Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here.
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Benjamin Zander did just this with one of his classes. He gave them all A's from the outset of class but he asked them to write a letter outlining everything they were going to do to earn that A - pretending as if they were writing it already looking back at all that they had accomplished during the class.
He writes, "An A can be given to anyone in any walk of life - to a waitress, to your employer, to your mother-in-law, to the members of the opposite team, and to the other drivers in traffic. When you give an A, you find yourself speaking to people not from a place of measuring how they stack up against your standards, but from a place of respect that gives them room to realize themselves...This A is not an expectation to live up to, but a possibility to live into."
Later in the chapter, he writes, "As soon as you have the grace to give people A's, all sorts of things are revealed that were as though hidden behind a veil."
Have the grace to give people A's.
To me, this is truly living the growth mindset because if you know that you already get an A, that you already win, that there is no such thing as failure, it's much easier to take risks and to accept yourself. I think this would be pretty freeing for a student and that it would be a relief to know that the outcome has already been decided. I can see how it might even empower students to want to live up to that A even more.
What do you think?
How might you give yourself an A?
What opportunities do you have to give others an A?
If you try it, how does it feel?
Thanks for reading!
You get an A!