You are a serious adult-ed teacher. You care for your students and want them to do well in class and in life. But there’s a big problem. Really? Yes. Unless you address and debunk the lies students wrestle with, you might not see the best they can do.
Therefore, adult-ed professionals have a responsibility to tell their students the truth. What truth am I talking about? Let me explain.
Most adult-ed students have been exposed to a lot of lies about learning, such as how people learn, what makes people smart, and what they, the students, can or cannot learn.
So, your best teaching move might be to help students adopt a growth mindset. How? By addressing the lies! I’m sure you are wondering: What EXACTLY are these lies?
Well, here they are.
Think about how you can address them in your classroom:
Lie #1 - You can raise your hand only if you have the correct answer or something smart to say.
Reaction: As technology guru Seth Godin puts it, “It’s OK to be wrong on the way to being right.”
Lie #2 - Don’t ask dumb questions.
Reaction: See Lie #1!
Lie #3 - Students who complete their work quickly are smart.
Reaction: When it comes to learning, the process is as important as the product. Thus, students should take the time to think deeply about content. Remember that the classroom is not the Olympic Games!
Lie #4 - Don’t speak if you don't know what you’re talking about.
Reaction: This is misleading because students won’t know if they are wrong unless they share their ideas.
Lie #5 - You should get everything right the first time (if you’re smart).
Reaction: Learning takes time. People who say they got it the first time might be pretending or faking it. Time will tell!
Lie #6 - STEM is not for everyone.
Reaction: Really, who has the right to say that? Students just need a teacher who can open their eyes and mind to the STEM world. The truth is, students can learn whatever they want as long as they are willing to put in the work and the effort.
Lie #7 - Having good grades means you are smart.
Reaction: In the marketplace, everything comes down to skills and competencies. No employer asks about grades during an interview (unless the employer is a nut!).
Lie #8 - Students with high test scores are smart.
Reaction: See point # 7. As noted educator Dr. Carol Dweck puts it, “Test scores and measures of achievement tell you where a student is, but they don’t tell you where a student could end up.”
Lie #9 - If you don’t have a high IQ, you are not smart.
Reaction: In my opinion, the IQ test is a joke. For example, most people would agree Albert Einstein had a very high IQ; he was a genius. But most people fail to recognize that Einstein studied a lot and worked hard to accomplish what he did. He published 450 papers, but he did not magically snap his fingers and write the papers. He had to work at it.
Lie #10 - You need to go with the flow. Do your best to fit in. Be like the other students.
Reaction: Fitting in is a sure way to be invisible and fail in the marketplace.
Lie #11 - Whatever is not on the test is not important, so don’t worry about it.
Reaction: Students SHOULD worry about it. Students should learn for the real world, not just for a test. Learning is an infinite game. It does not end with the standardized test.
Now, go tell your learners the truth!
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