Teaching in a Secondary School

By Robert Griffin | Go to book overview

12
Becoming a Good Student in School

Unless there is a body of research I don't know about, we need to do more study of teenagers who are successful in school. Understandably, we spend a great deal of our time probing the circumstance of adolescents who are having difficulty in their classes. But it is just as important to learn more about those who make it good for themselves in school. 1 If we do that, we may be able to apply those insights to helping other students improve their academic performance. Especially, we need to investigate students I call "success cases" and "transition cases." Success cases are students who achieve academically in spite of serious obstacles in their lives. They beat the odds. They rise above difficult social and personal situations and succeed in school anyway. Transition cases (who could also be success cases) are those who have turned things around in school; they have gone from being a bad student to a good one. Now the school is working with a far more committed and capable student than before. What brought that shift about?

Despite the absence of these data, however, perhaps I can still say something useful about how a student does/could/should -- I am not sure exactly what the mix of that is here, this is a highly speculative essay -- transform herself into a self-reliant and motivated and skillful student, one not so dependent on the school context to carry her along to success. This is a particularly important area to explore because no matter how hard we try to engineer a better world for students to live in -- better schools, enhanced social conditions, greater parental support, and the rest -- barriers and discouragement are still going to be there for a good number of them. History tells me that there will still be enough negativity in the lives of many

-114-

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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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