Children need reasons and direction to engage task

Many years ago, it probably was easier for an adult to say to a child ‘do this, or do that’. And what happened? The child engaged the task, without even asking, why? But children are at an early age engaging in discovery learning and critical thinking; they are inquisitive. It is true, children still go through the various stages in thinking and development, but being exposed to various media, as well as socialization that take place, they are encouraged to question and to explore different ways of thinking.
What adults are finding is that children no longer simply do as they are told but seek reasons as to why they should engage a specific task.
In some task, because of a lack of experience not all children can engage successfully, unless they receive direction. It is therefore left to their parents or/ and teachers to offer the necessary rationale for why they should engage a specific task and also offer the necessary directions to complete the task successfully.
Stay tuned as today’s podcast discuss this.

A positive attitude

What about the letter A.  The letter A, stands for the positive attitude you must always strive to possess.  It should be noted that one is not born with a positive attitude, but this is a quality that a person must cultivate.

To achieve in life, the success we pursue, it is crucial that our mental outlook be backed by a positive attitude.

An optimistic attitude, fuels your mental outlook.  As you move toward your life dreams, a hopeful attitude can carry you through, when life throws at you some unexpected situations or you meet with a brick wall appearing in your way.

The question though is, how do you develop a positive attitude?  Some persons are constantly exposed to environments which are emotionally toxic; a place where negative people congregate to listen to each other’s sermon of sorrows.

This environment can manifest itself in your work place or maybe it is in your school.  Sadly, sometimes it may be in your home.  To overcome such negativity, we need to create our own atmosphere of positivity.  How do we do this?

Firstly, we need to seek out and listen to the suggestions of persons who have a view point, that in spite of what life throws at them, they will succeed.  And that, in spite of the many failures that come their way, triumph is just around the corner.  They function as if to indicate, their achievement is just on the horizon, success is but an arm’s length away.  These are the people to draw close too.

Secondly, we also need to be mindful of ourselves, in order to create positive attitudes.  We can bring a negative outlook—a thought—from within our minds, to bear on our current life experiences, which may have little to no relationship.  While that previous thought or experience might be useful, as all our life encounters should be educational ones, that particular experience maybe out of place.  Therefore keep such thinking in check.

Thirdly, it has to do with the language we use with ourselves when seeking to create a positive atmosphere to thrive.  This has to do with negative self talk.  We can say to ourselves that it is not likely that we can accomplish our goals.  We may vocalize to ourselves that our endeavours can be done, but they can only be accomplished by someone else.

Sometimes a person can look at their abilities, whether they went to university or to college, their socio-economic status and use these to make judgments about how much of a contribution they can make in life.  And so a person may say to himself, that he should not take that step or that action towards his dreams, for it is not possible for him to succeed.

Negative self talk; a self defeating trait which can rob us of the things that matters to us, making us avoid the path which leads to success.  And so you must say no to negative language which can ultimately affect your thinking.  This can manifest failure in your life, even before effort is made, or prevent you from trying again if failure visits you temporary.  Your attitude therefore, must be goal oriented, to see life and all that it hurls at you, in terms of challenges, as part of the experience towards a greater good.

We now want to look at the letter L.  The word that the letter L symbolized for me, was a word, that at the time I was not willing to accept as part of the vocabulary of someone seeking success.  I said to myself, how could I say this word to these young minds.

The word is limitation.

As I prepared this presentation for those youths, I started to recognize that the word limitation, based on how it is viewed or understood, can indicate success or failure, triumph or despair, achieving your dream or losing all hope.

This brings me to a story involving a classmate of mine at the university I attended for my undergraduate work.

He was a friend and thinker, and really motivated to achieve. Yet this student had but one challenge, one limitation, and that was to write research papers.  He had the ideas, he knew where to get the information, he knew how to discuss, critique and synthesize the information, but strangely, when it came to putting it down on paper, he just could not do it.

