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7-year-old Molly Wright has thoughts about parenting: 7-minute TED talk

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I have previously written about distracted parenting as a discussion topic for the development chapter in Intro Psych (see Is Distracted Parenting a New Parenting Style?). The concern is that we, as adults, are not engaging with young children to the extent that is needed to help children develop and thrive. Seven-year-old Molly Wright delivers this message in a powerful 7-minute TED talk.

After watching the video, ask students to generate a list of research questions. For example, “Caregivers cannot interact with young children 24/7. How much ‘serve and return’ interaction should young children have?” “Are ‘serve and return’ interactions with more people better than just one caregiver?”

Invite students to think about the quantity and quality of “serve and return” interactions when choosing a daycare provider. As a parent making such decisions, what questions would they ask of the provider? What observations would the parents like to make?

The Canberra Times reports that “Molly's TED Talk will be played in 1400 doctor waiting rooms across Australia, targeting their primary audience; parents. Molly's TED Talk has already been shown in maternity wards in Australia and Afghanistan, and Unicef will support global distribution of the film.” Ask students to think about everywhere that they go that has a TV on. Would any of those places be good candidates for showing Molly Wright’s TED talk? Ask students to explain why.

Another avenue for discussion could be how a child delivering this message may be more influential than a parent or a researcher delivering this same message. Ask students what other topics in the childhood section of your Intro Psych text’s development chapter might also be better delivered by a child than an adult. Again, ask students to explain why.

[Special thank you to Erin Graham for sending me a link to Molly Wright’s TED talk!]

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About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology in community colleges since 1992, and has been at Highline College in the Seattle area since 2001. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award . She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed.