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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in learning mindset

Posted by on in What If?

reluctant student

Reluctant learners have been a staple of school life since the earliest teachers and their students huddled around fires in smoky caves long ago. Popular culture abounds with images such as students staring dreamily out a classroom window, feeding their homework to the dog, and playing truant.

All of us have been reluctant learners at one time or another. Even the most serious students don’t always feel like doing homework or paying attention in class or completing school projects. The difference in being an occasionally reluctant learner and one who never wants to work, however, is serious. When students don’t do their school work, they lose their ability to stay apace with their classmates. Over even a brief period, they fall behind and then find other, even less acceptable ways to amuse themselves in our classes.

There are two easy mistakes to avoid when trying to help reluctant learners achieve academic and behavioral success. The first is to ignore the causes of the child’s reluctance. Too often teachers just view a student as lazy or react in anger instead of taking a problem-solving approach. Just a few minutes of friendly and supportive conversation with the student can often yield valuable information about why the student is not engaged in the work.

The second mistake to avoid is to assume that the student is deliberately choosing not to work. While that could sometimes be the reason for temporary reluctance, it is rarely going to be a long-term choice by a student. Teachers who can look beyond the off-task behavior to determine the areas where a student may be frustrated or lack confidence have a greater chance to build a solid relationship with a reluctant learner and provide the support necessary to help that student be successful.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Twenty years ago.

Twenty years ago, I set foot in my first classroom. I remember it like it was yesterday. And just as much, I can vividly recall the high level of accountability I had.

For myself.

As a new teacher, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. Every. Detail. Mattered. The signage that adorned the classroom door that greeted "my" students. The arrangement of the books in the classroom library, desks, tables, and learning centers. Bulletin boards, posters, and name tags. 

The lesson and unit plans for the day, week, and month to come. All carefully scripted, nearly to the word, for that fateful first day - the day I had been waiting for since being offered that first opportunity, to make an impact on the lives of children.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning


We all know the familiar adage, "If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he eats for his whole life." We also know that it's essential that students learn-to-learn so that they become successful lifelong learners. This is critical to living well in a world of ever changing resources, events, problems, and opportunities. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_baby-1093759_1920.jpgAt the start of the school year, it's advantageous to engage students in a number of conversations about what's important when we talk about and work towards learning success. 

One concept that's important can be titled, "Architect Your Learning." Tony Wagner spells this concept out well in his talk here

You may start this conversation with your students with this question, "Who is responsible for your learning and what does that look like?" 

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