Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Poker Chips of Self-Esteem

Photo used with permission by Z-UO on deviantART

Today I watched a fantastic video featuring Richard Lavoie, an educator, motivational speaker, and author. I have embedded the video for your viewing pleasure. 

In this video, Lavoie uses poker chips to explain children's self-esteem. Self-esteem is measured in poker chips. If you have a lot of self-esteem, you have a lot of poker chips. When good things happen to you, you gain poker chips, and vice versa. (For an online summation of Lavoie's main points, click here.)

Lavoie is an advocate for special needs and learning disabled children, so his message is mostly geared toward parents with learning disabled children and educators that battle with those disabilities in their classrooms. However, I think his main message can be applied to all situations in which adults interact with children: make sure the kid has more poker chips at the end of the day than he did when the day started.

In my classroom, I need to make sure I am not the one taking poker chips away from the children. I will stand up for the students when others bring them down. I will find at least one thing that each of my students is good at doing, and give him or her the opportunities to display this skill. I need to praise my students for their good behavior, and stimulate growth in confidence and self-esteem.

I think that, in my future classroom, technology can play a major role in satisfying these goals. As Wes Rogers wrote in his article, Technology in the Classroom, "As a motivational tool, technology positively impacts student attitudes toward learning, self-confidence, and self-esteem." Technology opens pathways for student learning that we never could have imagined twenty years ago. I hope that the learning environment I establish in my classroom is conducive to the development and showcasing of novel technology skills. I want my curriculum to uphold this ideal, and for students to feel comfortable exploring new technology. Knowledge about technology is something I can praise students for or assist them with if they need help. I want my students to learn how to use technology in the classroom so that they can use it on the job in the future. Developing these skills and praising the students for their hard work is a self-esteem boost (putting poker chips in the basket) and will eventually lead to success down the road.

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