Teaching students not to fear

Excellent read:

It may be that some people inside higher education think students aren’t ready for college because they don’t know what they should know. Or students don’t come with the abilities we think they should already have. Or they don’t know how to learn. Or they can’t think critically. Or they don’t know correct grammar. Or they don’t know how to manage their time. All that may be true, but I believe none of it is going to be repaired if we don’t help them learn how to stop fearing questions, themselves and others.

None of our concerns about student readiness for college are ever going to be resolved if we don’t help students learn how to stop fearing questions, themselves and others, writes Laurence Musgrove.

Source: The importance of teaching students not to fear (essay)

The most helpful concept I’ve discovered in her teachings is “bodhichitta,” the ongoing consciousness of those who have developed the fearlessness necessary to extend compassion to one’s self so that it might be extended to others.

Chodron defines bodhichitta as the ready mind and compassionate heart capable of overcoming the fears we feel toward ourselves and others that often result in aggression, prejudice, despair and even indifference. According to her, those who dedicate themselves to training in bodhichitta are called “bodhisattvas or warriors — not warriors who kill and harm but warriors of nonaggression who hear the cries of the world. These are men and women who are willing to train in the middle of the fire. Training in the middle of the fire can mean that warrior-bodhisattvas enter challenging situations in order to alleviate suffering. It also refers to their willingness to cut through personal reactivity and self-deception, to their dedication to uncovering the basic energy of bodhichitta.”

(emphasis mine)

Link: Students Are Increasingly Anxious, but We Can Help Them | Just Visiting | InsideHigherEd

Good piece about the anxiety that writing courses often produce in students, and what we can do about that.  Written for higher ed, but absolutely applicable to K-12 educators as well.

Grades, however, tend to be not very good incentives for writing well. I believe that ultimately, writing must come from an internal, rather than external drive. Why can’t I do that same coaching I claim to value without the cudgel of grades?

via Students Are Increasingly Anxious, but We Can Help Them | Just Visiting | InsideHigherEd.

Article: This Is What a Student-Designed School Looks Like | MindShift

This Is What a Student-Designed School Looks Like | MindShift.

^Amazing example of how student-directed, independent learning can offers students rich opportunities for deep, engaged learning. This high school has found a way to open up this kind of experience for students who want it, without restricting it to “high achievers.”

Recommended read.

via This Is What a Student-Designed School Looks Like | MindShift.

Link: Why a Harvard Professor Has Mixed Feelings When Students Take Jobs in Finance – NYTimes.com

Instead of finding clever ways to hide fees, banking innovations could solve these real and important problems. In much of the developing world, we have already come to associate finance with creative ways to lend to the poor or to offer microinsurance products that protect farmers against uncertain rainfall. There is no reason we cannot have a similar wave of positive financial innovation in the United States.

So how should I feel about my students going into finance? I hope they realize that they have the potential to do great good and not simply make money. It may not be hiow the industry is structured now, but idealism and inventiveness are two of the best traits of youth, and finance especially could use them.

Why a Harvard Professor Has Mixed Feelings When Students Take Jobs in Finance – NYTimes.com.

via Why a Harvard Professor Has Mixed Feelings When Students Take Jobs in Finance – NYTimes.com.

 

Link: How Engaged Are Students and Teachers in American Schools? | MindShift

Unfortunately, most teachers are not in a position to share excitement with students. About 70% are classified as disengaged, which puts them on par with the workforce as a whole. This is surprising in some ways, because teachers score close to the top on measures that indicate that they find meaning in their life and see work as a calling. Unfortunately, the structures that teachers are working in–which may include high-stakes standardized testing and value-added formulas that evaluate their performance based on outside factors–seem to tug against their happiness. “The real bummer is they don’t feel their opinions matter,” Busteed says. K-12 teachers scored dead last among 12 occupational groups in agreeing with the statement that their opinions count at work, and also dead last on “My supervisor creates an open and trusting environment.” via How Engaged Are Students and Teachers in American Schools? | MindShift.

Link: Choice Equals Power: How to Motivate Students to Learn | MindShift

Helping students to think about how they learn and to assess themselves is the Ferlazzo’s big goal. “We want students to be able to see it in their self-interest to be thinking about their thinking when we’re not around, when they’re not even going to get graded on their meta-cognition and awareness,” he said. If students can do that, they will not only be more motivated, but they will have a deeper skill to take with them beyond the classroom.

via Choice Equals Power: How to Motivate Students to Learn | MindShift.