Play to Learn: Failure Doesn’t Exist

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“Think tactically: not emotionally.” – Kobe Bryant

Failure is an emotion that gets in the way of your analysis of a failed attempt. Instead of getting stuck in the emotional distress and disappointment of failing, you need to FOCUS on determining why your attempt failed. What weakness(es) or circumstance(s) contributed to the failed attempt and what steps can you take to correct the problem? So, when an attempt at something doesn’t work, you can tactically analyze the problem, pinpoint the issue and take action to make corrections.

In Brett Ledbetter’s video, he highlights an interview with Kobe Bryant in which he was confronted with the poor performance of his early career and the brutal public criticism that accompanied it. Listen closely to Bryant’s explanation of why he feels failure doesn’t exist.

 

Bryant’s comments about failure are so fascinating! His perceptions of failure are based on the fact that “the story continues.” If you fail on Monday, you have Tuesday to try again. Bryant goes on to explain that the only way to fail is to “stop and to not learn.” So, if you learned from the failure and go on to grow and improve your game, it wasn’t a failure.

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Wow! What an idea… You have the power to flip the script. You can measure your success by how much you grow and learn: not by the outcome. Be the best that YOU can be; don’t measure your success against the success of other people.

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In the game of life, you must discover the “game” worth playing —  the game YOU were meant to play. Next, you have to FOCUS on growing and learning; don’t give into temptation and wallow in the disappointment of a failed attempt. Keep moving forward and don’t play to win or lose; play to LEARN and GROW.

“…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” — Philippians 3:13b

 

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Develop Potential: The Inner Game

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Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” -Tim Gallwey

 

Develop your potential, improve learning and enjoyment with

  • focus
  • relaxed concentration

and by

  • overcoming doubt
  • overcoming fear
  • being conscious.

What is The Inner Game?

In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions.The Inner Game is a proven method to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential. Learn more at theinnergame.com .

As a coach, teacher or leader who is driven by a desire to improve learning and performance, how might you incorporate these principles into your professional practice with your coachees, students or team?

Practice, Practice, Practice

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How to define goals and implement deliberate practice in order to grow professionally – based on the ideas in chapter 7 of Grit by Angela Duckworth.

“Each of the basic requirements of deliberate practice is unremarkable:

• A clearly defined stretch goal

• Full concentration and effort

• Immediate and informative feedback

• Repetition with reflection and refinement”

~ Create a goal for professional growth – identify a weakness ~

“…experts strive to improve specific weaknesses. They intentionally seek out challenges they can’t yet meet.”

“Even the most complex and creative of human abilities can be broken down into its component skills, each of which can be practiced, practiced, practiced.”

~ Target efforts toward growth goal ~

“…with undivided attention and great effort, experts strive to reach their stretch goal.”

“…experts practice differently. Unlike most of us, experts are logging thousands upon thousands of hours of what Ericsson calls deliberate practice.”

~ Seek out and utilize feedback ~

“As soon as possible, experts hungrily seek feedback on how they did. Necessarily, much of that feedback is negative. This means that experts are more interested in what they did wrong—so they can fix it—than what they did right. The active processing of this feedback is as essential as its immediacy.”

~ Repeat, Reflect, Refine ~

“And after feedback, then what? Then experts do it all over again, and again, and again. Until they have finally mastered what they set out to do. Until what was a struggle before is now fluent and flawless. Until conscious incompetence becomes unconscious competence.”

Celebrate!

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learningXhibit-1000VIEWS-1-14-18I promised myself recently that I would celebrate once I surpassed 1,000 views on my professional blog and portfolio. I just checked and today’s the day.

CELEBRATE! 🙂 

Thanks to everyone who has viewed, commented, followed or shared my posts and encouraged me to keep writing. This online professional blog and portfolio has been one of the best professional learning experiences of my career. If you are thinking about building an online portfolio or blog, I suggest you read my post Work | Create | Share.

I’m so HAPPY! Sing along with Pharrell and me. LOL! YAY! HAPPY day! 🙂

Photo Credit: flickr

 

Listen

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Reflections

This week I was fortunate to participate in a professional learning experience in which participants studied and practiced Cognitive Coaching strategies. The foundation of effective coaching is having a trusting relationship with the coachee and relationships are built upon open communication. Therefore, if I want to be an effective coach it’s imperative that I become proficient in the area of listening and fully attending to the person with whom I’m engaged in conversation.

