This is my fourth video in my series on Inequality and Education and this one discusses the importance of a focus on success in education. Kids must learn more than just academic lessons. They must learn that success is a process; a process that is a skill that must be learned to sustain ongoing success in whatever they do.
In our last segment we talked about the importance of partnerships between parents and teachers. Today, we shift our focus to success, one of the key variables in the education equation.
In my book, The Difference is You: Power Through Positive Leadership, focus on success is one of the core principles of positive leadership. A crucial lesson for leaders in any venue is how to create and sustain a motivated workforce. The answer is: make people feel important and, no, it is not enough to just like them and treat them nicely. People know they are important when their leaders demonstrate, through both words and actions that they are dedicated to the success of their people.
This is true for leaders in business organizations, for public school principals, and for teachers in a classroom.
Winning is a form of success but success is more than just winning. Successful people win often but they also lose, sometimes and get disappointing outcomes. What distinguishes these powerful men and women from others is that they’ve learned, both, to accept responsibility for their outcomes and that success is a process. They’ve learned not to be discouraged by their mistakes and disappointing outcomes and they understand that they are opportunities to learn and grow. This confidence eliminates the fear of failure and, in turn, enables them to strive for ever-higher levels of achievement. It fosters and sustains a motivation to learn.
We all want to be successful at what we do but it doesn’t just happen. Learning how to master the process of success is a skill just like learning how to read, write, add, and subtract. In the classroom, it involves giving kids however much time they need to grasp the underlying logic or principles of a lesson and to learn from their mistakes.
When the child succeeds, that success is celebrated and the student is ready to move to a new lesson. When that process is replicated, over and over, the child is not only learning specific academic lessons, they are learning how to be successful; they are learning the process of success.
The challenge for teachers is that kids, by definition, lack maturity and are prone to be discouraged by failure. They are quick to give up on themselves in the face of difficulty and often choose the easiest path which is to stop trying. Letting students fail has devastating consequences for young lives, not to mention society.
The best time to prevent failure of these kids is during their first few years of school. If we wait until middle school or high school, the damage is already done the odds of turning these kids around diminishes, significantly.
One cannot learn how to be successful without having experienced success, particularly hard-won success. If you are a teacher, examine your classroom and ask yourself:
How many of your students experience success, routinely?
How many experience repeated failure?
We are teaching kids how to fail every time a teacher records a low or failing score in their gradebook and then moves the class on to a new lesson before some kids are ready.
This is not what teachers want to do rather it is what the education process demands of teachers. This education process sets kids up for failure.
Please take the time to read my education model and white paper to see one way we can reinvent the education process to focus on success and eliminate the kind of failure that destroys a child’s motivation to learn. Examine it not in search of reasons why it won’t work rather seeking reasons why it can.
Please, share this video with everyone you know and ask them to join you in a quest to transform public education. Millions of children are desperate for your help!
It is public education on which the futures of our nation’s children depend and it is our children on whom our nation’s future depends.
Remember, It’s all about the kids!!!!