It’s the Job of the Teacher to Motivate the Student
Or is it? The prevailing attitude in culture today is that those around us are responsible for how we feel, act, respond, or behave. Social media tells us if we’re important. Culture is responsible for shaping our character. Teachers are responsible for motivating us. School is responsible for all future opportunities. Parents are responsible for making life comfortable. Employers are responsible for managing work-life balance. God is responsible for making our lives full of joy, and the list goes on. Interestingly enough, I am not responsible for anything, and if these things do not take place, I am a victim of my surroundings.
Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset, talks about our attitude to the emotional, social, physical, and learning environment around us. Dweck believes that we display a fixed or growth mindset to all of these external factors. Our failures or giftedness are not directly a result of where we grow up or of who we are. In her book, Gifted Children: Myths and Realities, Ellen Winner debunks several myths about giftedness. She states that neither biology nor the environment is completely responsible for giftedness. Winner says that “Both play a part in giftedness. People need natural talent, but hard work is necessary in order to develop the talent.”
A recent high school chapel speaker relayed a story from his younger years when he told a respected mentor that “people make me so angry.” His mentor retorted by disagreeing and telling him that he chose to let people make him angry. We hear students and parents talk about how a child’s failure was the result of a bad teacher or learning environment when, in fact, we have more learning resources at our fingertips than any generation in history. Dweck states, “In short, the growth mindset lets people use and develop their mindset fully. Their heads are not filled with limiting thoughts, a fragile sense of belonging, and a belief that other people can define them.” Often, generations, cultures, adults, and students are victims by choice.
Today let’s take a growth mindset approach to whatever is holding you or your student back.
James 1:2-5 (ESV)
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.