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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #16 
How do educators provide students with the necessary "character" skills to be successful is an age old question. This book provides insight into the problems involved and some possible solutions . How do we as individuals contribute to solving the problem? i believe we encourage the children and young people we encounter on a daily basis to do their very best, to acknowledge life may be hard but the end result of our efforts is worth it, that when we fall (and we will) we simply get up and try again. We need to let them know we care, we need to listen to them and take their problems seriously , but at the same time try to help them understand that each person is responsible for his own life . Finding a way to break the cycle of poverty and to stengthen the family are crucial to the future of our nation.

Posts: 83
Reply with quote  #17 
Although I teach four year olds, I believe that helping them learn self control and independence is a very important first step. We also spend time learning the "language" of school and the manners necessary to get along in school culture. My students come from low income families, and many have parents who were not successful in school and therefore don't instill these behaviors at home. They are small steps, but important ones. "College", and sometimes even "high school", is very abstract to children whose sense of time is still developing. I still introduce my class to the idea that if you go to school for a long time, you can do great things. Our grade level also plans many community visitors to introduce our students to jobs they may not have known anything about. (Bankers, police officers, florists, bakers, factory workers, to name a few.) This opens a window to the world for many, and, hopefully, inspires some of those first steps.

Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #18 
I already talked a little about what I, as a teach, can do. I am going to make an effort to connect with at least a couple of students each year and mentor/follow them through their academic career.
I just found out yesterday that my district offers 45 hours of dual credit courses to high school students. I think this is a great way to prepare students for the rigor and dedication required in college years. Also, they can "try" college courses for free to make sure it's the right track for them. I am one of those who believe not all students are meant for college. Some should follow a different path. However, they all deserve the ability to try it, if that is something that interests them.

Posts: 26
Reply with quote  #19 
I just finished attending my district's convocation.  Our guest speaker was Manny Scott from the Freedom Writers'.  He was a very motivational speaker.  The idea of recommitting to why I became a teacher was a theme.  As a teacher I can recommit to reaching each child and to develop a relationship that goes beyond grades and reading levels.  In Tough's book, there was a lot of academics at work, but there was also a lot of relationships being developed.  That was as important, if not more important, to the success of those students.  It was a teacher who pushed, loved, questioned, and didn't give up.  Days get long and the paperwork is unending, but I can't give up on the students who come into my classroom.  And maybe the best thing that happened to me today when I was calling my students was that I have a sibling of a previous student, and the father was thrilled to find out that I would be his daughter's teacher too.  

Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #20 
As a Pre-K teacher, my job was to prepare my students for "real" school, public school.  Many of the skills I taught didn't fall into an academic category.  They were skills needed to succeed in Kindergarten.  Standing in line, waiting your turn, raising your hand, staying on task and following a daily schedule are all useful skills for Kindergarten.  I prepared them for their future and not just with academics.

This book points out many character skills that educators can teach that aren't academic - grit, perseverance, optimism and self-control.  These skills can prepare them for their future. 

Chellie Nelson

Posts: 89
Reply with quote  #21 

As a junior high teacher, one of the things that could be done for this age is improved career planning, especially in eighth grade. For example, discussing what type of higher education various careers require. Getting people from the community or recent graduates from colleges or trade schools to come speak about their education experiences would be great.  I think this would go a long way in motivating students, giving them something more tangible to think about. I really like the way OneGoal matches colleges and students; that task in itself is daunting for even motivated students.  I think a program similar to OneGoal would be a great asset to our high school.  I think focusing on career planning starting freshman year would be best.  These are all ideas that could be immediately implemented.  However, for the long term (and the best idea in my opinion) would be creating a program similar to Tools of the Mind and continuing to emphasize character traits throughout the different grades. 


Finally, in my science classroom, I can discuss in more detail throughout the school year the different careers available in the sciences and what type of degree each requires.  I have given an independent project assignment in the past to eighth graders where they create a brochure on the science career of their choice and then present it to the class.  I need to tweak it and require a more in-depth look at schooling required for the career chosen.  For example, I could have students research the different schools in Texas that offer a degree for their chosen science career and even have them chose one of these schools and research it.


Posts: 38
Reply with quote  #22 
Yes, support is needed, the objective is set by other than the student.  Students must be guided and supported.  This is done in all aspects of life.  First at home, then onward in the community.

This can be done by identifying and targeting the student's "major" personal challenge(s).

Posts: 37
Reply with quote  #23 
I really believe that just getting to know each student on an individual and personal basis, and having those conversations about their personal goals in life makes a difference.  Sure, talking to the class or school about college can make a difference, too, but it gives some students that opportunity to think the message is for everyone else.  They can exclude themselves.  But these individual conversations, they know that you are speaking to them.  They know that your encouragement is meant for them.  I have had so many students thank me for encouragement and not giving up on them and believing in them even when they didn't believe in themselves.  That makes such a huge difference to them and really helps them push themselves when they otherwise may have just given up.

One possible idea is maybe having college students who have completed the first or second year go visit high schools and talk to small groups or classes about their experience.  Encourage the high school students to apply for financial aid and scholarships.  To encourage them to go to college if that's what they want to do.  Tell them about their own difficulties and how they overcame them. 

I know there are lots of other ways to help students get there.  These are just a couple of ideas that came to me. 
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