20 May 2016
Great learning requires two vital elements. The bucket of self-belief and the bucket of academics. The bucket of academics will never hold if the bucket of self-belief is not filled.
This is the psychology of learning.
Every teacher MUST be conscious of it and use it to connect with their students.
Having the right positive thinking and self-belief, with an eye firmly planted in the future, gives the learner the power to take on the world.
Good connectivity between teacher and student allows for nurturing so that the journey of learning over the years of primary and secondary education becomes as functional and useful to students’ futures as possible, where it becomes a shared journey. But how often do we hear from students of negative comments surrounding certain teachers!
Not all teachers are educators
Kids are astute. They pick up quickly on poorly executed discipline, poor eye contact, poor relationship building, poor systematic learning, and from that they realise a whole year can be lost. For the low self-esteem learner this can have the capacity to compound into future years. Their peers, the self-motivated students with a full bucket of self-belief, learn despite their teachers’ inability to teach (delivery of concepts) or educate (ensuring students understand).
When I ask a young person what they would like to do in the future, and they answer, “Fly an Airbus A380,” I know I never ever, ever, ever have to explain why we are learning a certain concept and where it fits in and if it is important and where it fits into life and living. They just accept. They just do it. They just get on with it. They are psychologically motivated.
The learner who shrugs and still hasn’t given thought to life beyond the present is destined for laborious learning across many years, failing to store learned concepts for future use, and happy to indulge in the here and now, and merely ‘wills’ good marks on report cards to keep annoyed parents at bay.
We live in paradise, but…
It is understood that most students in developed countries live a ‘present bias’, as if the selection for future careers is too great. I call it the ‘too many ice-creams in the ice-cream shop syndrome’, where making a decision takes so much longer than when we only had a few careers to choose from. Ask a pre-pubescent child in a developing country and they are so full of passion to be something… ‘a doctor’, ‘a professor’, ‘a teacher’… whilst gleaning several languages from passing tourists. They build their bucket of self-belief from early in life.
I remember in Myanmar (Burma) several years ago, children would gather at a river crossing that led to a historical site to greet the few tourists who would venture into that part of a very isolated country. Their ability to socially communicate in all the world’s most common languages was extraordinary, including knowing the other countries’ leaders, capitals and currencies. All the while with the intention to sell their beads and necklaces!
Act now for their future
To have the greatest effect on students’ futures, educators must ALWAYS keep in mind the end goals and bigger picture. Building confidence and motivation is imperative, so that students can learn for themselves, thereby lessening dependency on teachers, minimising the rollercoaster ride of puberty, maximising their personal benefit from the school system – and easing its unwanted side-effects.
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