Like many of us, I tend to focus on my own thoughts and ideas and listen with the intent to speak instead of understand the speaker. I’m also very action oriented and impatient so often I want to rush to a solution. (Because, my gosh, there are so many problems to solve! We’ve got to get busy… Hurry up! Solve those problems! There’s no time to waste!)

“You cannot listen when you have an agenda. You cannot listen when you are just waiting for a pause in the conversation so you can insert your opinion. You cannot listen when you presume to know what the problem is before it has even been explored.” – Jesus, Life Coach: Learn from the Best, Laurie Beth Jones p.210

“They [poor listeners] listen only long enough to get the topic of your conversation, and then they proceed to tell you all the thoughts in their mind regarding that topic. Or, if you present them with a personal struggle, they will quickly move to give you an answer by telling you what you ought to do in that situation. They are adept at analyzing problems and creating solutions. But they are not adept at sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person.” The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition, Gary Chapman p.85

Human beings are very social and that entails talking AND listening. Now, we’ve got the talking part down pat. Most of our problems stem from not listening or simply listening reflexively.

Reflective listening takes place when you not only pause and consider what has been said, but are able to repeat it back accurately to the speaker. Reflexive listening is waiting simply for your chance to insert something into the conversation.” – Jesus, Life Coach p.211

Ouch! Many of us in the Cognitive Coaching sessions felt this sting; the sting of awareness that we are not fully attending to the speaker or listening with the intent to understand but only to give our own point of view.

“If there is any one secret to success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.” How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Actions

If I intend to fulfill my professional and personal vision and mission with a servant heart, then I must PRACTICE until I perfect my listening skills. If I want to improve my coaching and “mediate thinking,” then I have to COMMIT to becoming a better listener.

“…whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43-45 (ESV)

“If I can listen to what he tells me, if I can understand how it seems to him, if I can see its personal meaning for him, if I sense the emotional flavour which it has for him, then I will be releasing potent forces of change in him.” Barriers and Gateways to Communication, Carl Rogers and F. J. Roethlisberger

In addition to the Cognitive Coaching strategies, I will practice the following skills.

Sympathetic Listening – The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition

  1. Maintain eye contact when you are listening to someone.
  2. Don’t engage in other activities while you are listening to another individual.
  3. Listen for feelings.
  4. Observe body language.
  5. Refuse to interrupt.
  6. Ask reflective questions.
  7. Express understanding.
  8. Ask if there is anything you might do that would be helpful.

Effective Listening – 10 Steps to Effective Listening  

  1. Face the speaker and maintain eye contact.
  2. Be attentive, but relaxed.
  3. Keep an open mind.
  4. Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying.
  5. Don’t interrupt; don’t impose your “solutions”.
  6. Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions.
  7. Ask questions only to ensure understanding.
  8. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.
  9. Give the speaker regular feedback.
  10. Pay attention to what isn’t said – to nonverbal cues.

As I practice listening, I need to be sure to focus on PAUSING. During some of our Cognitive Coaching practice activities, I was reminded of how much I detest silence in conversations. (Eye contact makes me nervous, too, but for now I’ll focus on pausing. 🙂 ) During our planning-conversation practice, a colleague and I really struggled to keep a straight face as we made eye contact and tried to paraphrase and pause. I felt so exposed as I tried to keep eye contact, juggle all these different thoughts, paraphrase AND listen! (This is going to take a lot of practice:/ )

“From the time Americans are small children, we are taught to dislike silence. The punishment of being sent to one’s bedroom for “quiet time” or “time out” causes children to plead for mercy and promise to be good. And what is the dreaded sentence they wish to avoid? Silence.” – Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time, Susan Scott p.222-223

Conclusions

All things considered, I am excited, hopeful and prepared to continue this journey – the journey of not only becoming a better coach but also becoming a better human being. It’s tough, but we’re all in it together and we need one another and if listening makes the journey better, then just do it!

