Monday, June 18, 2012

Be a Solutionist

Be a solutionist
“Persist and you shall succeed” was a saying I heard early and often in my educational career and this habit of the mind was of paramount importance to me. Whether it was my parents or teachers early in life or my colleagues later in life modeling that behavior, I became a disciple of persistence. This quality provided me with the ability to search for alternative solutions and not become flustered when the initial strategy was unsuccessful. I learned early on in education you not only may need plan B but C, D and sometimes E.
As I began focusing on this blog entry, I realized examples of persistence and the lack of it are everywhere. 
Teachers who dismiss technology as something that isn’t necessary and couldn’t possibly enhance their instruction could be an example of a lack of persistence. They have tried it, encountered adversity and surrender to the past. Yet they expect their students to continue the effort and” give it your best.” Does the teacher work through daily problems or do they become disconcerted when obstacles to learning enter the classroom?
Teachers, and parents, must continually model persistence for it to carry over to our students.
This is a higher level skill that must first be observed, then taught and reinforced through problem solving activities. Teaching students to persist requires teaching them to understand. Students need to be active participants in the learning process and this requires our instruction to include relevant, engaging performance tasks which sometimes necessitate thinking outside the realm of the textbook. Simplicity resides in most texts, for true understanding we must teach outside the text.
It is frustrating when this stick-to-it-tiveness seems to be lacking in the current generation of students (or teachers). To overcome this, we too must become solutionists and find ways to challenge and motivate our students (and peers) towards acquiring this necessary habit of the mind.

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Mr. Gerry Kosater

There are two paths you can choose but there's always time to change the one you choose