Students aren’t the same from day to day. They are “a work in progress”, different today than they were yesterday, last month, or at the beginning of the year. Even for those students we think we know well, sometimes we can predict how they will respond, and at other times they will surprise us, even amaze us. To teach, we need a framework, beliefs and expectations that guide our teaching practices.
Here are guidelines I have for myself:
Stay in tune with what students think as they face a challenge; teach in a way that helps them feel capable of achieving.
Stay in the moment; take an “if – then approach” – modify and readjust instruction based on the responses I am getting.
Know at least one “success story” for each student, one thing they feel proud of having accomplished. Point to that success to highlight their strengths and help them realize, for themselves, they are capable of achieving.
From my teaching experiences I learned that children want to have a voice in the learning process. A teaching framework should create a learning environment that fosters learning as their mission, rather than an assignment.
To be active participants and successfully take ownership of their learning all students need to learn core strategies – what to think, say or do in the face of a challenge – so they will think positively, problem solve, bounce back from setbacks and persist. A challenge, which is often perceived as a threat, should be presented as information or skills that have not been learned- YET!
When obstacles to learning come up, it is a game-changing moment in the student-teacher relationship.
If emphasis is put on the process, HOW to get around obstacles, students come to realize that how they work at a challenge is valued. They will be less likely to become discouraged, frustrated, or resist working at challenging goals.
Students that realize failed attempts are expected and viewed as opportunities to learn are energized to keep trying.
Teaching with an “I Can Do That!” framework means nurturing mindfulness, self-regulation and self-efficacy – a feeling of “I am capable”. These are essential character traits for students to make learning their mission. Students are able to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of learning and are less likely to seek out or expect external rewards.
Regardless of the issues in education and what metrics are used, when students are excited and want to learn they will do better.
What do you think?