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Teaching: Are we doing it wrong?

Posted by anonymous on December 26, 2015 at 12:35 AM

"What is one thing that should be taught in school that isn't already" asks Joshua Pang.

I have a bit of experience in teaching at a secondary school level and in my mind, we leave a number of gaps that could easily be addressed (if we wanted to, of course). At the top of this list would have to be resilience. There seems like there is an increasing pressure to reward our students often times for doing very little. What this type of mentatlity reinforces is that it's ok to underperform as long as you're actually doing something. Where is our reach for mastery or excellence? This also says that you will be rewarded any time you do something, which externalises any effort and minimises the chance you will do something of your own volition that has no reward associated with it. Recent studies have shown that students are less likely to do the right thing without recognition or reward. This is the problem, but how can we address it?

The Oxford dictionary defines resilience as "the ability to quickly recover from difficulties; toughness". This can only occur when kids are allowed to try and fail, correct and go again. Science seems to have the edge over other subjects (or is it just that I'm a science nerd?) regarding this approach, but too often, students are not afforded the time to reflect on their experiments and repeat them according to their recommendations for improvement. We need to be encouraging kids to try and be allowed to fail. Without a philosophy like this, perhaps we would never have planes in the air and basics like electricity! It's often seen that A students are prone to breakdowns when they get into university and experience their first poor results but lack the resilience to bounce back quickly from it. If we teach kids how to be resilience and give them specific strategies to help get them back on track without taking a mortal blow to their self esteem and worth, then we'll be heading in the right direction.

What are your thoughts? Surely someone is teaching their kids to be resilient ... what are the strategies you are using?

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Categories: Effective Teacher Practices

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