What I found amazing, was that my friend understood his limitations and sought assistance from students who had mastered this technique of writing and editing, to a significant degree.

He had his dream of becoming better at writing some day.  But it was his limitation at that present time.  He understood that he needed to move on to greater things in his life, and was not willing to allow his limitation to prevent him from doing so; he was determined to graduate.

He therefore sought the necessary assistance, moved on and now for a few years has been working with young children and their families as a school guidance officer.

 

Exercise

Think about a recent problem you had in which it was difficult to find a solution. Recall how you felt when it seem you tried everything. Think about your anxiety level, was at high or low? Write down how you felt.  Think about what your attitude was like before attempting to solve the problem and at the point you felt there was nothing else you could have done and write this down.

 

Uncomfortable sacrifices

Finding solutions to problems are not always easy.  In the process of digging and searching for answers you will learn.  You will learn about what it takes to chase after a passion or path to your goals.  You will become better.

To become better at what you are doing or intend to do, you will have to make some uncomfortable sacrifices.   Rest assured that whatever pain you are going through, it will not last forever.  The pain will one day go away.  This is all part of the process of making you a stronger individual at the end.  This idea reminds me of a body builder I saw training.  The stretching and compressing of muscles; breaking down muscle fibres has a purpose to it.  The athletes do this, with the ultimate goal of making their muscles bigger and stronger.

Now, that is an uncomfortable sacrifice the athletes put themselves through.  I said uncomfortable sacrifices and not just sacrifices.

Why?

This is so, as some persons may be able to make a sacrifice, to do without something or to go for long periods of time without being involved with something they like.

Why is this so?

Because they can simply do without.  They can go through an experience with little to no stress on themselves as such, what they sacrificed, they did not really need for their survival.  And so, not really benefitting from the process.  It is as though what they gave was out of their surplus, and not from a need to become greater or to expand themselves.  What they did took little energy.

Why?

Because they had that surplus energy anyway.

Or possibly it was time they sacrificed.  But that was not uncomfortable for them, because time is not an issue, they had time.  For them, they were going to use time on something anyway and it just happened to be this activity.

For you to grow to your fullest capacity, there are times that your sacrifices will be uncomfortable.

 

NOTE: It should be noted that each person must evaluate their actions and see what is in the best interest for themselves and the people who depend on them.  It will therefore be unwise to give up time and energy on a pursuit, that in the end will rob you of having good family relations, be endangering to your physical and mental health, and for some, moral wellbeing.

LIFE WITH EXPECTATIONS

Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.-Paxton Hood

It is no secret that most persons have the desire to start something great in their lives.  But the problem with most persons is that the knowhow to sustain an action that will get them to where they want to go remains a secret.  And so, with the passing of time their goals, dreams or aspirations dwindle into oblivion.

I want you to think of an occasion in your life when you made a decision to make some change.  This can be anything.

Try to recall the oath you made with yourself.  Maybe it was an exercise programme you wanted to implement.  You bought your sports clothing; matching shoes to go with it.  You made a schedule, and even started.

The first day of your exercise programmed was great, and then the second too.  Then the rain fell.  It is wet outside; you shouldn’t go out today, maybe tomorrow, a thought running through your mind.  You acted on it.

Then tomorrow came and you remembered that this was a rest day, so you can’t go out today, no, you shouldn’t, that will be cheating.  Remember the plan, the plan has a rest day built in, you already got thrown off with the rain this week.  Another thought entering your mind.

Before you know it, exercised days become swamped with other activities but exercise. Activities such as TV watching, or going to the movies may become priority. Now do not get me wrong, I’m not saying that anything is bad about these however the time they start occupying, are time originally set aside for exercise.

The gym equipment you purchased at home now becomes a hanger for clothing.  In this case, the plan to live a healthier life style, got side tracked.  A habit of consistent discipline for exercise was not developed.

