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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Textbooks represent one of the primary tools used by teachers to help high school students learn about a new subject. Yet research suggests that textbooks may be among the least effective approaches in helping your teen to learn.

• First, textbooks generally lack a distinct point of view, since they are often written by committees and try to avoid controversy. As a result, they tend to be boring to many kids.

• Second, students usually aren’t allowed to write in them and must turn them in at then end of the year. Hence, they don’t feel a sense of connection to the material.

• Finally, textbooks tend to try to cover a body of knowledge quickly, rather than focusing on practical skills that students can use in world.

• If your adolescent’s school relies heavily on textbooks, you should find out why, and encourage administrators to explore alternative reading materials, including good literature, practical handbooks, and popular magazines, as well as other methods of instruction, such as hands on and experiential learning.

By phasing out boring textbooks and phasing in exciting educational materials and approaches, your school can help your teen see that learning has a real purpose.

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is an award-winning author and speaker with twenty-eight years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level, and over one million copies of his books in print on issues related to learning and human development. He is the author of nine books including Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius, 7 Kinds of Smart, The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, and Awakening Genius in the Classroom. His books have been translated into sixteen languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Danish, and Russian.

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