Monday, July 21, 2014

How Do You Tackle Learning Struggles?

New learning is challenging.

If you're truly reflective and willing to take the time to look at your strengths and challenges with depth, you will find areas of need that are indeed challenging, thought provoking, and perhaps even embarrassing to develop.

True learning takes that kind of analysis and honesty, and more often than not learners turn away from that deep, targeted learning--the kind of learning that will transform and elevate their work.

How can we as learners embrace these challenges to best effect our work and intent to teach children well?

First, we have to be compassionate to ourselves. No learner has all skills and strengths--we are all learning no matter our age, position, or expectations.

Next, we have to research, reflect, think and learn deeply about the goal. What does this learning challenge entail?

After that, it's time to break down the big goals into smaller goals--take it one step at a time.

Then, look for a mentor, coach, or peer group to help you achieve your goal. We learn much better if we have others to support our learning.

Educators who embrace deep and challenging learning not only gain skill and perspective, but they also become more empathetic and effective coaches to their students because they know what it's like to embrace and meet a challenging learning goal. These educators understand the hilly path that real learning takes, and know the kinds of support and coaching that makes a difference.

Organizations that want to develop their teams with strength will take on a learner's mindset as well. Instead of quickly punishing errors, these organizations will make the time to teach and coach with empathy, skill, and strength. Leaders in these organizations will see their role as teachers and coaches who can make a difference by supporting educators' growth and skill in compassionate, kind, knowing, and targeted ways.

Today many tout the phrase, "Learn from your mistakes," but far fewer truly embrace the important efforts that support this phrase, and the time and care that goes along with learning from one's own mistakes and coaching others who have erred.

True learning includes struggle, and when we help each other along the road to learning we make that path more accessible and profitable, and we also develop our teaching-learning organizations with strength and care.