Monday, February 11, 2013

A Teacher's Mindset: Pivotal to Success

Does a Teacher/ Coach's mindset and expectations drive a program? Can it mean the difference between great, lackluster, and a dismal educative outcome?

To say that in any field or industry one's mindset and expectations don't have a direct impact on performance level would probably be very naive. So the time before a coaching session, or the Teacher entering the classroom, is as important as during the actual instruction. Being a routine reader of Sun Tzu's, 'The Art of War,' I find it useful to consider the current chemistry and existant rapport that I as a parent or coach may have with the child. From a diplomatic perspective, and with a focus on keeping the experience positive an able-bodied parent or teacher can be able to begin establishing new, sturdier framework from which to launch varied initiatives inversely focused on toning executive function skills, like mental flexibility. Reading up on Sun Tzu helps push the mind to consider and extrapolate ideas. Remarkably, as a Special Educator and Executive Function Skills Coach I am able to make connections and apply my awareness of the dictums in the 2,500 year old Chinease book, making connections and worthwhile quick decisions that pay off time and time again.

In actual battle, small maneuvers, little strategies, and the ability to shift forces quickly are the factors that decide victory or defeat. Likewise, I do mini-modifications in order to maximize the educative outcome for each session. Some of this instructional 'shifting' is so minute that it may not be picked up by an outside observer while I am ski coaching a child on the spectrum, or having a metacognitive conversation with a child who has a Learning Disability...but the child picks up on it.

Being open to the verbal and non-verbal feedback, and making accommodations to enhance reengagement is a strategy that places the teacher in a receptive mode. Moreover, this  allows me to be guided by the student to consider new activities, send non-verbal messages that ask the him/ her to take the initiative, and tailor my program to lead towards rapid skills acquisition that are fun, engaging, practical, and leading to bonafidel dramatic increases in the child's quality of life.

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