country — so we can model tolerance, a sense of hope, or a renewed spirit of activism? In a wide-ranging conversation recorded for the Harvard EdCast, we asked psychologists and parenting experts Nancy Hill and Richard Weissbourd to share advice for parents on how to navigate this current moment of transition, where many long-held assumptions about our government...
By Richard Weissbourd 12/06/2016 3:32 PM EST
Richard Weissbourd
"“The achievement pressure can have a bunch of negative results,” says Weissbourd, who is co-director of the Making Caring Common project. “I’m concerned that it makes kids less happy.” Weissbourd says living up to this standard causes stress and depression and can lead to bad behaviors, such as cheating. Studies have found that 50 percent of students admit to cheating and 75 percent say they have copied someone else’s homework, possibly in an attempt to live up to expectations...." Read more at Today
By Matt Weber 08/31/2016 11:21 AM EDT
What Happens After Yes
How have girls' feelings about sex and sexuality changed over the years? Not as much as it would seem, says Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex, a book that examines how today's young women navigate a landscape that includes hook-up culture, sexting, and easy access to pornography. Although girls now feel that they can engage in sex, says Orenstein, they still don't feel like they can enjoy it. For the book, Orenstein interviewed a number of college-bound and college-aged girls, seeking to understand how their early education and understanding — or lack thereof — of sex and their own...
By Mary Tamer, Bari Walsh 07/08/2016 12:23 PM EDT
young green plant growing out of cracked pavement
Updated and adapted from a previously published story. How do you talk to your child — in a way that both reassures and acknowledges fears — in the wake of trauma and community violence?   Today's 24/7 news culture — now fed by livestreamed video chronicling trauma as it happens — provides an ever-open window to events that both children and adults grapple to understand. When bad things happen on the world’s stage, it is very natural and healthy for children to bring up questions at home or in the classroom, says psychologist Richard Weissbourd, co-director of the Making Caring Common...
By Leah Shafer 06/21/2016 2:29 PM EDT
College and the Good Student
Part two of a three-part series on changes to the college admissions process. Read part one, which describes a new focus on authentic community service, here. The world needs young adults who are ethically aware, connected to their communities, and ready to dig into the problems threatening the common good. But today's college admissions process, which can consume teenagers and dictate what they do and value, instead encourages a competitive focus on personal successes and accolades. Colleges admissions do endorse community service, but too often, service commitments become sidelined, trumped...
By Leah Shafer 06/06/2016 3:44 PM EDT
College and (the Real) You
Part one of a three-part series on changes to the college admissions process. Read part two, about how high schools and colleges are changing their focus, here. While high school seniors across the country celebrate the end of the college admissions process, juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen may look at the months and years ahead with anxiety and confusion. “Should I join a new club?” they may be asking, as they wonder how to make their college applications stand out. “Take another AP class? Organize a food drive? Run for student council?” And above all: “What are colleges looking for?”...
By Bari Walsh 05/17/2016 11:35 AM EDT
Closing the Gap Year Gap
Thanks to the particular choice of a particular 17-year-old (whose dad has a high-profile job in Washington, D.C.), a lot of the world is talking about gap years. But as Malia Obama’s decision to defer her Harvard admission shows, the conversations can carry some very privileged associations — seemingly distant from the post-secondary options available to many less-advantaged or nontraditional students and families. So are gap years just another enrichment lever that only highly advantaged students can pull? Or is there a way to make gap year opportunities broadly accessible, without making...

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