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” – Proverbs 18:13 (ESV)

“…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak…” – James 1:19 (ESV)

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” – Proverbs 18:2 (ESV)

Photo Credit: flickr

Stop & Reflect

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“The easiest form of reflection, in my opinion, is to keep a journal. Just the act of writing can summon ideas that may not otherwise have surfaced just noodling around in your head. It allows you to dump everything out on paper (or a screen) and then sort it out and make sense of it.

It’s a good idea to do this once a day or once a week for five to ten minutes, or whatever time you have to spare–I’m sure you’ll find the experience beneficial. The idea is to get into a habit so that, for example, every Friday at 2pm you’ll stop and make some notes. The important thing is that you state the situation and what you learned from it. And it’s ‘the what I learned from it’ that’s the important part.” – Take a Look Back at Your 2014 Year With These 5 Questions, Geil Browning

Encourage Reflection & Action

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Reading the Kentucky Model Curriculum Framework this morning got me to thinking (that was the earth tremor you felt earlier)…


My Reflection on Reflection 

“The connection between experience, reflection, making meaning, and learning is clear. Reflection is an essential part of the learning process because it can result in extracting meaning from the experience. Participants who reflect on an experience are better able to extract lessons from the experience, to understand themselves in relation to the experience, and to apply the learning to other areas of their lives” (Reflective Practice Sugarman et al 2000).” KMCF p.39

How can I ensure that my learning designs always promote reflective thinking?

How might I foster reflection in all professional learning?


question-mark-faceAcademic discourse to promote reflective thinking?

“Discourse is inherently dialogic, that is, containing both authoritative and internally persuasive discourses (Bakhtin, 1981). However, in schools, discourse is often designed by the teacher to be more monologic; to support airing of the authoritative perspective alone.” – Video-Based Response & Revision: Dialogic Instruction Using Video and Web 2.0 Technologies

“Teachers who engage in dialogic practices convey to students through a variety of pedagogical choices that they are curious about students’ words and ideas.” – Video-Based Response & Revision: Dialogic Instruction Using Video and Web 2.0 Technologies

question-mark-faceInquiry to promote reflective thinking?

“In an instructional setting, inquiry-based learning can give instructors the opportunity to allow students to fully explore problems and scenarios, so that they can learn from not only the results, but also the process itself. They are encouraged to ask questions, explore their environments, and obtain evidence that support claims and results, and design a convincing argument regarding the way they reached to the end result.” – Instructional Design Models and Theories: Inquiry-based Learning Model

“But open-ended problems result in idiosyncratic solutions, derived from a process of exploration in which students practice evidence-finding, thoughtful exchange, and creative design. During that process, they change and grow as people, not just as test-takers. It will take thoughtful development of new metrics, some strange to education, to develop an assessment system that captures the richness of inquiry-based education.” – The Challenges and Realities of Inquiry-Based Learning, MindShift

The challenge: Effective collaborative inquiry requires that students learn how to perform in a team, not a “group.” New scaffolds include listening, brainstorming, and appropriate body language. But the skills issue is secondary. Teams depend on positive relationships fostered through communication, openness, and shared values. Team building will have to be built into the curriculum.” – The Challenges and Realities of Inquiry-Based Learning, MindShift


My Aha Moment – PBL and PoP!

smiley-got-ideaProject-based learning to promote reflective thinking for students.

Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. ” – Buck Institute for Education

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My investigation into how to best encourage student reflection leads me to conclude that project-based learning provides the framework and design for incorporating all the aspects I had in mind for planning curriculum and instruction for students.

smiley-got-ideaProblems of practice to promote reflective thinking for educators.

Think Critically about Practice – The Teaching Channel

Also, my reflective thinking investigation leads me to the process of using problems of practice as professional learning. The PoP process engages educators in inquiry to identify aspects of instruction in which they want to collect and analyze evidence for the purpose of taking action to improve the problem.

[take deep breath]


My Action

walking-emojiNext steps for improving my instructional coaching practices.

  1. Finish co-planning our high school public speaking course based on the principles of project-based learning.
  2. Continue to engage in the problem of practice work taking place within my district in order to better support our Teacher Leader Cadre.
  3. Use what I’ve learned today to fully engage in our upcoming ELA and Math lesson studies.

If you have ideas or suggestions about PBL and/or PoPs that might be helpful as I move forward, please leave a comment below.