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Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8

Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8
Teaching Kids to Succeed

  • Debbie Silver - Education Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Author,

May 2012 | 240 pages | Corwin

A fresh approach to getting kids to work smarter and better, not just harder

As teachers and parents, our job is to teach students to tackle challenges rather than avoid them. Award-winning teacher and best-selling author Debbie Silver addresses the relationship between student motivation and risking failure, calling failure a temporary "glitch" that provides valuable learning opportunities. She explains motivational theory, provides down-to-earth—often humorous—real life examples, and outlines concrete, applicable guidelines for helping students overcome setbacks and failure to foster lifelong success. Key topics include:

  • How to help students become autonomous, enthusiastic, lifelong learners
  • Why failure is not only an option, but a very concrete way of gaining ground
  • The difference between a "pep talk" and specific, relevant feedback that enhances self-efficacy

This reader-friendly guide's examples of dialogue and vignettes demonstrate what to say when giving feedback to students. Also included is a discussion guide for teacher leaders. Teachers, parents, and other student advocates will find helpful strategies for helping students learn to solve problems, take risks, and pursue success with confidence.

Watch this one-minute video featuring Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8:

Foreword by Carol Ann Tomlinson
About the Author
1. Self-Motivation - What Is It, and How Do We Use It to Empower Children?
Albert Bandura and Self-Efficacy

Motivation or Self-Motivation?

Try This

TUH-tuh-tuh-DAH! for Kids

Amy Chua, Author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Adults Need to Work in Tandem With Children's Motivation

Entitlement or Empowerment?

Sample Adult Statements

2. Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
Mastery Learning Experience

Lev Vygotsky and "Zone of Proximal Development"

3. Self-Regulation, Deliberate Practice, and Failure
Instant Gratification and Its Implications

Adults Modeling Self-Regulation

Ericsson's Deliberate Practice

Expertise and the Ten-Year Rule

Failure? There's an "App" for That

My Skating Rink Story

Helping Kids Deal With Failure

Adults Modeling Recovery Practices

4. Attribution Theory - Why Did I Succeed (or not)?
More on A Simplified Version of Attribution Theory

Learned Helplessness

Effective Feedback

The Littering Experiment

Rosenthal's Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

5. Mindset - The Key to Self-Motivation
Fixed Mindset/Growth Mindset

Taking the Joy From the Artist

Gifted Kids and Coping With Failure

Fostering a Growth Mindset in Children

Feedback That Changes Perspectives


6. What Do I Get for Doing It? (Examining Rewards)
My Parents and Rewards

My Love Affair With Rewards

My Aha Moment With Rewards

My Reward Fiasco

Varying Degrees of Rewards

Paul Chance, The Voice of Reason

Praise As a Reward

No More Stars, Stickers, or Trophies? Really?

Motivating Kids to Do Unexciting Tasks

Rewards as Affirmations


7. Autonomy, Time, and Flow

Optimal Learning Environment and Flow

8. Helping Students Stay Motivated as They Get Older

Helping Older Children Cope With Failure

9. Inspiring Young Children
Wiped Out

Be Careful About Indirect Communication

Helping Kids Who Are Afraid

10. FAQs About Teaching Students to Be Successful
The Story of a Phoenix

Discussion Guide

“This is the best book on success factors related to learning that I have read. Debbie Silver does a masterful job of weaving theory, practice, research, popular literature, applications, and personal experiences together to provide readers with a multi-faceted presentation on each success factor.”

Karen L. Tichy, Associate Superintendent
Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO

“A truly fresh take on getting more from our kids! Read this book if you want to work smarter instead of harder and to bring enthusiasm back to your classroom or school.”

Scott Bailey, Principal
Waskom Middle School, TX

"This book is a wonderful and dynamic weaving of ageless wisdom, personal experience, and research-based knowledge of the art and science of effective teaching. Her writing is accessible, engaging, personal, and thought provoking, just as good teaching should be. Read this book!"

Chris Toy, Senior Partner
Learning Capacity Unlimited, Bath, ME

"This is a 'must read' book for anyone desiring to help young people become confident, self-directed learners. Readers will walk away not only challenged in their thinking, but with a multitude of strategies that help students develop the internal motivation so necessary for success in today’s world."

Patti Kinney, Associate Director
NASSP, Reston, VA

"The joy and energy that Debbie Silver brings to her amazing presentations shine on each page of this book. Every teacher will appreciate Silver’s enthusiasm and positive outlook. Use this book to infect your students with a love for learning!"

Dr. Danny Brassell, Author, Speaker & Founder

“Debbie Silver’s insightful book is a must read for anyone ready to embrace proven skills to help kids motivate themselves for success. Discarding practices that don't work, she illustrates parenting and classroom strategies that teach children productive habits, happiness and inspiration. This book will be shared and recommended for years to come!”

Dr. Monte Selby, educational speaker, author, and songwriter

"Debbie Silver's clear and effective responses to difficult classroom situations make so much sense, teachers and principals will use them as templates for decades to come. She makes connections among motivational theories and everyday practices that only someone with her intellect and experience can make, and she does it with a skilled storyteller’s craft and a gifted parent’s humanity. The book is revelatory."

Rick Wormeli, Author of "Meet Me in the Middle: Becoming an Accomplished Middle Level Teacher"

“Dr. Silver brings together the key aspects of motivating young learners that help teachers and parents develop self-directed individuals. She presents important frameworks in accessible ways along with actionable, proven techniques. Recommended reading!”

Eduardo Briceño, CEO
Mindset Works

The book uses a number of case studies and scenarios where the reader is asked to make the best choices in terms of dealing with situations. It also includes a discussion guide which proposes a number of discussion topics relating to each chapter. These would form a good basis for group discussion or for reflective practitioners.

SEN Magazine

In readable, heartfelt prose, Debbie Silver offers pragmatic guidance on making all children independent, motivated, resilient and successful learners. I want my grandsons' teachers to memorize this book.

Doug Johnson, Director of Media and Technology
Mankato Area Public Schools, Mankato MN
Key features
  • This book gives examples of the difference between nebulous, effusive "self-esteem" pep talks, and specific, relevant feedback that enhances self-efficacy.
  • It uses a "broad brush" approach to discuss various theories of motivation and their evolution into current thought.
  • It gets very specific on the topics of what to say and why to say it that way (as well as what not to say, and why not to say it).
  • It is more or less a handbook about how to help learners become independent, persistent visionaries rather than dependent, helpless victims.
  • Silver provides specific examples of dialogue and vignettes to help teachers and parents realize the importance of word choices when giving feedback.
  • Readers find strategies they can use immediately as well as ideas they can contemplate for quite some time.
  • The book also includes a glossary, a bibliography, chapter summaries, and a discussion guide for teacher leaders.

For instructors

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