One classroom. One teacher. An average of 30 students per class. Deadlines. Curriculum. Pacing guides. Formal exams. Gaps. Grades and report cards. Add to that, the expectation that students must learn, “How to learn” in contrast to “What to learn” and you will capture the dual thought process existing in many teachers’ minds daily. Most teachers want an environment where their students can explore knowledge of self and the world around them, but struggle with where to start, or what to include as far as character development and life preparedness entails. Perhaps the quote below helps capture the mindset in which a teacher must have to execute that ideal environment.
“Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey
American Philosopher and Educator, John Dewey, eliminates the premise that “educating” is a separate process from “living.” He insists that Education is Life. This singular thought process may be the mindset teachers need in order to create an environment where students are using the Seven Life Ready skills within the classroom on a daily basis. So where should a teacher start? There are several strategies, but the point is to get started! And the best thing is that it’s never too late to begin!
From exposing students to the idea of being Autonomous and exploring ways for students to exercise Professional Ethics and Critical Thinking, there is no order in which students should be working on Life Readiness skills. The power comes in the process, of acquiring these skills. Designing spaces in your classroom for students to Collaborate and openly and honestly Communicate can be an impactful way to induce Creativity. Creation gives students an opportunity to dig into internal attributes and talents and build confidence in abilities. Create opportunities for Critical Thinking for your students by asking questions or do activities that require a more in-depth level reflection about the topic. Use topics about Theories, Hypothesis, and controversial historical events to promote a Growth Mindset within your students.
Making these adjustments in your class, and “letting go” of the mindset that you must “control” your class also provides teachers with an opportunity to fine-tune their own Life Ready Skills and become facilitators of discovery who guide learning. This paradigm shift can create a wave that students can catch and ride into careers, entrepreneurship, and beyond. Building systems where students can use these skills daily changes the way education is viewed and experienced by students. It begins with the teachers. If you create an environment to practice success is inevitable!
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