ACTION IDEA FOR NOW!
Maybe use these resources now, at end of year as way to have a “summer send off” encouraging the students to use their time to have fun and do something new! (If not, then perhaps use it to kick off next year with your students and share all together to get to know each other and perhaps determine ways to ignite their own learning path for the year?
She concludes by explaining that “we study the students’ stories not because they will predict these students’ prowess in other fields; the interests and activities of youth do not dictate the work of their future. Instead, we are looking for a pattern of learning that can guide us, whatever we hope to teach them.”
2. Perseverance – teachers play a huge part in helping students stick to something, master it, and fulfill their hopes and dreams! Kathleen outlines so many different students in this chapter who have decided for a variety of reasons to master the skill they found most interesting. From Kathryn mastering science experiments to young Andrew’s mastery of skateboarding. We are reminded that “As they savor each moment of success, we can help them connect it to those moments that came before – and those that will follow.” We are the ones in their lives to remind them of how scared they were, hesitant, overwhelmed, uneasy about trying something new or to pursue an interest they knew nothing about. We are there to expose them to experts they can observe, and learn from as they do; we can encourage them to work as a group and gain confidence from their peers who are also tackling something new; we can help add healthy competition or offer community–wide show case opportunities -- all of these PUSH THEM to be their best!
-Teachers can encourage in ways others can’t. The students Kathleen spoke with for her research shared how they felt ready to give up and just before they did, a teacher stepped in and “guided them past the point by giving them an engaging task that lay just beyond – but not too far beyond – their skill level.
-Teachers can encourage deliberate practice – and this repetition then leads students to start believing they CAN master their desired skill.
-Teachers providing the time and space for students to try and try again! This is critical to this process – and students shared with her how great they felt coming back to the same set of challenges again and again – only to eventually see progress because they felt safe to practice and safe to fail!
RESOURCE FOR TEACHERS PERSONAL EXPLORATION OF SELF: Kathleen offers this great PDF to download that takes you through your own journey of remembering how you learned something new…a great reminder for us to have when we are then leading our students down the same path!
CONCLUSION: Teachers help students find what engages them, help them begin takign steps on their path of discover and mastery – and thereby ignite their creativity and passion to learn! This thought reminds me of how Eleanor Duckworth so wonderfully describes the role of the teacher in terms very similar on page 123 of her book “The Having of Wonderful Ideas“. “In my view there are two aspects to teaching. The first is to put students into contract with the phenomena related to the area to be studied – the real thing, not books or lectures about it – and to help them notice what is interesting; to engage them so they will continue to think and wonder about it. The second is to have students try to explain the sense they are making, and, instead of explaining things to students, to try to understand their sense. These two aspects are, of course, interdependent: When people are engaged in the matter, they try to explain it and in order to explain it they seek out more phenomena that will shed light on it.”
Enjoy the summer – and maybe try something new for YOU!?