How do we build both academic and real-world skills in our students?
One of the most significant challenges instructors face is balancing the need to promote academic rigor in their classrooms while also helping students build confidence in their academic ability. This seeming dichotomy between helping students progress by instituting hard deadlines and standards and catering to the unique needs of the student can prove problematic; the diverse set of students present in our classrooms can exacerbate this issue. The question becomes: how do we manage student accountability regarding assignments and concurrently help the student develop a holistic set of life skills. The answer might be promoting self-compassion. Neff, Rude, and Kirkpatrick (2007) noted that the genesis of a psychologically satisfied individual lies with the promotion of self-compassion. Self-compassion is the willingness to examine ones shortcomings and failures with kindness and understanding. This is not to say that failure is accepted, rather the self-compassion approach views failure as a learning opportunity. The crucial point being that a student's failure to adhere to our guidelines or the rubric of an assignment is an opportunity for growth through self-reflection and an orientation toward the learning process. By focusing on the learning process, we can help students remove ego from the task, and focus on building their skill sets - both academic and real-world skill sets. Given that many students have the propensity to assume that assignment complete is analogous with receiving a quality grade, the self-compassion approach might help lessen the fear or failure and promote growth in many different areas of the student's life. As Kotter (1996) noted, one of the crucial aspects of growth is allowing room for failure - assuming there is corrective and edifying follow up.
How do we accomplish this:
Do we allow multiple submissions or is it better to take a one-and-done approach?
What type of feedback do we give our students?
How does the desire to actualize self-compassion in our classrooms affect our classroom management approach?
What is your approach?
Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading Change. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press.
Neff, K. D., Rude, S. S., & Kirkpatrick, K. L. (2007). An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits. Journal of Research in Personality, 4, 908-916. doi:10.1016/.jrp.2006.08.002