I know of persons who are planning forever to return to school and finish that degree they started.  The days turned into months and the months into years.  The drive to complete the remaining course then vanished.

What is the course for that?

There can be many reasons.  But failure the stick to a plan of action consistently, speaks to a faulty process of forming the habits to take you where they want to go.

People want to achieve so much in life, too be more spiritual, learn a new language or to develop better friendships or greater wisdom in some area of their lives.

Some persons are able to accomplish so much in life whereas others struggle.

So what may be a significant deciding factor as to why some persons never achieve their dreams?

The answer could be as simple as that, they failed to develop proper habits.

When goals are not attained, most will just give up or frustrate themselves with self blame and doubt. When, what you should be doing is looking at are areas to develop more positive habits. If these habits are developed, the same persons get an intrinsic value that becomes beneficial to them in a significant way.

You see, people tend to be energized when given rewards—intrinsic or extrinsic—for their industriousness.

When we experience successes in life, owed to calculated actions and attention paid to details, we are motivated to repeat the behaviors which made us successful.

It is as though, through a learning process, we pair achievements of our goals with a specific routine.  This routine over time becomes automatic.  These are habits.

Good habits, they bring less pain physically or emotionally, as such, they are then repeated again and again.  The expectation is that we have similar positive responses each time.

If this good feeling is not experienced, or disappointments prevail, one of two positions is taken:

  1. One position might be to give up and no longer chase our dreams.
  2. The other position is to make adjustments to our routines and persevere.

Behaviorist Ivan Pavlov supported this idea of pairing specific action with outcomes.  In his work on, classical conditioning he showed that you can pair two things together that is as though they become one and the same.

Borrowing from this idea, we can see how we can pair together good habits and productivity. In other words, good work habits come to mean productivity and vice versa.

Developing powerful habits can propel plans.  Powerful habits can get you from the point at where you are right now in your life, to where you want to be.

From today, from this point on ward, you are going to succeed.  You may have tried before at various endeavours and experienced some type of setbacks.  But you will overcome, you will achieve greatness.  I therefore say to you, it is possible, and within your reach to accomplish goals you set for yourself.

Your approach to life, your attitude to growth of what is humanly possible for you must change.  After you have read and put these steps into practice, you will not remain the same.  This means that you must continue to be progressive in what you do to make your dreams a reality.

Someone once said that: “Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them”.  So let nothing prevent you from achieving all that you possibly can.

 

…you could accomplish all you want too, all on your own.

With the world becoming more and more individualistic, achievement is promoted as a lonely process. This kind of thinking is far from the truth. I made mentioned above, that for everything we do, eat, wear for instance, it was made possible because of someone else.

While it is true that your goals, and at least achieving them depends significantly on you, it will be erroneous to think that you can achieve these solo.

Any good student in life knows, that learning takes place by someone showing or by you the student observing. So, even if you look at it in this broad way, you no doubt get the picture that even in the case of observation learning, you need someone else.

Some persons are of the view, that to share their talents, time and wisdom with others will take too much time away from them.  They see what they are working on as too important to stop and lend a hand. So, opting not to assist in coaching others to realize their dreams, they focus on theirs.

Not only is this selfish, but in preventing someone else, or maybe not preventing but not contributing to the success of others, they may be inadvertently preventing their true success.

On the one hand, when we stopped to assist others we develop qualities such as love and compassion.

Imagine if a mother was working and being a better appearance but failed to assist another who probably was younger at parenting. This person would have missed valuable lessons which can actually make her better at parenting.

Think for a moment an entrepreneur, who was so focus on developing a personal brand and did not assisting another to develop theirs, can actually sully a relationship which could have developed. This is so as many businesses depend on collaboration and networking to survive in today’s competitive markets.

Then there are others who are very much skeptical, believing that if they share their ideas with others, they will be stolen. While it is true that there are some who can be very unscrupulous, sharing ideas of persons puts you in a good position to receive feedback.

