Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921Image via Wikipedia

In my years as a classroom teacher — busy with planning instruction, creating lessons, addressing a standard — it is only after exploring learning success in a broader sense, that I really understood how to teach students to be successful learners and not just wish it upon them.

By understanding the anatomy of those who have achieved success, it has allowed me to turn encouragement into action and instruction.

For the successful learner, learning is not the end — but the process they use to achieve goals and the feeling of pride and satisfaction in their accomplishments.  Learning literally has a different feel for them. It is not just a matter of going to school, listening to the teacher, and completing assignments on time. Not measured Instead, learning springs from within; is felt in their minds and hearts.

The successful learner is someone who learns how to learn in the fullest sense of the word.  They are heroes because they have taken their given talents and strengths and combined them with hard work, ambition, attitude to get where they are going.

One of the things I do with students is to have them build a dream team of thinkers and doers. Learning Heroes. While none of us can really be "like Mike" – we can find out and emulate

  • work ethic
  • study habits
  • thought process
  • energy focus
  • other behavioral practices 

and whatever else it took that allowed Mr. Jordan to be "like Mike."

An example I give of my own is Albert Einstein. I love his thirst for knowledge, his practice of questioning, his child-like look at life, and his exuberance for discovery (think shoe shopping!)

Try it with your kids. Let them find their hero(s) — their choice, not yours. Take your time with this exercise. Once they pick their hero(s), have them dive into what made them tick – and what made them successful.

I'll never be like Albert in my results – but I can be "like Albert" in my habits of learning — by emulating the habits of his learning.

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