What Messages Are in Your Students’ Heads? – Teacher’s Corner


Teacher’s Corner
Messages we hear when we are young stick with us in many unexpected ways and are remembered when we least expect it.
Kids who have trouble in school are sometimes reacting to old messages from a parent, neighbor, or other important adults.
Imagine how the messages below could keep your students from becoming good students.
  • “You’re just like your mother – a real goof-off in school.
  • “Why are you being so dumb?”
  • “I hated school, when I was young.”
  • “Math is just not you’re thing.”
  • “You can’t concentrate for more than three minutes; you’re such a daydreamer.”
Writing Prompts and Discussion Topics 
The following are based on the blog, “Decisions Babies Make
  1. Do you agree that kids who have trouble in school are sometimes reacting to old messages from important adults? Why or why not?
  2. What types of messages do you think will make it hard for students to do well in school?
  3. Pick three messages that might get in the way of a student’s success in school. Write a better message that would be more helpful to a student. See an example below.
    Unhelpful message: “Math is just not your thing.”
    Helpful message: “Math has been hard for you. Let’s try a new way of learning Math that will let you use it with the video game you like.”
Teachers, you can use this blog in classrooms. Here are two ideas about how.
  1. For middle or high school parenting or child development courses:
  • Use the blog for discussion topics
  • Require students to research the topics and agree or disagree with what the blog is suggesting.
2.  For all courses, especially English Language Arts:
  • Use the blog for writing prompts for paragraphs, theme papers, journal entries, class starters, etc. Have students read the blog and respond to:
    • Do you agree with what is being said about kids? Do kids really act, think or feel that way?
    • Do you agree with what is being said about parents, grandparents, teachers and child caregivers? Do or should they act, think or feel that way?
    • What would be your advice on this topic?
    • What was left out of this article?
    • If you were a parent, would you use any of this information? How?
Why can this blog be a useful teaching tool?
  • Students that see connections between their coursework and their lives do better in school.
  • Most students will either be parents one day or have children in their lives that they care about, so the topical information can help them build their knowledge about children and parenting and develop a positive image of the type of parenting they want to do.
  • The new core literacy standards adopted by most states call for frequent writing in all courses.
  • Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can think critically. These prompts help students practice critical thinking.
  • Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can analyze what they read. These prompts help students practice analysis.

What do you think?

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