November 23, 2015
Students engaged in design thinking during the superintendent/student advisory meeting.
Teaching students optimism
In an Education Update article, Sarah McKibben writes about building a positive mindset in students. Optimism isn't about being happy all the time, but in analyzing what causes good outcomes. As student facilitators, we need to help them look at difficult situations and figure out which parts they can realistically impact or change.
A recent Gallup poll reported that only about half of students in grades 5-12 were hopeful about their future success. However, we can help raise this number by teaching strategies that get students thinking about the impact of their words and thoughts, and about how they deal with challenges. Practical optimists are aware that life can be difficult, but believe they have the power to shape their lives..
The language we use is important in promoting optimism. For example: "Meetings are always boring" vs "This meeting is boring." The former statement portrays a pessimistic attitude, while the second limits the observation to the current situation. We can teach students to “catch their thoughts,” to listen to what they say, and avoid saying never and always.
Four practical things we can practice in our schools to foster optimism include:
- fostering a sense of belonging;
- praising students' efforts;
- giving choices;
- sharing success stories.
Another way to develop optimism is to give students feedback on less-than-satisfactory work that helps them move forward and learn that mistakes are just part of the learning process.
Blended, Ch. 2
Horn and Staker begin chapter 2 with two industry models of disruptive innovation: steam-powered engines and personal computers. When both were introduced, they were not cost efficient, but both improved dramatically over time to replace incumbent systems. So why is blended learning a disruptive innovation? Blended learning uses technology to individualize student learning, therefore changing centuries-old teacher led instruction. It does not replace the teacher, but it does shift learning.
For more on chapter 2, read on.