In two weeks our Grade 12 students will participate in a special workshop led by Mr Lance King (www.taolearn.com). The title of the workshop is Building Exam Confidence. Mr King is known for his provocative thinking around teaching and learning. He focuses an audience on supporting students in becoming lifelong learners who regulate their own learning and learn independently. In a workshop for teachers last year, he challenged educators to clarify the “real purpose, the overall aim of school”. Is it about getting into a good college? Is it about finding a good job? Is it about producing life long learners? How do we help students become intrinsically motivated for learning? What’s the role of teachers in supporting students in becoming independent, self directed learners?
In his faculty presentation he highlighted three important areas for students to really develop. These were self belief (also known as self-efficacy), strategies for learning how to learn (learning how to reflect on strengths and chart an individual learning path), and learning how to “fail well” (learning to be resilient and reflective).
How do you develop the self-belief that you are capable of achieving success? For some it’s about seeing role models around them, someone who helps establish aspirations. Supporting the development of self-confidence and self-worth in students is an essential part of the work of a parent and a teacher.
As an individual, how do you respond to learning challenges? How do you learn best? How do you respond to the challenge of learning something new? How do you react to challenges?
- What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
- What is your strategy to do something hard?
- How did you get yourself to do that hard thing?
- Can you analyze your strategy and break it down?
Thinking about how you learn best is part of becoming an independent learner.
How motivated to learn are you? How do you respond when you aren’t successful? Do you want to overcome obstacles? How resilient are you? Do you FAIL WELL when you don’t achieve the goal you set for yourself? In his research, he found students who “fail well”:
- acknowledged they had some failure,
- looked back at their failure,
- analyzed results,
- analyzed strategy,
- put in place a new strategy and had another go.
They did not blame the school, or the system, or others. They moved forward without getting caught up in the drama of failure.
In his upcoming workshop for students, the focus will be upon developing confidence, specific strategies for learning, and resilience in the face of challenges to cope with the academic workload and demands of the IB. Challenging yourself and overcoming obstacles in your learning journey is important. Schools must create safe places in order to allow students to accept challenge, fail with challenge, and recover to learn from setbacks. Very few people find success in life without feeling “knocked back” at some point or other.
The timing of challenges for Grade 12 students is ripe for a focused workshop experience that will give students an opportunity to reflect and consider what lies ahead in the very near future! The first semester of Grade 12 is a notorious time during which layers of challenge are placed upon already weighted shoulders. How you respond and manage provides multiple opportunities for learning.