Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What does it mean:" I don't like to read?"

What can’t you do?  What is the last thing you learned?  Where was the struggle? 
"Deliberate Practice?" 
What does it take to change? Hope, change, inspire, faith, persistence, and resiliency.

We strive to have things under control.  We strive to do the best we can with what we have.  We strive to do as much as possible with what we have.

From our student’s perspective, we ask them to try something new every day.  We ask them to take risks.  We ask them to try again.  We ask them to persist, even though they may fail, over and over again.  (reminds me of Green Eggs and Ham)
But what if they don't know how?  What if there is no one in their life that models that type of behavior?  What if there are too many obstacles?  How will they be able to persist?  Educational Leadership speaks of Grit this month and what it takes to develop that attribute in others.  What is needed for educators to help kids try?  Here are some thoughts:

A safe environment, free from sarcasm from each other and the teacher is vital to trying new things. Often times, students know each other better than the teacher knows them.  The teacher is the new variable in the equation.  If kids have grown up using sarcasm, biting words and mean comments, the teacher is often the first one to recognize their mistreatment of each other, hold them accountable and raise a higher standard.  This is the beginning of creating a fail-safe environment and natural for good teachers.

An encouraging environment, where risk is embraced, taking chances is encouraged and failing is natural is a crucible for change.  Students will be willing to risk failing if they know the sweet sound of praise from success and the soft encouragement to persist and try again. (sounds like Green Eggs and Ham) If encouragement is too hard to earn or given too freely, risk taking diminishes and students fail to grow.  The question becomes can a teacher be too hard or too nice?  (Econ 101:  The Law of Diminishing Returns)

A loving and accepting environment, where approval is not based on actions but on humanity fosters esteem and self-confidence.  Students know they will be accepted for who they are.  Their behavior may become something that needs adjusting but as individuals, the students will develop and mature.  Attempts for attention through deviant behavior are often cries for help. 

Affirmation Building:
Positive talk to others, each other and to self.  Seldom do positive things happen without good talk to self.  This affirmation stage is foundational to preparing ones mind for success.  It seems obvious that a team should not talk trash to each other.  After a dropped pass, does the team need to remind the receiver to "watch the ball?"  But what about opponents?  Do they deserve trash talk?  Not from a true champion.  A winner does not need to berate others.  The loser wont have anything to say that really matters. Finally, SELF -TALK is the most important.  A dialogue that encourages and not tears down is something that needs to happen internally.  Believing in oneself is truly the beginning of success and accomplishment. 

A Worthy Reward:
The challenge has to align with the abilities.  It cant be too hard, nor too easy.  Either of those cases will reduce the effort.  There must be an authentic value to the goal for an earnest effort to reach the mark.  A great teacher aligns the steps, challenges and goals with the abilities of the pupils. 
Our Response:
So how do we respond when we hear: But I don't like to read!  I can't write!  I am not good at math!    What can we do to overcome these objections to learning?  They sound like things a salesmen may hear.  I don't like the color!  I can't afford it!  It does not fit!  None if these are saying:  I don't want it!  They are saying, I want it but don't know how to make it happen with my current resources! HELP is what they are truly saying.  Help me learn.  Help me want to learn.  Help me learn to learn.  I trust you!

It is a student who remarks about not being able, good at or understanding, NOT SAYING I AM UNWILLING!

He is crying for help to meet his unspoken or un-articulated goal!  That is for a teacher to jump in, get along side and help develop that skill!  That is a heavy goal.

Wow!  What an honor!

 “Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.” - Malcolm Gladwell,

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