Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Teaching is so much more than just following a set of procedures.

In my experience teaching is more than just content knowledge, more than pedagogical knowledge, more than behaviour management. Do we think an effective teacher emerges from following a set of procedures and/or explicit instruction? In addition to implementing the curriculum, as educators, our goal (and some would say passion) is to develop our students' love of learning, empathy, self-efficacy, creativity, passion, critical thinking, social justice and communication skills. Every student comes with his or her own beliefs, abilities and personality. 

Do you have any students who just want your approval? They want to make you happy. Their parents tell you they are ‘people pleasers’. You explain to your students about intrinsic motivation and about how they should be proud of their efforts and doing their personal best. I’ve often wondered about the students who are ‘people pleasers’. Do you they lack confidence? Is it their age? Are they perfectionists? Is self-efficacy the issue? While thinking about this blog, I've discovered, I too seek people’s approval. I’m guilty of wanting those who I respect to acknowledge my efforts. It’s even better when they provide me with feedback, both positive and negative. Does this make me a people pleaser, a perfectionist or a person who lacks confidence or self-efficacy?

David Kelley talks about self-efficacy (Bandura)

Recently I lost someone special who commented that we were very much alike-"We get the job done, we're assertive and we take initiative. And you know what...some people may not appreciate that." I'm not really describing someone who lacks confidence or self-efficacy or who cares only about pleasing people. So I wonder what is this approval some of us seek? Now I think more about it... It’s not really approval but more of a belief. Belief is when you have trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something. Approval is the belief that someone or something is good or acceptable. I view approval as when someone determines your value but belief means that you are already valued. It may not be that students are seeking approval from you but more they want you to believe in them.

Please remember to give your students words of encouragement to show how much you believe in them. Trust me, they will never forget how you made them feel. Considering students' feelings and emotions is vital when teaching. In my opinion, teaching is not about following a set of procedures. It is just too complex to be that simple.



  1. I'm wondering if, rather than seeking "approval" we seek the sense of belonging? To be apart of something bigger than ourselves and families? We are social creatures and relationships are complex. As educators, it is also our role to care, and as you said BELIEVE in others. Often we are valued by others, however we may not perceive this to be so or it has not not been communicated clearly to us or perhaps we want them to value us for another aspect of ourselves/work? It is not to say we are not worthy or progressing down the right path. As educators and colleagues, do we make enough of a conscious effort to celebrate the efforts and achievements of others? (Whether in the school gates or beyond? One student that comes to mind, was a male dancer and loved sharing his dancing journey with me as I was genuinely interested and non judgemental of his talents. As a 12 year old in an all male school, it was something he struggled with sharing and being proud of. We were able to build his passion for dancing and performing into some of his class projects, even though he didn't study dance at school. He wrote a lovely letter to me years later, explaining how much he appreciated me valuing his performance talents as part of who he was becoming). These are the moments I value. When we as students or contributing members of society, feel valued we are then able to thrive.
    Jeannette James
    @0zptchat (Australian Parent and Teacher Chat)

  2. Thank you so much for extending my thinking Jeannette. I loved how you brought in the belonging aspect and how you brought it to the teachers as well as the students. "Make sure others know they are valued, they belong and you believe in them."

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  4. Interesting questions Andrea...I was chatting to partner tonight about the nastiness directed to people in the public eye and contrasting that with why I love Twitter. It's so, so positive there...I'm constantly amazed at how much people will help out each other - do so much for each other.

    I wonder whether my love for Twitter is something about belonging - being acknowledged - recognised as having validity and worth. I certainly feel like I thrive there (as Jeannette speaks of)

    Twitter (alongside the rise of social negativity and nastiness) - has made me more aware - like you of the need to acknowledge the worth of those around us on a regular basis.

  5. Thanks for your comments Greg. Being around supportive, positive people definitely rubs off. I just have to remember, I too need to be that positive, supportive person more often.