Thursday, March 29, 2007

Teachers often talk about the importance of setting clear goals for each lesson, but lately I've been thinking also about how crucial it is that I have a clear starting point for each lesson. It's fine to know what qualities I'm trying to develop in my students in a lesson, but it's also necessary to understand what I'm starting with -- i.e, what qualities the students already have. I need to have a clear appreciation for what my students are right now if I hope to turn them into something different by the end of the lesson. This means, most importantly, that before I begin a lesson I need to remind myself that my students already have one unbelievably wonderful quality: they are infinitely powerful. I'm not referring here to physical power, but rather to power that's not easily defined and measured -- mental, emotional, and spiritual power. There are literally no limits to what my students can think and feel. They are travelers in their own unlimited and immeasurable universe of thoughts and emotions, and they have the power to create an endless number of ideas and sensations. This is who my students actually are as they walk into my classroom, and as I begin my lesson. This is my starting point: a group of young people with miraculously infinite powers. If I keep this in mind, I have a good chance of reaching the goals for each lesson. If, at the start of every class, I establish firmly in mind how fantastically gifted all of my students already are, I may be able to provide them with another small gift or two by the end of the lesson.

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