Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What Makes a Great Student?!?

What makes a great student?  Would we know one when we saw one?  I think back through my years of teaching and I can see in my mind's eye a bunch of great students.  I loved working with most of those kids, but some I didn't like at all.
What connects them?  Is there anything?
Motivation?  Motivation certainly helps, but some weren't motivated when I first met them and they caught the fire eventually.
As I start to try to gather commonalities I find more dissimilarities.  Hmmm!  What makes a great student?
Once again, I think back to my former students and I think of my very best and as soon as I do, I can think of another great student I've worked with who doesn't fit that mold at all.
Maybe I'm coming at it from the wrong angle.  Maybe it's a matter of how a student becomes great.  How does a student become great?
Now I'm starting to realize that I'm chasing my tail.  I'm not going to catch this one.  Why not?
It doesn't take long to realize that in some ways the original question is absurd.
Is there a single GREAT student?  How do we know?
Do we need to know?
How about if we teach the students working with us, great or not?  What if we develop relationships with all of them in a way that we get the most out of whoever is in the room with us?
Does that mean that all students are great?  Wait!  Am I back chasing my tail?  Here we go again?
No, let's go back to the students who are in the room with us.  These kids are our task.  Great or not great, they are our task.  We need to help them learn.  What does it take?  That's the question.
How can we teach the students in the room with us?  It's not who is great or not, it's how do we learn who these people are?  It's how do we learn how they learn?
We've got to do this quickly, because we need to learn how to help them learn.  How do we do this?  What do you think?  I'd like to hear them.  I have some ideas, which I'll get into tomorrow...

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