Treading on Dreams

This is the second TED talk I have seen by Sir Ken Robinson.  I won’t destroy this brilliant speaker by trying to summarise his points, I will let him speak for himself.

Whilst watching Sir Ken I was reminded about one of my early years in the classroom.  I was teaching the 5th Grade at the time.  During that year I decided that the class would start a program focused on the students developing their own goals.  Being a young and somewhat naive new teacher I thought I had discovered a method of each student engaging in the academic process and personally setting their own academic goals.

So I allocated some time each week for the students to write their personal goals. After the first session, I asked the students if they would mind if I read their goals.  In my mind my students would be setting goals for academic improvement and I would help them by coaching them for academic improvement.

So that night with my students’ permission I took their files home and read their entries. I already had the lessons planned in my mind on how to deal with some of the academic problems my students were facing.

To my shock the students had written approximately 4 or 5 goals each, yet there was only one academic goal in all of the entries.

Most of the goals were emotional and social self-management goals.  One student wanted to get along better with his younger brother. He wanted to know how to not get frustrated at his baby brother when the younger sibling took his stuff.  My student had realised that when he gets frustrated with his younger brother his natural reaction was to snatch his own stuff back.  The younger boy would then cry, Mom would then get angry with him and impose a punishment.

I had not prepared a set of lessons on how to deal with younger brothers taking stuff!

My planned academic excellence program had just morphed at light speed into a Mentoring and Coaching program.

I developed new lesson plans over the next few months working on patience, respect and communication in short 10 minutes sessions.  Basically we worked on things from the EQ and SQ domains and nothing from the IQ realm.

As the sessions continued more and more students asked for help with their specific challenges.  Without exception my students had laid down their dreams before me. I had the choice to focus on the academic or to tread softly amongst their dreams and see where I could add value.

Thank you Sir Ken Robinson, I too believe that our Education System is broken and in need of a revolution!  I hope that I bring a small revolution to the teachers, principals and classrooms that I personally touch.

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