Monday, March 29, 2010
Where I work we are endlessly discussing how we can get the disinterested students to improve in their classes. Inevitably the discussion revolves around what skills or material items they are lacking that would help them be successful. A better computer isn't going to make an unmotivated student be more focused or more responsible about their studies. A unreliable car, work issues, laziness, or life in general - these aren't the reasons why the unmotivated aren't successful. It's because they haven't found what they care about and haven't learned to believe in themselves. Showing them how to use Microsoft Office isn't going to get them to come to school when it isn't convenient. Motivation and focus, these are character traits that arise from discovering what is meaningful to each person. When we know what is meaningful to us we can then orient ourself in that direction. I believe this is how we make our underachieving students do better in class. Belief is a dirty word in most circles because it can't be measured or quantified. It doesn't factor into financial equations. I can't tell you what it is but I know it when I see it. Belief in yourself will get you out of bed when you are tired and it's cold outside, it will get you to harness all of your resources to achieve your dreams, it helps you grow as a person. Belief says to keep trying even though past experience predicts failure. Belief isn't rational that's why it scares people, we all want predictability and control. As much as all of us wish to control the world we live to ensure that everything is going to be alright, we just can't. There isn't any security in the physical world, everything could change tomorrow, so belief is all we have. What do I believe, I believe the world can be a better place to live in tomorrow.