Thursday, January 6, 2011

How do I teach my students to try harder?

Ms. Dorothy,
How do you deal with children who don't do their best? What do you do to instill the value of hard work in your students? I never expected to have first graders in my class who aren't there to learn! I was never like that!
- First year Teacher

Some students (like you!) are fortunate enough to learn, early on, that their success in school is directly connected to their effort.  Others, however, need to be taught this concept.  

Some students believe that the children who do well in school are "just smarter."  Some actually believe that there is some kind of luck about doing well in school - these are often the same students who blame their teachers for their poor grades.

All children need to know that
Trying Their Best is what makes them smarter and more successful.  

If your students aren't giving their best efforts, stop for a moment and teach them the connection.  Notice aloud those students who are doing well at something, and recognize how hard they are working at it.  Remind them all that they too can have remarkable work, if they try their best.

They can all learn that learning isn't magic, luck, or the domain of only a few.

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