Thursday, May 05, 2016

Teaching Tip #161

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #161
In other words, as the first line of the article states - “Find a bright spot and clone it.”
In education, we often (at least I know that I do) focus on what is wrong rather than what is right.  Worse yet, we don’t take advantage of all the success that is going on just down the hall from us in the rooms of other teachers.
The article linked above is a great case study in how to focus on what is going right rather than trying to simply fix what is wrong.
The article examines the case study of Jerry Sternin, who works for Save the Children.  Sternin was assigned to Vietnam because there were cases of children dying from malnutrition.
Sternin chose not to take the easy way out of the problem, which was to simply offer relief aid.  He knew that was just a temporary fix to a permanent problem.
Instead of focusing on what was wrong and heaping remedies at it, Sternin looked around the afflicted areas and found that in those areas with malnourished kids, there were also families with healthy kids.
Why hadn’t anyone focused on them?
Sternin did just that.  He found that the mothers in those families were mixing in shrimp with the rice they were feeding their kids, thus offering them extra nourishment.  Sternin simply set up education opportunities for these mothers to share what they knew with the other families.
And it was a success.
Now, what does this have to do with education?
Well, first we can be learning from the success of our peers very easily.
Second, and this one comes right from one of my favorite teachers, who sadly passed away last year, Susan Hauser: “If you focus on what they (the students) do right instead of what they do wrong, they will do more of what they do right and less of what they do wrong.”

And she is right.  So right.  This article on Sternin and his approach to copying success is a great example of that.

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