Parents have a tendency to look at a report card and immediately concentrate on the lowest grade. Johnny came home with 4 A’s and 1 C. The talk is usually something like this: “Good job overall. What can you do to pull up that C?” Educators do the same thing. We tend to focus on what is wrong vs. what is right.
I am suggesting we change the focus. Yes, I agree that effort needs to be put in to all the courses taken, but there can be extenuating circumstances that skew the figures. For instance, I was never gifted in math and science. I did OK with those subjects because I worked extra hard to learn it, but I never really liked the subjects. What I excelled in was English, History, and Business. Those classes were like a duck taking to water for me. I loved them and poured myself into them…and my grades reflected it. I have used those natural gifts on a daily basis.
Everyone is wired differently. We come from different backgrounds, different cultures, different experiences, and different families. The problem comes when we try to pool all kids into the mix and teach them a subject without considering how they are wired. I am not talking about special needs kids. They have to be given special consideration. I get that. I am talking about the average student going to school in the USA.
Some people learn primarily by seeing, some by hearing, and some by doing. Of course we all have a bit of each of these in how we learn, but we probably rely on one over the other. I am one of those people that learns best when I actually do it myself. You can tell me all day about it, or I can read everything there is about it, but until I actually DO it, it does not really sink in. Once I have done it, I get it.
One of the best things we can ever do for a child whether we are a parent or a teacher is to help them discover their gifts, then encourage them to pursue it with all of their hearts. The world is filled with people who have settled for a paycheck instead of pursuing their gifts…and they are miserable for it.
Focus on what someone does well and help them take THAT to the next level. You will be doing them a great service in identifying and confirming what they may already know in their heart…and you will save yourself and them a lot of stress from all of the guilt that would otherwise be inflicted. Focus on strengths and everyone wins. Teach them how they NEED to learn, and they WILL learn.
Dan SkognesTags: education, inspiration, motivation