3 False Paradigms

Over the decades, I have encountered my fair share of Resistance, but I have been able to categorize almost all student resistance into three paradigms. Paradigm is a mindset that overrides all other decision-making. Unfortunately, these paradigms are a pernicious lie. Students can do anything they anything they train their mind on. The instant they decide, change happens. Change is not slow and arduous; it merely requires exercising that decision-making muscle, known as the brain.

1. My teacher isn’t any good.

I’m not sure when the definition of a “good teacher” became one whose students could learn without effort. We get out of life what we put into it. Make no mistake… if a student is suffering academically, it is almost always due to a lack of effort on the student’s part, not a lack of teaching on the instructor’s part.

2. I’m not smart enough.

In my opinion, this excuse (yes, it’s an excuse) is offered up as a justification for getting bad grades. If a students is not capable, she thinks she will evoke sympathy. They’ll feel sorry for me, because I’m just unlucky and was born dumb. However, professional educators see this for what it is — a lazy student setting up plausible deniability for lousy grades. No one will feel sorry for someone who is lazy, because laziness is a choice. By invoking the “dumb card,” a student hopes to avoid accountability for her bad grades.

3. I’m a victim.

This is perhaps the most destructive mindset a student can have. Bad things are going to happen. Pain is inevitable. Misery is not. That means that while a person cannot always control what happens, they do get to choose how to respond. Too many students view failure as the definition of who they are. A failure may have happened to them, but it does not define who they are. Grades are a thermometer, not a thermostat.

The next time, you feel inclined toward one of these paradigms, catch yourself. It requires conscious thought in the beginning, but once you change, your academics will change.