As the world is busy making resolutions, what is the most important ‘lesson’ you want to teach your students?
Note: This blog is part of the #blogamonth challenge. Join in our community of educators and give your blogging an audience, a purpose, and a monthly prompt to keep you blogging.
Thinking It Through
Today I reserved time to reflect on the question and write this post; I wondered what, in today’s world of fast, fake, and fame, what would be an important lesson for students?
Our students are online; they’re responding to others, learning about their interests, and even wasting time. Sometimes they are forever distracted by the pings and dings and notifications — I agree with The Dancing Panda video, too, that platforms and app developers need to think beyond those clicks and pings and notifications.
With all these distractions, what can we, as teachers, do to help students?
Students have dreams, which can be an umbrella to keep them focused. We can help them dream.
How will those dreams and passions and interests be developed? We can build in maker spaces, genius hour, and Project Based Learning to help them practice planning step by step to complete a project, and to do the same with their bigger dreams.
Life is all about our relationships, and choosing those that most help us, and ignoring those that don’t. We can help students reach out and connect with others to build relationships, even if those are like our adult personal learning networks — we’re not always connected, but we have a network of connections when we can ask for help, and to which we can offer help. Online or off, we can help students learn to reach out and connect.
I really agree with Penny Christianson’s #blogamonth post where she explained how we can teach students how to ask questions and respond in a civil way — that’s important for this “in the cloud” world our students live in, and for those around us, in the real world. How do we approach and discuss with those we disagree with? How do keep our conversation civil and still get across our own point? How do we find the common ground? How do we work together to help each other?
These are most important.
Those relationships and the ability to question appropriately and to work together are necessary when “life happens.” The storms and obstacles of life will happen. Helping students be prepared with strategies for this is important too. Their dreams may need to be adapted, or more steps may need to be added to their plans on their journey.
I love how Stacy Brown’s #blogamonth post explains the importance of resilience. Students need strategies when the world gets in the way; they need to be prepared to walk around those obstacles while still looking forward towards their dreams. They need to know that life happens in good ways too.
Be Here Now
With dreams looking forward, relationships helping and enjoying the journey, and change preparing for when “life happens,” students will be well on their way to a successful life.
Yet, those distractions. Those pings. Those dings take up time daily and interrupt our time with those with whom we’ve chosen to share our journey. They can keep us from our focus on the steps to reach our dreams.
So an important lesson for students is to be in the moment with the people, activities, and goals of that moment. Put down the device and rest in the moment, then get active in the activity for that moment — whether it’s listening to a lesson, discussing an assignment with a friend, writing on your essay, or eating dinner with family. Just “be here now” with the people around you. Or “be here now” with your own reflection or interests. Ignore the pings and relish the sounds and smells and colors and engagement of the world in front of us.
I think that’s an important lesson to set in motion with discussions and time. Perhaps start a journal; bullet journals are popular now, and could encourage a “be here now” habit.
“Be Here Now”
- helps us hold onto dreams and our plans to make them come true
- builds our relationships that we’ve developed as we’ve connected to others.
- helps us see obstacles and be prepared with work arounds.
- allows us to reflect on our journey in life, to make it the best for us and those around us.
“Be Here Now” is a strategy to link it all together, something to hold onto always. That’s an essential lesson for today.