There are times that shortcuts seem a really good idea to adults. Therefore, it’s not surprising that students may look for shortcuts as well. However, when students take shortcuts they skip, they miss important steps that help them build their confidence and capacity. When students take shortcuts they pay a huge price because ultimately they will be held accountable for the information that they did not master. When students have to catch up on things they should’ve learned previously, it harms their confidence. They understand that they are in a remedial holding pattern. They also realize that for them, mastery is going to take more time and for many students, this is highly undesirable. In many instances their ego kicks in to protect them and as a result, students engage in other behaviors to avoid having to do the work. As the cycle continues their capacity remain stagnant. As a leader, your challenge is to find ways to convince them to resist the seduction of the shortcut. Here are some things you can do to help students avoid taking the shortcut:
- Emphasize mastery of daily learning targets and celebrate it once students get there. They will want to experience the feeling of this accomplishment again.
- Enforce your standard of excellence by making it a habit to ask students, “Is this your best?” when they turn in an assignment.
- Check in with your students in one-on-one conferences. Check their confidence level and celebrate their progress.
Drive by Daniel Pink is a great resource on motivating people. The book gives examples of things you can do as a leader to inspire people to reach for success.