I remind my students before they commence writing, 'Remember, I prefer quality to quantity'. Produce two pages of writing that incorporates many strategies - show don't tell, ellipses, internal thinking, onomatopoeia etc., instead of six pages of waffle. They have come to accept my expectations. Give me quality over quantity every time.
At times, students may compare themselves to each other and it's usually over quantity. Highest marks, grades, more ribbons, chosen as class captain. I encourage students not to compete against each other or even compare themselves to others. Aim for personal best in academics and sport. Where were you and where are you now? Let's embrace and acknowledge growth.
Our grading system does not highlight growth or progress. It shows a static moment in learning and we know learning is not static. A student who begins with large amount of knowledge may demonstrate little effort, resulting in insignificant improvement. Now compare that student to a student who showed limited knowledge but worked extremely hard and exhibited enormous growth. How do they end up with the same grade? Our reports should highlight progress. I find when you get swept up in a competitive situation, it creates some defensiveness and insecurity. Comparing yourself to others can be detrimental to your self-esteem and self-efficacy. While I accept some people require competition to achieve their best performance or results, I believe it is important to always run our own race. Again, let's embrace and acknowledge growth.
If you ask me about friends too, I would say I prefer a handful of friends who know and accept me as I am, than a large number of acquaintances who don't really know me at all. I'd rather people know me, than know about me. Give me quality friendships over numerous acquaintances any day.
On twitter, I am satisfied with a smaller number of followers with whom I connect and respect. Twitter, for me is not about the number of followers you ascertain. In my humble opinion, some may see followers as a badge of honor or an achievement. Personally, I see it as a pat on the back indicating that your efforts are appreciated. Usually, if you follow me, I don't automatically follow back because I want to connect first. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the pat on the back but I won't ask or seek people to follow me.
Our #SatChatOc team aims to connect and welcome all to the chat. We want to keep it personal and not be about the number of tweets per minute or our trending record. As long as educators are connecting, sharing, learning and feel like they belong, then we are happy. We do not seek guests to increase numbers but we kindly ask them to moderate because we believe Twitter enables great professional learning. If we can provide an inspirational educator to share their knowledge or generate a discussion, then we've achieved our goal. Our goal is to facilitate quality conversations. A friend once said that you should be acknowledged for the quality of your tweets, not the quantity of your tweets. This is a something I am working on.
Lately, I have learnt the benefits of really listening to others. By using Voxer, you listen to comments and while you can immediately converse with someone, this does not usually happen. The way Voxer works is you listen to comments or questions and you can respond in your own time. What I've notice is that I listen more attentively as I'm not preoccupied with my response. I give quality time to just listening. I need to develop these skills when having face to face discussions.
Students need to understand that popularity does not equal respect and that true value cannot be measured in a single, fleeting number or grade. I encourage students to be true to themselves, celebrate personal growth and remember that quality trumps quantity every time.
And the learning continues,