To make any product better feedback is important. To know if you are working on yourself, and becoming a better person, feedback is also important. So the idea here is to put yourself or your dreams before others to examine. The positive critique you receive will be very valuable on your way forward.

For other, they feel that if they ask for assistance, they will be viewed as weak.  And this is a major problem.

A person venturing out into something new will make mistakes. They will not have all the answers and so they will be vulnerable. But vulnerability should not be seen as a problem; at least it should not be looked at as one. Again, this provides an opportunity to receive feedback and produce something of greater value.

 

From: 6 Powerful Habits For Success: Achieve Your Goals, Live That Dream And Add More Meaning To Your Life.

Copyright © 2017 Allick Delancy

All rights reserved.

How to Become and Remain a Transformational Teacher

An illustration of a shadow-like teenage boy. He's drawing a school, inspired from reading a book. The word "growth" is highlighted in green in the background.

However talented, no one is a natural-born teacher. Honing the craft takes significant care and effort, not just by the individual, but also by the school at large. Though experience does matter, it matters only to the extent that a teacher — regardless of how long he or she has been in the classroom — commits to continued professional development to refresh his or her status as a transformational teacher. Along those lines, even after a decade in the classroom, I don’t claim to be beyond criticism — not in the least. Still, I wish to offer some advice on constantly striving toward perfection, however elusive that goal will always remain.

Constantly Share Best Practices

As a first step, work toward recognizing that, no matter how long you’ve been in the classroom, there will always be someone else who’s more effective at a certain facet of teaching. When I was a first-year teacher, a veteran colleague inquired how I’d engaged such strong student interest in the American Revolution, something that he’d struggled with achieving. I shared my lesson plan, which culminated in a formal debate about whether the colonists had acted justly in rebelling against British rule. Moving forward, I felt more confident and comfortable about asking that colleague for help with providing quality written feedback, which he excelled at doing.

Find a Trusted Mentor

No matter how much experience you have, it’s crucial to find and rely on a trusted confidant. As a new teacher, I spent countless hours chatting with colleagues about best practices and where I feared that I might have fallen short. Not once did they pass judgment on me, or suggest that whatever I had done (or failed to do, in certain cases) was beyond repair. Instead, they offered thoughtful advice on how I might do things differently. No matter the subject, I value hearing fresh perspectives from new and veteran teachers about becoming even better at my job. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas.

Commit to Classroom Observations

I do my best to observe other teachers in action. This year, I benefited from watching a colleague inject humor into his English classroom to cultivate a more relaxed but effective learning environment. In turn, I tried to strike a similar balance in my history classroom, which helped students feel less afraid of sharing ideas and learning from mistakes. I’m equally grateful for observing a colleague teach French to students whom I also instruct. She possesses a gentle firmness that learners respond to, but more importantly, students know that she cares about them — and they don’t want to let their teacher or themselves down.

Change Things Up

I also observe other teachers to see how they change things up, especially when I get too comfortable in a routine. It’s certainly easier to teach the same books and content each year, but it’s also incredibly boring, which can lead to burnout. This summer, I’m working to revamp some of my American history curriculum to fall more in step with what students are learning and doing in their American literature class. For example, when juniors are studying the Cold War in my class, they’ll be reading Alan Moore’s Watchmen in their English class — an award-winning graphic novel highlighting many Cold War-era fears and tensions. For both classes, students will complete a yet-to-be-determined project to showcase their understanding.

Model the Usefulness of What You Teach

In line with changing things up, I’m always looking for new ways to model the usefulness of what I teach. More than ever, I find that students want to know how they can apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. In American history, I continue to de-emphasize rote memorization in favor of activities requiring clear, analytical thinking — an essential tool for whatever students end up pursuing in college or as a career. On most assessments, I allow students to bring a notecard. It seems less important in the age of Google to assess how much students know. Instead, I’m significantly more concerned with how much sense they can make of all this information so readily available to them. In all of my classes, I also make it clear that knowing how to write well will play a significant role in their future success.

