Blog 3-May,2018


Did you have an opportunity to listen to  Rita Pierson on You Tube in the last Blog?  This is not her only video, but it is one of my favorite.  Unfortunately, she died in 2013.  It was sad for me as I feel she had wisdom that she had not yet shared.  I encourage you to look up her other videos and watch them.  She was an inspiring woman who combined wisdom and humor.  You won't be disappointed.

Remember, we are discussing building self-confidence in our students.  Albert Bandura referred to it as self-efficacy. 

Rita said it so well when she asks, "Do you think you will like all your kids?  Of course not!!!! But they can never know it."

Think about all the kids who say they "can't do it". 

Think back to a time when you were unsure of yourself.  When you were afraid to try something new:  maybe tackle a project, take a test, enter a competition. Who inspired you with the confidence to move forward?  And if you didn't know how to move forward, who gave you the tools?   Did someone sit down with you and say, "What do you think you need to do first?"  "Ok, but, what about this part?" " What are your goals and what do you need to learn/do to achieve those goals?"

We think that if kids will only try harder.  Perhaps, they are just lazy; they need to re-evaluate their priorities.  If we can just "make them wanna" learn, then we will have solved all our problems.

 Let me say unequivocally, positively, absolutely, without one, and I mean no one, wants to fail.

Ross Greene said it so well:  "Kids do well if they can".  Take 5 minutes and  watch the video.  I took this workshop with him many, many, many years ago.  He is amazing.  His Collaborative Problem Solving is now call Collaborative Proactive Solutions.

Metacognition does not come intuitively to most of us.  It needs to be taught.  If a student has one correct answer on a paper, they have learned something.  If we take the time to sit and speak with the student and ask them how they happened to remember that particular answer, we may learn something about their learning style AND we give them a message  that we recognize that they have the ability.  Instead of focusing on what they got wrong, we point out what they did right.  Even the student who got them all wrong, showed up for the test.  That is HUGE!

If the problem is the behavior of the student.  The same process applies.  Why is the student being so disruptive?  Another student engaging in the same behavior may have a totally different reason. Both engage because it works.  But what are they each getting out of it?

  It is not about trying harder.  It is about trying smarter.  Asking a student to tackle a task without the tools they need means they spend all their time struggling to learn to use the tools (sit straight, raise their hand, look us in the eye, do the heading correctly), instead of us trying to figure out what they are doing that is working and why. (First Video)

Rita Pierson said that each child needs a champion.  A champion that focuses on the strengths of what we can do and helps us develop the skills we need, within our learning style, to get even one question correct or just show up!

While we may think we 'know', we don't always know.  I have taught in poverty neighborhoods and in very wealthy communities.  There is not a socio-economic barrier that protects kids from developing a negative self image.

When we take the time to build relationships with our students, when we understand their personal lives better, we tell them that they have worth.  Feeling worthy is the beginning of opening up to the risk of trying and failing. 

When everyone already thinks we're stupid, who wants to put more fuel on the fire.  What better excuse for failure than, "I could have, but didn't really study" or "I had better things to do than study", or "Who cares anyway".

I would like to encourage everyone to choose a child that is most difficult, perhaps one you find personally uncomfortable.  Spend some time with that student. Talk about what they do away from school.  Maybe while helping to make up some work that you know they can do if you work together.

Next month, June, we will delve  into CBT and the connection to Bandura's theory of the importance of a positive Self Efficacy.  I know I have introduced a lot very quickly, but my hope (please!) is that we will explore these more in depth and see how they are so woven together that they almost create a "Where's Waldo" picture of what is happening in our classrooms.

Over the summer I will be speaking to local Educators and interviewing them for posting on future Blogs.  If you have any suggestions, please share them with me at:


Please post your experiences also.  Sharing your perspectives and experiences enriches  us all.

Thank you


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