Thursday, January 31, 2013

School is like Working out

I had surgery on my shoulder last May.  At the time, I couldn't work out for 4 months afterward.  In an effort to save money, I cancelled my gym membership.  Then, I rode my bike some at the end of the summertime, and did some hiking.  Once it got cold, and school started back up, I did almost no exercise. I know I should, but between being busy, tired, not having the membership....it didn't happen.  I tried a few times, and didn't stick with it, even though it felt good when I was doing it.

Last weekend I bought a new workout video, on a great sale.  Then I got sick.  I first used it today.  Afterwards, I had a thought.  My working out (or lack of), is very similar to my students work habits.  They haven't yet established the habits to be successful in school.  They want to, and are proud of themselves when they turn in homework, or do well on an assignment, but can't sustain it.

So what can we do to help them sustain these behaviors long enough to become habits??

What other things help people develop new habits:

  • We have to motivate them to want that change-- engaging lessons, connections to real life, goals, etc
  • We have to provide lots of positive reinforcement
  • Make it an enjoyable experience
  • Provide support for them to succeed (help with homework, flexibility)
  • Make these efforts sustained - it takes a long time to develop new habits.
  • Keep this analogy in mind. I think its easy for us, as teachers, to think that once we've told kids something, or by the time they are a certain age, they should have school habits well established....maybe not.  Remember how hard it is to learn something new.  
What if they don't?  What if they haven't been successful in learning these habits?  Or what if its not something that is reinforced at home?
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