Sunday, January 3, 2010
In What Ways has Your Thinking Changed?
A major goal for me as a teacher this year has been to wake up my students’ ability to think. To think about what they are capable of, about their surroundings, about others’ feelings, about what kind of student they want to be and about how their behavior and choices they make now are shaping who they will become as an adult.
Most importantly, and the foundation for influencing all of the others, is to change their thinking regarding what they are actually capable of.
As previously written about, many students like to ask questions that they can very well figure out on their own. Most are so conditioned to just blurt out their question and are used to getting an answer. Either by a parent, friend, sibling, or teacher, most questions are just answered because that is what is easy to do or what they are used to doing.
Related to my post about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, most students are not only extrinsically motivated but they are also externally conditioned to rely on others to answer their own questions. The more and more this goes on the less and less they can rely on themselves to figure things out on their own. Is it even relying on others or more of a way of figuring things out, as if it is what is normal? In other words, is this their construct way of problem solving? Just ask someone else!
Intertwined within my purpose of this goal, is to force students to think on their own in certain situations and to consistently have them reflect on their thinking and how or if it is changing.
Recently, as part of my reflection journal prompts, I asked the students the following question: “In what ways has your thinking changed since you’ve been in sixth grade?”
The following are two of my students’ thoughtful responses:
The first student wrote, “I know I’m capable of many good things, I will just have to try. I also think I can be very successful by doing my absolute best. Also, to think before I ask something.”
The second student wrote, “In many ways, I learned how to be more responsible and think before I do things. 6th grade has been very good so far and not hard if you think and believe in yourself.”
These are two affirmations that my hard work is paying off.
It is like anything in life, being aware of something is half of your potential success. The second half is following through with what you know to be the right thing to do.