Thursday, April 13, 2017

Teaching Tenacity?

Today I was reviewing standards-based content with a number of children. Several were willing to persevere and several were satisfied with less investment and commitment.

I was essentially giving the students a chance to learn a little more and rectify a few errors that they had made on a math assignment.

As I worked with the students, I found myself thinking about why some of these students were more willing to persevere than others. Ideas that came to mind included the following:
  • Interest in the topic
  • A desire to do well
  • Modeling at home for perseverance 
  • Positive self talk and coaching
  • A belief that pushing yourself a bit more makes a difference
As a mom, my own sons at age 10 and eleven, demonstrated different capacities in this area, and I, frankly, had differing amounts of time for each child. For the first, I had a lot more time for a number of reasons, and for the third I had a lot less time. The middle son had the middle amount of time. I can see plusses to the time spent and minuses so I don't feel that one won out, but instead see it as different parenting at different times.

I can say that some factors that have helped our sons persevere include the following:
  • Seeing my husband and I persevere
  • Family talks about making choices and determining what matters
  • Growth mindset awareness--essentially you become what you put your time into, and we all have limited time so where are you going to invest it?
  • Positive coaching--we know that no one can be all things, and we continually coach our sons in the direction of making good choices.
Does this mean that my own sons and students persevere all the time--not at all, none of us do that. We have limitations to how much we can push and what we can do, but as I think more about this, I want to be mindful about what works when it comes to teaching tenacity and encouraging the kind of perseverance that truly makes a positive difference. Onward.