Thursday, November 14, 2019

Imperfect


In Embracing your incompetence by Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“You can’t be great at everything. None of us are.”

That is the problem that a lot of my students have. They want to be good at everything because they think that if they are, more people will like them or they will be accepted better. It is hard to make them realize that this is an impossible goal for anyone and not just students. By setting this goal, they are setting themselves up for failure.

Exploration:
First, it is important for them to find out what they like to do. In order to do this, they need to try different things. My hubby and I have tried to play golf and I realized that I just didn’t like it so I know that I will never be great at something I don’t like. I cook because we need to eat but I’m not great at it. I don’t like hunting or fishing so I won’t ever be great at it. I love knitting and spinning yarn so I think I’m pretty great at these things. But I would never have known if I hadn’t given them a try. So, exploration is an important part of learning what we like to do.

Practice: 
Once students find something they like, they need to practice at it. You can’t be proficient at something unless you practice it. I think I’m a pretty great knitter and spinner but I couldn’t have become this if I hadn’t practiced. While practicing, I may have some failures or mishaps, but if I don’t give up, I will get better.

Flexibility:
Once I get proficient at something, I don’t have to just do that one thing. I can learn something else that I like to do and work on that skill. This gives me options of doing things at different times. I like writing and doing this blog but it doesn’t consume my life. I can knit when I’m in the mood or I can spin when I would rather do that. I like to garden but it is a seasonal hobby so I have other things I can do when it is too cold or wet to garden.

I see learning new things and accepting that I am imperfect and can’t be great at all things as a great way of living my life. Students will have a much richer life and feel more successful if they can learn that it is alright to be imperfect.

How did you learn to accept your imperfectness? Please share.

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Doing the Hard Part



“It’s often a lot more fun and relaxing to focus on the parts that aren’t hard. Or to pretend that the hard part is easy.”

This reminded me of how I like to get things done. I like to identify the hard parts. Then I decide if I want to do the hard parts first or last.

Whenever I take a test, I will answer all of the ones that I can do easily first. I put a little mark by the ones I left blank, so I don’t miss them when I come back to them. This helps me maximize the points I can get. I would hate to spend too much time on the hard parts and then not have enough time to answer questions that I know the answer to. It also gives me time to let the adrenaline rush to settle down. There is something about taking tests that make my body go into fight or flight mode because I fear the unknown. Once I’m able to go through all of the questions, I can be more relaxed.

Sometimes when I can identify the hard part of a project, I like to get it out of the way first. That way, I know the rest of the project can go quicker and easier. I find it is the best way for me to tackle any project. My friend says I’m very goal-oriented so that is why this is the best process for me.

It is important that my students find out what works best for them. Just because something works well for me, doesn’t’ mean it will be the same for them. In order for them to discover this is by trying different ways and allowing them the freedom to learn what works or doesn’t work. I need to help them figure out why something works or doesn’t work so reflection is an important part of this discovery process.

Questions they need to answer are:
Was I able to identify the hard parts?
Was it easier to do the hard part first or last?
What made the hard parts hard and what made the easy parts easier?
What would I do differently if I had to do this again?
What advice would I give someone who was going to do this?

How do you tackle projects? What is your process? Please share.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Working Together



“Have you attended a learning opportunity with others? If so, did you realize any of these benefits? Anything missing? What are some strategies you’ve put in place for successful team learning?”

I have mixed feelings about working in a group. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

When it works:
·      I enjoy the fact that I’m not alone.
·      I like that I don’t have all the responsibility.
·      One person is the leader and coordinates all activities.
·      One person makes sure that all parts are being completed in a timely fashion.
·      Each team member uses their individual strengths to work towards a shared goal.
·      Everyone pulls their weight.
·      If we run into an obstacle, we talk out the problem and come up with a solution faster.
·      It is successful if everyone completes their tasks.

When it doesn’t work:
·      Everyone wants to be the leader and take charge.
·      Everyone doesn’t pull their weight.
·      Not everyone in the group gets along because of personality conflicts.
·      When someone makes a mistake, they refuse to admit it.
·      I don’t like that I have to work on everyone else’s timeline. This might mean that I can’t do my part until someone else completes their part. If they don’t complete their part in a timely fashion, I can’t get my part done on time so we might miss a deadline.
·      Everyone blames someone else in the group for the group’s failure to complete the goal.

I think it is important that we teach students how to work in a group. This is not something that comes naturally and requires social skills. It is important to discuss what happens when it works and what happens when it doesn’t work. They need to see that working as a group is like working as a machine.

It would be great to bring in some kind of machine that you can remove a part or two. Show them how it works when all the parts are together. Then take out a part or two and see if it still works. Explain to the students that this is just like working as a group.

Working as a group or team is a job skill that everyone needs to learn. They don’t have to like everyone on their team but when they are on a job, they are required to reach the goal assigned and it doesn’t matter if they like each other.

How do you teach students to work in a group? Please share.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash