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Pride without Arrogance: How to be Student C

Two weeks ago, we talked about how to be humble, yet proud of the work you’ve done. There is a fine line between pride and arrogance, so this week we’re going to talk about how you can best fit the description of ‘humble’, in the classroom.

As you can see from the first post, the aim is to be ‘Student C’

I know two people like this, and they are two of the most caring people I know. They’re smart, but they also engage with their peers. They know when to accept a compliment, and when to shake it down. If they haven’t really worked for something, they won’t appreciate you telling them it’s great. This is the ideal we’re talking about. For the two that I know, they haven’t worked on this, they were just born to be humble, and brilliant. Fortunately, this is something you can work

  • Be Honest

    The best way to be honest with your peers is to be honest with yourself. Saying your work is terrible, because you’re worried about people’s perception of you will be damaging to your self-esteem. Allowing your perfectionism to get in the way of self-evaluation can also lead to drops in confidence. People respect others who speak what they believe. Your peers will trust you more if you can tell them what you really think about your assignment.

  • Don’t Compare

    Judging your work on others is bound to make someone feel bad, so don’t do it. The best medicine is prevention, so be honest, but don’t focus on the differences. I’m assuming that if you struggle with arrogance, you get pretty good grades.Even if you’re talking to the student with the lowest score in the class, be honest with them. If you feel your work is bad, instead of saying ‘mine’s terrible’, tell them that you think you could have put more effort in.

  • Show Compassion

    Compassion doesn’t just mean consoling others, it also involves telling them the truth gently. One of the worst signs of arrogance is bluntness. If one of your friends is disappointed in their work, don’t tell them to stop complaining, explain to them why their work is so great. If it falls desperately short of their standard, offer ways to improve. The help and support you provide will be much appreciated, and hopefully returned, in the future.

  • Process, not Results

    Be happy with the effort you put in. If you’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to complete an assignment to the best of your ability, you should be proud of it. If you haven’t, resolve to fix this in the next assignment, and tell people such when they ask.

  • Compliments

    Learn to take a compliment. If someone tells you your work is the best in the class, say thanks, congratulate them on their mark, and leave it at that. Don’t go on about all the flaws in your project, leave that for your self-evaluation. Further more, don’t say something arrogant, like ‘Yeah, I know.’ Worst thing you could do. People will think you’re egotistical.

Be Proud

If you are reading this blog, it is pretty safe to assume that you are an above average student. You try hard, listen in class, and your results prove that. Unfortunately, with this kind of success comes a certain amount of alienation from your peers. You may be insulted or bullied about your results, or your classmates may be nicer and tell you how great your work is. Many gifted students are forewarned of the bullying they may experience, but are not taught to deal with compliments.

I’m going to give you three examples, one of which is the best way to approach positive feedback from your classmates.

  • Student A

    I met a student like this when we were about 12, and her personality has stuck with me. Not only was she a great student, she was a wonderful person. Unfortunately, her self-esteem often prevented her from reaching her full potential. If you were to tell her how great her work was, she’d scoff at you, and tell you it was horrible. For someone who thought that she failed so often, she had a bizarre phobia of not succeeding, which stopped her from taking on more advanced work.

  • Student B

    I met Student B last year. She was a hard-working student, always trying to do a harder work. The side-effect was that she thought herself superior to her classmates, regardless of their intelligence. This ego made her unpopular, even with her friends. She could not interact with the people around her, because she didn’t give them a chance. While she could memorize facts and formulas, she could not use these in the real world, or apply them to situations. Schools these days are not just focused or rote memorization, they want to see their students use their knowledge to solve problems.

  • Student C

    I know two people like this, and they are two of the most caring people I know. They’re smart, but they also engage with their peers. They know when to accept a compliment, and when to shake it down. If they haven’t really worked for something, they won’t appreciate you telling them it’s great. This is the ideal we’re talking about. For the two that I know, they haven’t worked on this, they were just born to be humble, and brilliant. Fortunately, this is something you can work on.

Student C sounds like a great person, don’t they? But how can you become more like them? What do you think? How do you deal with compliments, or even criticism? Next week, we’ll talk about how you approach feedback, and some methods that I’ll suggest too. So have your say in the comments.

An Introduction: Habits of Mind

I first came across the Habits of Mind when I began high
school. They are an integral part of our education, and I firmly
believe they help students reach their full potential, whether they
realize it or not. Although the Habits of Mind are mocked by
students, the teachers persist in using them in assignments and
lessons, and they eventually reach students. Habits of Mind are not
a quick-fix solution like dieting pills and any product you may see
on any current affairs program. They are meaningful tools that
require effort to make an impact. Like any worthwhile solution, you
should not approach the Habits of Mind as a simple get-smart-quick
scheme. You need to be prepared to put the effort into learning,
incorporating and noticing the Habits.

Read More…