Raising a Happy Student To help children reach their amazing potential, it is imperative that the adults in their lives consistently hold high academic expectations and emphasize the importance of producing quality work. The term quality, however, can be ambiguous and mean different things to different people.
To alleviate this confusion, I offer the following definitions of quality work. Discussing these criteria with your child and referring to this list throughout the school year for guidance will promote and reinforce some terrific behaviors. As kids seriously consider these six ideas, they will develop a much deeper understanding of what it takes to be a successful learner.
1. Care Deeply. As Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance writes, "Quality = Caring." This means that in order to accomplish great things in any endeavor, individuals must care a great deal about the work they do. Children need to know that if the goal is quality, the caring has to come first.
2. Very Best Effort. Quality students give their very best effort, day in and day out. While we all have those days when we may not be our sharpest, our effort should never waiver.
3. Take Pride. When children produce quality work, you can see the pride in their faces and in the way they act. Oftentimes, feeling this type of of pride will begin a virtuous cycle, in which children work harder, perform better academically, and become more motivated.
4. Improvement. The idea of continuous improvement means that each piece of work represents, in some way, an improvement over the last one. Encourage your child to find a way to improve as a student at least a little bit every day.
5. Intrinsic Motivation. For work to be considered quality, the effort, the desire, and the focus must come from within. Quality students do not need to be reminded to get started or to stay on task. The most successful individuals are not always the most talented; sometimes they are the most motivated.
6. Purpose. Quality work is important work; it serves a purpose. Children should be able to understand how completing an activity will benefit them, now and in the future.
How do you help your kids succeed?
Steve Reifman is a National Board Certified elementary school teacher, author, and speaker based in Santa Monica, CA.
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