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James Comer says that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.
George Washington Carver says all learning is understanding relationships.
kids don’t learn from people they don’t like. Some people think that you can either have it in you to build a relationship, or you don’t. I think Stephen Covey had the right idea.
I’m not talking about warm, fuzzy, emotional love. I’m talking about genuine, decisional, put-the-other-person-first kind of love. It motivates; it inspires in a powerful way. I’m talking about the kind of love that
– C.S. Lewis wrote about it in his book “The Four Loves.”
He described it as “agape love,” the highest level of love known, a self-sacrificial kind of love, a love that’s passionately committed to the well-being of the other. This kind of love is not always emotional, but it is always decisional.
He said you ought to just throw in a few simple things, like seeking first to understand, as opposed to being understood.
Simple things, like apologizing. You ever thought about that? Tell a kid you’re sorry, they’re in shock.
What really works?
two things are needed: research-based teaching techniques and relationship.
Plutarch said it a long time ago: “The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.”
And more recently,
Albert Einstein: “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”
Teachers, great news. This means you can love your kids even when they’re not likable. Does that ever happen? Because this kind of love is not emotional, it’s decisional, and it motivates and inspires in a powerful way, and it’s as old as the hills.
Teachers … an airtight lesson plan is important. A well-organized, consistent discipline plan is important. Effective use of technology is important. The standards are important, but, please, don’t let them stifle your creativity.
All these things are important, but what the kids are going to remember most of all is you. Don’t forget that sixth C: Caring. That is the most effective, most powerful, most inspiring way of teaching: getting their attention, motivating them, inspiring them.
What they’re going to remember most is that you looked them in the eye and asked them about their extra-curricular activities and their part-time jobs. What they’re going to remember most is that you just asked them in the hall how they were doing.
What they’re going to remember most is you worked really hard in the first couple weeks of school to learn their names in the first couple of days. What they’re going to remember most is that you went to their athletic events and their concerts.
What they’re going to remember most is that you led the class in loud, off-key choruses of “Happy Birthday.”
What they’re going to remember most is that when they made the newspaper, you put their newspaper clippings up on the wall in the classroom, and you told them to autograph them, and you told them to do that so that someday when their autographs were worth lots of money, it would fund your retirement.
What they’re going to remember is that you were transparent, and that you were real, and that you had the ability to laugh at yourself and laugh with them.
What’s really important?
How do we motivate?
How do we inspire?
Allow kids to involve themselves in the classroom in student-choice collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. But don’t forget that sixth C. It’s probably the most important one because the greatest of these is love.