Connect with Kids : Weekly News Stories : “Living from the Inside Out…Mistakes Teachers Should Make”

Living from the Inside Out…Mistakes Teachers Should Make

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Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 | CWK Producer

“What we have to tell students is that you’re OK the way you are, you can bloom where you’re planted.”

– Nido Qubein, President of High Point University

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Kids may think their teachers know everything, but according to a recent article in Converge Magazine for educators, when teachers mess up every now and then everybody learns something

Educators agree that learning happens in lots of different ways.

“I give every student in my seminar a little bird that stands on an axis and I make the point that the bird is in perfect balance and so must your life be in perfect balance … physically, spiritually, mentally, socially, economically, you live in the extraordinary zone when you have balance in your life, says Nido Qubein, President of High Point University.

Balance is lacking for too many teens. Research from San Diego State University reveals that rates of depression, stress and anxiety among today’s teens are three times higher than the 1930s. The pressure, coming from different sources, can really take its toll.

“Students have a sense of anxiety because society places so many pressures on them, because parents place pressure on them, because television places pressure on them, because peer group places pressure on them. What we have to tell students is that you’re OK the way you are, you can bloom where you’re planted,” says Dr. Qubein.

Letting students find their own path to answers – maybe even struggle a little — can make them better learners in and outside of the classroom.

“You know, it’s an exciting world and we should be able to explore,” says 19-year-old Chandler DeWitt, a college sophomore and teen author of Inside Out: Real Stories about the Inner Choices That Shape our Lives. “

What We Need To Know

Test scores. Team Sports. Technology. Today’s teens face a competitive, complex, 24-7 existence. Perhaps it’s no surprise that research from San Diego State University and the University of Georgia shows that kids exhibit four times greater the rate of depression and anxiety than the children of the 1930s.

Experts believe a cultural shift, with values placed by parents, school systems and communities on external outcomes and material success, may be the fuel for teen stress and anxiety. How can educators, parents and kids themselves redefine this race for reward?

One approach is to increase awareness and action toward leading a more balanced life. In a recent issue of Converge Magazine, Julianne Capati and Spencer Taylor, students at Empire High School in Tucson, Arizona, wrote an article entitled “Five Mistakes Students and Teachers Should Make.” They write “mistakes lead to learning and growing. Mistakes challenge you to learn from them in order to succeed. Mistakes represent success in disguise.” Their suggested mistakes teachers should make include:

  • Let students fail
    Essentially, teachers are being told to hold their students’ hands and give them stepping-stones to the answers of their education. However, letting students find their own path to answers in class is a key experience for them to become better students.
  • Make bad lesson plans / make mistakes on content
    Every student, and every class, is different. Lesson plans that work for some students do not work for all, and teaching methods that are perfect for one course may not be for another. Teachers should not be afraid to slip up once in a while in their words or writing because when students make mistakes, then they will engage during a lesson by creating a discussion about how to correct the mistake.
  • Waste time
    Waste time to see who your students are and what they know. Teachers may feel pressure to spend every single moment on content, but getting to know your students and their knowledge can actually save you time in the long run.
  • Ignore your reputation
    Many teachers want to earn the vote of best teacher, but sometimes not being the most favorable teacher can help your students. Even though giving the hardest tests at a school may not be seen as the coolest thing to students, it will give the students more incentive to learn. So even though being strict might not make a teacher the most popular, it can make a class run a whole lot smoother and at a better pace.
  • Set standards too high
    It is a good thing for teachers not to have low standards so that they have room to push students and make their students become better educated and driven. Teachers should have a moderately high standard that is achievable by the average student, but is still high enough to challenge students and push them to a better education.

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