What does it mean to be a winner in the classroom? Is it being ‘top of the class’ or is there more to it than that?
As a classroom teacher in the past and now working in private tutoring, I have always aspired to help my students reach their full potential. Those individuals who apply themselves whole-heartedly to improve their skills and understanding, who co-operate with others, stretch themselves, set their own goals and achieve them are the real ‘winners’ at school and in life. Those who have the ‘winner’s edge’ experience success in their own lives but also enrich the lives of others enabling them to succeed also.
This is a different way of thinking to that of aiming to compete with others to be ‘top of the class’. It is very different to winning a tennis match or other competitive sport where there can be only one winner. It is even different to the practice of ‘cramming’ and ‘hothousing’ students learning so that they gain prestigious places in university courses only to fail first semester exams due to lack of solid foundations.
As parents of three children who are now adults making their own way in the world, my husband and I did our best to provide opportunities for each of them to discover and develop their own special talents and abilities. Although there are generally similarities among siblings (brothers and sisters of the same family), every child is unique in temperament, motivation and general abilities which means that all children cannot be treated the same and their achievements will be different.
The important thing is that each child experiences success and develops an image of himself or herself as a person who sets worthwhile goals and achieves them. So how can we as teachers or parents help our children of any age become successful or ‘winners’ in the classroom at school and beyond?
Here are some ideas:
- Teach your children how to set realistic, achievable goals.
- Reward your children each time a goal is reached. A word of praise or an activity done together is often enough.
- Give them chores (household tasks) to do at home to help them learn lessons of perseverance and responsibility.
- Show them how to perform tasks and accept their performance when it is their best effort.
- Encourage your children to ask questions and to ask for help when needed.
- Spend time talking with and listening to each child individually – daily if you can.
- Teach your children good manners and respect for others.
- Teach your children to share with others and work as part of a team.
- Make sure your children know you love them just as they are.
- Encourage them to learn from their mistakes and to turn failures into opportunities. I frequently come across references in my reading to Thomas Edison, the man who invented the electric light bulb, who had 10,000 failures before his invention worked! He is reputed to have said, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’
- Teach your children to look for positives in every situation.
- Maintain a positive attitude yourself.
Children who are ‘winners’ at home generally become ‘winners’ at school also. If your child is having any difficulty at school, make an appointment to see the classroom teacher and discuss your concerns. Private tutoring is a great way to ensure that your child is given targeted help in troublesome areas of English and Maths. See the Contact Us page if you’d like to find out more about our primary school or high school private tutoring.