Use Google Custom Search to find the best self help books on any topic.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Classroom Discipline Techniques That Work At Home Too!

Being born to two die-hard teachers I grew up in constant comparison with some 80 odd pseudo kins. And how I hated each one of them. I always thought my parents gave too much time and attention to their students. Now, 25 years later I feel my 7 year old is not getting enough attention at school. The guy is becoming absolutely rowdy and I don't think his teacher is doing anything about it. The more I talk about it the more widely prevalent this belief seems to be. Are teachers today lacking in commitment or drive? I almost thought so till I made the mistake of mentioning it to my father. The old man immediately took up cudgels on behalf of the entire worldwide teaching community. In the next 60 minutes he made me see the other side of the coin. Well - hugely abridging his copious outburst - he says that my discontent has more to do with my overindulgence with my kid, not placing enough trust in the teacher and not giving her any leverage whatsoever to discipline my child.

Come to think of it, he is not so wrong. Gone are the days when teachers were revered for the part they played in shaping a child's personality and parents actually thanked them for taking whatever steps necessary to discipline their rowdy children. Today such an act is more likely to invite legal action. Now I don't advocate thanking a teacher for beating a boy's bums blue (my dad would disagree...given his habit for both). But I do say that teacher's today are as much at a loss about how to discipline children as you as a parent are. My 7 year old thinks he is invincible. He firmly believes I am his toy. He is convinced that I am starting a game when I yell at him. He habitually assumes some crazy Ben 10 avatar the moment I approach to grab him. He drives me nuts playing with pencils when I make him do his homework. And I do not have the heart to hit him...except when he is hell bent on breaking his neck hanging upside down from the first floor window. Now imagine 20-30 of such specimens let loose on a teacher!

book on effective classroom discipline techniquesIf you are a teacher looking for effective ways to discipline your classroom - or a parent looking for ways to instill some sanity in house - here is a great book for you. Classroom Discipline 101 is written by a teacher of 20 years and brings to you his tried, tested, refined strategies to discipline children of all age-groups. The best part is none of these strategies would land you in jail or invite human right campers to your front yard. Since most of these strategies are based on child psyche, they are equally applicable at home with a slight twist of context. There are not many books that deal with the subject of disciplining children in the classroom in as hands-on a manner as Classroom Discipline 101. A comprehensive resource of very practical, very workable ideas to end the mayhem in your class or living room. Interested to take a closer look? Go here!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

DIY Dog Potty Training

I don't know which time of the day or night you are going through this post, but I do hope you didn't see this just after biting into your sandwich. It's holiday season in India and I am just back from two days of pure hell. My cousin recently adopted a dog from a rescue shelter for abandoned canines. He already has two handsome German Shepherds in his house, but a chance visit to this animal shelter somehow made him take home this local crossbreed. One thing he realized very soon after taking the dog home was that it was not housetrained. Within hours it had marked almost every piece of furniture that stood on any sorts of legs. While the German Shepherds growled, the new addition merrily went about marking curtains and relieving itself on rugs and couches.

Now my cousin has experience in hand rearing pups for many years, but one whole week later he had not an iota of an idea what to do with his new dog that went around soiling and spoiling with a very business like purpose. By the time I landed up at his place last week, his well behaved German Shepherds were also getting into the act. It was near impossible to go around barefoot and extremely perilous to sink into a seat without inspecting where you are landing your ass. I love dogs, but those were two absolutely nauseating, stinking, mucky days. This is the reason my first post after a long holiday is not about anything more exotic than dog poo!

book on dog housetrainingHere it is. Housetraining Your Dog - A Definitive Guide. If you have a similar problem with your dog, do take a look at this book. If you are planning to bring in your first dog, you MUST take a look at this book. Having a pet is a very lovely, de-stressing experience. So it better be that way. There are better reasons to go nuts or bananas than fretting over doggy shit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Secrets Of An Expert Persuader

The art of persuasion is perhaps the most used, abused and essential social skill. Voting for a candidate, buying something, trying to sell something, asking for a raise, landing a date, getting a leave, wriggling out of a bash-up, sorting an argument or going down on your knees to propose...almost everywhere someone is successfully persuading you to willingly part with your time, money, effort, belongings, ideas, beliefs, even the cherished carefree state of bachelorhood. Our behavior is governed by the process of stimulus and response. Persuasion provides the necessary stimulus to make us act in a certain way. It is a way of guiding you to adopt an idea, take a particular decision or act in some specific way. Persuasion employs subtle guidance techniques that appear quite rational, though they may not always be logical. One excellent example is advertising. A strategically placed, well written board announcing a clearance sale can make you fish out your credit card and blow up your next bonus even before receiving it. There is no logic to it, but it appears a perfectly rational decision till maybe its time to drop your next card payment.

Now persuasion is not something that always leaves you exploited. You also put your own persuasion skills to use so many times everyday both at work and at home. How does persuasion work? Persuasion experts broadly define following six principles of influencing or persuading people:

- The principle of reciprocation: People often get persuaded to do things when it appears they are returning a favor. A few examples are people donating generously to their previous schools or exchange of humanitarian aid between countries.

- The principle of social herding: People tend to accept an idea more easily if it is widely accepted in the society. The beauty of this principle is that it doesn't take a crowd to convince someone of the authenticity of an idea. Just try standing on the road gesturing wildly towards the sky. You may be pointing at a galaxy not yet discovered, but there will soon be a group of mighty interested people looking up for a UFO they think you just sighted.

- The principle of authority: People generally tend to abide by the law and authority. They would obey an order even if they find it objectionable. Driving within speed limits and frantic attempts to reach office on time are two good examples.

- The principle of commitment: People generally tend to honor a commitment. They would follow a course agreed upon even if their original motivating factor is removed. This is why people end up buying apartments at a far more escalated cost than the original booking.

- The principle of scarcity: Scarcity of something, whether real or perceived, propels people's will to act in a certain way. A good example is panic buying before an approaching storm or bulk buying in sales announced for short periods.

- The principle of endorsing: People easily get motivated to buy ideas or products endorsed by people they like or trust. Buying the toothpaste your favorite movie star endorses or purchasing Tupperware through a friend are both examples of such behavior.

Now why am I boring you with all this gibberish? Yes, as usual I have a book to tell you about, but I first want to say that persuasion - like any other skill - can be acquired, improved and mastered for greater success in life. Usually we do not look at persuasion as a stand-alone skill. We tend to look at small facets of it in terms of conversational skills, social etiquettes, body language, presentation skills and more. It's the complete package that amounts for good persuasion skills.

book on persuasion skillsHow To Be An Expert Persuader In 20 Days Or a rather long title for a book. Ok, but that does not take the credit away from it for being the most comprehensive and chaff-free resource on the subject of persuasion. The book touches upon all aspects of your personality that you can easily groom to acquire or enhance persuasion skills. The book discusses effective persuasion techniques that you can quickly master and use to influence people around you. Some of these techniques are based on the principle of conversational hypnosis, also called covert hypnosis. The difference is that here you don't just learn about abstract theories, you actually learn to put them in practice. If you think you could fare better in life if people took you more seriously, believed in what you say, understood you better or just listened to you...this book is for you. Take a look. Go here!