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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

"There Is No Such Thing As Laziness"

Written by Shanda Dupras, Instructional Coach
Reflections from Alberta Assessment Consortium Conference

As teachers, we’ve been guilty of saying it, uttering it, hearing it...or thinking it.  “That kid isn’t motivated, engaged and doesn’t do any work. They are lazy.”

After having the pleasure of listening to Rick Wormeli, an international speaker and veteran educator, speak at the ACC conference in Edmonton, it was his statement, “There is No Such Thing as Laziness,” that resonated deep within my teaching soul.

I’ve always believed that every student can be reached…it was my job to find it. Have I been frustrated with “THAT student” for being disengaged in class, handing in a less than adequate assignments or worse yet, nothing at all? Absolutely. The feeling overwhelms me as I burn the midnight oil marking. Finally, tiredness takes over, and the word, “lazy,’ slips from my lips, as my head falls towards my desk.

Rick Wormeli, teaches that, “There is no such thing as laziness.” As educators, we have ongoing discussions focused on how to engage and motivate students within our classrooms. Rick Wormeli states that there are three premises that educators must understand when “wanting” to motivate students.  In turn, the truth surfaces about what our job as educators must be.

The Three Premises
1)    We can control and coerce someone to do something, but we can’t motivate anyone to do anything they don’t already want to do. (Rick Wormeli)
2)    Motivation is only doing the best of our ability of what we are already capable of doing.
(Rick Lavoie)
3)    Motivation is not something we do to teachers or students, it is something we create with them. (Rick Wormeli) 

The Truth
Our focus is to create an environment that cultivates curiosity and personal investment, making sure students and teachers feel safe to engage in the activity or topic without fear of embarrassment or rejection. (Wormeli)
AND, we accept the fact that ‘there is no such thing as laziness.

To create lessons that awaken the wonder within our students must be always on the table. As teachers, we cannot be the only ones asking, the deeper ‘Why’ questions. (If we could bottle up all the ‘why’ questions that children ask at three years old---we would be golden. What makes them stop asking questions as they grow?) Students want the ability to choose the vehicle of how they are going to complete a task; the ownership.  They want to be challenged at just right the level and know that they can be successful. They want to wonder…

“When teachers create curiosity in their classrooms, kids start to wonder.
  When they wonder, they want to learn.”    (Wormeli)

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