Saturday, August 31, 2013
Enhanced Child Guidance Skills for Teachers: Teaching Students How to Turn an Unfocused Dream Into a Goal-Oriented Dream
All children have dreams of a better and more optimistic future, including low-achieving students and children with recurrent behavior problems. Dreams connect children with their ideal selves (what they want to be) and with their possible selves (what they can become). Dreams tell children where they want to go, but without telling how to get there. Is up to the dreamer to figure out which path to follow to “get there.” To produce the effect wanted, high-efficacious students already understand that they need to follow a path with a specific course of action or procedure. Low-efficacious students may share similar dreams, but lacking understanding of how to get a positive outcome, the dreamer follows what is perceived to be the easiest route, and he quickly changes path when the road starts feeling bumpy. All children have dreams of a better and more optimistic future; the difference between a high-efficacious student and a low-efficacious student is not in the dream, but in the different path each child chooses to turn dreams into reality.
Teaching Low-Efficacious Students “How to Get There”As teachers, we are in a privileged position to help children achieve their academic and/or personal dreams. To teach “dream self-efficacy,” we need to focus the dreamer in the “how to” or process that brings about results. In other words, we teach children how to turn an aimless dream into a targeted and focused one. Our task will consist mainly of teaching children the characteristics of a targeted and focused dream. Among them:
1. A focused dream has a goal or a specific purpose toward which effort is directed. A goal answers the question “What do I want?”
2. The goal suggests guidelines, indicating a tentative course of action or a tentative procedure.
3. From these guidelines, we can start outlining our plan of action. Our plan of action answers “How do I want it?” which gives us a more specific procedure.
4. The plan has steps (e.g. first, second, and third) with datelines (e.g. “By the end of June…” or “Six weeks from today…”).
5. The plan includes strategies or specific things that we can do to achieve our goal.
6. The plan has checkpoints, so that we stop and reflect about the outcome so far.
7. If we do not like the outcome, that is, if we think that our plan is not working, we can always change parts of the plan; for example, making our plan easier, going slower (e.g. moving our dateline from six weeks to nine weeks), or using a different strategy.
8. If we feel that our plan is still not working, it is okay to change it entirely, so that we can create a new plan.
Concurrently with the steps above, it is important that we communicate to our unfocused dreamers to never stop dreaming about a better and more optimistic future. Adapting a popular motivational quote for use with children, our encouraging message can be, “When you dream, aim for the moon; if you miss, you’ll still be on the stars.”
Of Interest to Teachers...
Watch Your Language! Ways of Talking and Interacting with Students that Crack the Behavior Code
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A Call to All Teachers:
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