One of the biggest questions in education is how to do we help students succeed? We talk about increasing academic rigor, training qualified teachers and access to the latest resources. But how often do we talk about the intangible things every student needs to thrive?
I dunno about you but I get so caught up in the content of my lessons and checking off my to-do list, that I often neglect the non-academic needs of my students.
Every student needs to know that…
1) They Matter
When students know that they matter, are important, and belong they do great things. They want to come to school and learn. They want to be involved and take ownership. They are engaged and motivated.
2) They Have a Voice
When students get to talk and share their thinking, everyone soars. When I stop talking and listen, I actually get to know who my students are and what drives them.
3) There’s a Reason Why
Students need to know that there’s a reason we do what we do in class. When my students don’t understand why it’s important or how it’s relevant to their lives, they are disinterested and unmotived.
4) They Have Permission to Create and Do
Students need to know that they have permission (and opportunities) to do something with the knowledge and skills they’re learning. They need to know they can go out and use their insight to change their lives, schools, and communities.
My goal in 2019 is to first focus on these intangible factors then worry about the content and method of my teaching.