Caring Beyond What You Teach

To motivate my students toward success, I strive to show that I care about them beyond the classroom. I do my best to chaperone trips, watch sporting events, and attend plays and other student-run productions. I advise the Model United Nations Club, which allows me to share my passion for diplomacy and fostering change. I also coach cross-country to help students see that I value maintaining a healthy body just as much as developing an inquisitive mind. The most transformational teachers that I know have a deep understanding of how their role transcends far beyond any subject that they’re teaching. Such teachers have the most lasting impact on their students long after graduation.

How else can one become a transformational teacher? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Post: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/become-and-remain-transformational-teacher-david-cutler

Helping Students Start the School Year With a Positive Mindset

by: Maurice J. Elias’s Profile

Boy happily running with his backpack

For students who have had trouble in school, or who have had a negative summer, it is especially important to get the school year off to a fresh start. And for all students, having a positive mindset makes learning much more likely. Here are four activities to help accomplish these goals.

Identity and Purpose: Who Am I?

Now that students are back in school, it’s a good time to help them refocus on learning, their strengths, and the personal and other resources that will help them succeed. Students can individually fill out the grid below, and then pair-share, discuss in small groups, and finally share with the class some of their responses. (Students tend to be most comfortable sharing numbers 2, 4, and 6 below when in larger groups.)

You may also wish to use other creative forms of sharing, such as having students create a collage or chart with all of their answers to each question or the top three answers to each question. Consider integrating this activity into any journal writing your students do.

  1. What motivates me?
  2. What are my best abilities?
  3. How do peers influence me?
  4. When and with whom am I at my best?
  5. Who are my best sources of help?
  6. How can I do more of what will best help me to succeed?

A Living Poll

Read each statement and, based on students’ opinions, have them move to a part of the room that you designate to represent each of the answers below. The three areas of the room are for those who believe any of these three answers:

  • It’s mostly true for me.
  • It’s partly true and not true.
  • It’s mostly not true for me.

You can choose to present the following questions positively or negatively:

  1. “I think school is pointless.” OR “I think school is important, and I need to learn so that I can succeed.”
  2. “I can be violent in some situations.” OR “I am more peaceful and would only use violence where there is a real danger.”
  3. “I think that trying doesn’t matter.” OR “I believe that the more I try, the more I can succeed.”
  4. “I do what makes me popular with others in school.” OR “I do what I want and what I think is the right thing to do.”
  5. “I come to class to pass the time.” OR “I am someone who wants to be involved in school and learn.”

After each statement (or others that you may wish to add), ask students in each area of the room to share why they believe as they do. There is great value in students hearing peers’ views about why they have turned to a more positive mindset. And it’s instructive for the teacher to get a sense of students’ views. Note that students may move to an area where they “think” that the teacher wants them to be.

Asking them to articulate why they believe as they do is your check — and their reality check — on whether they really do have the belief that they’ve endorsed. You may want to end with a discussion of the challenges of sharing honest opinions.

Journaling About Beliefs and Mindset

As a supplement to the above or as an activity in its own right, have students respond in their journals to at least one of each stem:

  • I used to be _______ but now I am _______
  • I used to think _______ but now I think _______
  • I used to do _______ but now I do _______

There is added benefit to revisiting these activities mid-year, or even after each marking period, to see how ideas are changing (positively or negatively).

Make a Good First Impression

First impressions matter. Teachers have told me the importance of decorating classrooms in ways that catch students’ attention and gives them something to think about at the same time. Give your students clipboards and a questionnaire asking them to notice different aspects of how the room is decorated. Come together to discuss what differences students noticed, why they think you made those choices, and what they would add if they were you. You can adapt this for younger children, as well.

Share with us in the comments section below your experiences with these activities and especially your more effective adaptations.

Post: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/helping-students-start-year-positive-mindset-maurice-elias?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow