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Episode 5.5 | Confident - Educator Edition


Season One | Episode 5.5

 

Students can't be confident in their abilities if they don't understand the power of their own brains and bodies. Let's start there. One of our core essential understandings is that the brain is malleable. Knowing that the brain is continually making new connections, creating new neurons, pruning away the unused, a TON in the early childhood and adolescence years, it makes me challenge the idea of learning styles. (Covers eyes and peeks through fingers...lol)


This may be an unpopular opinion, but I have my reasons, hear me out.

 

There are just too many factors to consider about a child's context to make sense of that sort of labeling... auditory, visual, kinesthetic, reading/writing learners. Initially, early in my career, I was on board and understood the need to focus on learning styles. I GET IT...it was all the rave. It was more so what I thought I had to do to be a good teacher. I had to check all the boxes that my lessons included those different opportunities, which isn't bad because it led to an all-inclusive mindset. But over time and sitting with the science of learning and development, I learned how limiting it can be to tell students that they learn best in one way.

Here are the questions that I have asked myself when reflecting on learning styles:

  • How are we building confident kids if they hear in their most developmental years, especially that they learn BEST visually, by hearing, body movement, etc.?

  • What if they just haven't come across an auditory or visual style that struck a chord and resonated with them?

  • What if the sounds they hear or visuals they see around them and in the classroom are void of cultural significance they can connect to and with?

You see? It's a lot to consider, especially if we are thinking equitably about it. Can we stop using learning styles without critically thinking about what that means for the box we might be putting kids in? Let's go with the more freeing and culturally affirming practice of being attuned and responsive to our kids. However, they show up. Be a student of your student. Enter your classroom with the intention to provide the most relatable experience for your students. Learn what makes them light up, the boundaries they are comfortable exploring within and build your relationships and content in that space.


Let's talk about perfectionism a little bit here as well and how that models a standard that no one can live up too, including your students. When you are honest about your emotions, feelings, and mistakes... it normalizes mistakes and persistence for your students and builds trust. One area of relational trust is high competence. Knowing your stuff. Of course, as parents, teachers, or anyone around a young person, we want to seem knowledgeable like we have it under control. There is something to say for the softer confidence of owning that you are on a journey. That means when you screw up... own that… rephrase, make a new plan... MOVE ON!


One of the essential understandings that we fully endorse here at Revolve Learning is that educators don't give students potential. They unlock it! You unlock that potential within your students. You also don't give confidence, you help students build it.


Your students are fully capable of being confident in their abilities. It's usually the adult actions and language that changes their minds makes them believe otherwise.

Teaching without considering the context that your students are coming to the table with is like building a house on sand and having the expectation that it will withstand all rising tides and the weather of every hurricane. It just doesn't make sense. Taking time to build relationships is like pushing the house building plans back off the water and onto the solid ground. Being equitable in that effort is that you don't build that house without the students' input on their vision for that home… they are the ones that will live in it…invite people to it. They should be proud of it. The effort it took to get there… you HELPED build it… but the vision is all theirs.


I'll leave you this season with this sentiment. When I think about our role and impact on children's lives, especially children who have experienced adversity, I think about this question. What would it take of us to build kids that are confident in themselves despite their circumstances and surroundings?


Teachers often ask me how they get the best result out of their students academically, and I always ask what they know about your students? You can't access academic content successfully with students without the relationships. You have to start with them as the content first, then they will WANT to learn more from you.


Let's throw it back to how we started this season and think more proactively; what would have to be true about your teaching and the effort you put in to be that teacher that students remember fondly when they are older?


Students will remember the year 2020 without a doubt. Still, you have the excellent opportunity to be the beacon of light that they remember. They will only remember if you are that light right now. How would your teaching change if you entered with the mindset that your legacy is on the line every day?


You've got this! We see you!

 

You will find the EDUCATOR EDITION- Questions to Connections Worksheet for this episode on the word CONFIDENT here!

If you are new here, check out our Path to Meaningful Connections resource!

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