Viewpoints lead to opinions and opinions lead to actions. When we have an opinion that our student is incapable, disabled, disagreeable or disturbed, how will that influence our teaching? It is too easy to forget: all students want to learn, we just need to learn how to teach them.
While a child cannot possibly know the billions of possible facts or skills he will need throughout his life, he can be given a bigger, broader picture of what skills he is expected to learn and why. In other words, he can be given a goal in terms he will understand. This will become what he wants to learn when he understands these are skills he can achieve.
For example: Kindergarten: Common Core State Standards, translated into simple language for children:
- Learn the alphabet: recognize, say and write each letter
- Learn to count objects, write numbers, add and subtract
- Learn to recognize and draw with shapes and colors.
- Learn to write your name
- Learn to sound out new words and learn the “sight” words.
- Understand stories in books, movies and videos that you read, hear or watch.
- Learn to communicate and express yourself so you can be understood.
- Learn to listen and follow directions.
- Learn to help others and how to be kind.
- Learn to be safe and how to take care of yourself and your possessions.
When each child has a booklet, binder or portfolio listing these skills and a chart that shows how well he or she is doing on his practice to achieve them, he or she can be acknowledged for achievement of the core standard.
By urging students to examine their strengths, they can grow to be self-learners and by teaching them how to learn, they can be successful when they are on their own. Once a student has learned how to acquire new skills, it can be reinforced in subsequent lessons so the student can see how valuable it is to be successful at learning a new skill.