Teaching in a Secondary School

By Robert Griffin | Go to book overview

THEY WORK IN SELF-DISCIPLINED WAYS

Good students work hard. They see the link between hard work and producing results. They know the work won't always be fun, but the satisfaction in the end will be worth the effort. They have a commitment not only to work hard but also to work effectively. They employ their ability to analyze and assess, they get advice from others, they read, they learn from what they tried before -- they do whatever it takes so that their hard work is undertaken in the best way possible. Very important, they have self- discipline. When they make a commitment to themselves to do schoolwork, they do it. They don't let just anything keep them from it. So often, students sincerely sit down to study, but then someone invites them to a party -- or a thought pops into their head that tells them "Do it tomorrow" or "It won't make any difference anyway" or "Watch the tube for an hour," or their feelings implore,"You're tired, go to bed"--and they close their book. In contrast, successful students, with all that going on, invoke their ability to stand back and calmly observe what is happening and, referenced in their goals, rationally choose what is best for them to do. This process allows them to realize that while amusement or relief may come from going out or watching TV or catching a nap, whatever it is, nevertheless it is best for them to continue studying, and that overall they will feel better if they do that. Thus, these students use watchfulness and reason to mediate the events in their lives and their immediate responses to them, with the result that they are not just billiard balls being knocked about by whatever happens to come up.

If students don't bring these characteristics to our classses, we should decide whether to teach about hard work and self-discipline. We have several choices: We could simply stay away from it, just not take on the responsibility. We could promote these qualities indirectly, through our manner and the example we provide and the general way we conduct the class. Or we could opt to deal with these matters directly, building the promotion of the values of hard work and self-management into our lesson plans. This is character education I guess, and I know the idea of that doesn't set well with some people. Personally, I prefer attempting to develop character among students to putting together catchy and mech- anistic classroom activities that cover for the students' lack of it.


CONCLUSION

Students don't need to be geniuses to have the qualities I have just described. They don't have to come from two-parent homes in the suburbs to have them either. And even if school is a place where students can come

-48-

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Teaching in a Secondary School
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Teaching as Work 5
  • 2 - The Self-Surpassing Classroom 11
  • Conclusion 19
  • 3 - Our Values Matter 21
  • 4 - A Focus on Studenting 27
  • 5 - Getting Students to Think for Themselves 31
  • SUMMING UP 40
  • 6 - What is a Good Student Like? 41
  • Conclusion 48
  • 7 - The Importance of Language 50
  • 8 - What Can a Good Student Do? 65
  • Conclusion 71
  • 9 - Teaching Values: The Early Years 72
  • Conclusion 78
  • 10 - What Can Get in the Way of Being a Good Student? 80
  • 11 - Curriculum 88
  • 12 - Becoming a Good Student in School 114
  • 13 - Discussions, Lectures, and Textbooks 124
  • 14 - Motivation 138
  • 15 - Style Counts 149
  • 16 - Advice to a Student on Achieving in School 156
  • 17 - Teaching Values: The Later Years 162
  • 18 - Thoughts on Discipline 181
  • 19 - Helping Students Become More Effective in School 191
  • 20 - Evaluation 200
  • 21 - Planning 211
  • 22 - Teaching and You 229
  • Acknowledgments 239
  • Endnotes 240
  • Index 247
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