One year ago few people thought Leicester City Football Club would become Premier League Champions.
This time last year who thought that Donald Trump would become the Republican Candidate for this year’s U.S. Presidential election?
But someone believed they could do what seemed impossible and both Leicester and Trump defied most people’s expectations.
How we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others influence what we believe we can do.
As the new school year begins, children enter classrooms with perceptions of themselves and perceptions of their classmates. They may perceive themselves and their classmates to be serious or mischievous, friendly or cheeky, helpful or shy in school.
They may perceive themselves and others to be clever or average, weak or stupid, capable or smart in some or all school subjects.
Such perceptions of themselves and others are limited and cannot capture the strengths and weaknesses that every child brings to the range of learning that is expected of them this year.
Every child needs to know they have lots to learn in this class. They need to believe they are capable of learning. At this time of year they can make a fresh start.
In addition to what they learn themselves, each of them can contribute to their classmates’ learning, by presenting ideas, questioning claims, and even making mistakes from which everyone can learn.
As the new school year begins, let’s convey to all children that they know a lot and that there’s a lot more to know. Every child in the classroom has something important to learn and something important to contribute.
Teaching is about helping all children surpass what they or their classmates now believe is possible for them to learn, create, achieve.