“The work you do, or do not do, this year will come down to how you perceive practice.”
As I was collecting some practice yesterday, some of my kids were fretting and mildly freaking out over the fact that they had not completed it, so I took the opportunity to reiterate and reinforce the purpose of practice in 211 this year.
Our conversation went something like this.
Me: How would one with a growth mindset perceive practice?
Them: (Generally in chorus) As an opportunity to grow.
Me: Okay. How many of you are in a sport or activity? (Hands raised around the room.) How many of you practice to get better in your particular sport or activity? (Hands stay up.) How many of you believe–even if you are really good at your sport or activity–that there will always be room for improvement? (Hands still up.)
Me: Is practice always fun?
Them: No. (Heads shaking emphatically.)
Me: Does it generally benefit you?
Me: Good. Then, it shouldn’t be any different in here, right? Practice should be something that you find value in. It may not always be fun, but it should always be of some benefit, or else you shouldn’t do it. That’s right. I am telling you–AGAIN–that you don’t have to do any practice in here. You will either do it or you won’t. It’s no longer about the grade. Truly. Your A is not going anywhere. It’s about learning; it’s about growing. Really, guys, it’s about how you see it. I want you to see it as a means to grow. I want you to behold it as something that has value. I want you to see it as a gateway to feedback. And, so, to that end, I will work hard on my end to make it such. I have a stake in that. But I cannot control how you see things. You are in control of your perception. You have a stake in your reality. It will be largely what you make it.
And it is there where the conversation generally ended. Of course, I don’t believe it will be the last time we have this discussion, as I seek to explain and they try to understand the “reality of different” in 211. And that’s okay. Sometimes it is harder to unlearn than learn. And so I will be patient. I will continue to work hard to earn my kids’ trust in what I am trying to do for them. Trust does’t happen overnight. I have to remember it’s only been 8 days. I still have a lot of work to do. But I believe it’s work worth doing.
Today, to better learn their “learning lives,” I will solicit stories from my kids that reveal their mindsets about reading and writing. Our learning QUESTion for the day:
How do our learning stories help us understand our own mindsets?
So, I will ask all to pen their reading and writing stories, the stories behind their current mindsets about the bread and butter skills for our subject area. And for as much as I hope to learn, I hope they learn more as they trace back through their experiences, discovering their paths to their present, their foundations for their future.
Happy Tuesday, all. May your own perceptions deliver your best realities today.