Dr. Michael Lovett, Superintendent of Schools
Office of the Superintendent
District Center, Room 204
4855 Bloom Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
(651) 407-7563 - office
(651) 407-7566 - fax
Dr. Lovett's Bio
None watching from the sidelines
When watching an athletic contest, spectators are accustomed to focusing attention on the field or court where the drama of competition is played out before their eyes. (Those spectators paying more attention to the sidelines are called parents.)
Normally more athletes are off the field or court watching than are actively engaged in competition. For players on the sidelines, on the bench, or in the dugout, this is a time of waiting and watching.
Practice is a different story. During practice coaches design intense drills and activities to help athletes develop skills and confidence needed to compete. There is little "down time."
Practice first of all to helps athletes progress in essential skills. Second, athletes learn how to work together and understand how individual skills lead to improved performance. Third, normally some portion of practice simulates actual game or individual competition conditions to draw out peak performance. This way skills are tested and athletes gain confidence before they play before spectators.
Likewise, students in classrooms of effective teachers spend little time "watching from the sidelines."
This month I visited classes from preschool through high school and was impressed by the remarkable level of student engagement. At every level, students seemed genuinely excited to be in class, worked together with their classmates, and responded with enthusiasm to their teachers. (Yes, even high school students!)
How does this happen?
First, teachers gain student attention by demonstrating purpose for the day's activities. Students are motivated because they see how today's lessons are connected with a greater purpose.
Secondly, teachers challenge students to think and make learning their own. Student learning shifts from extrinsic (what my teacher and my parents tell me to do) to intrinsic (what I what to do to grow and learn) as they make connections between the skills they are learning and their own dreams and goals.
Third, teachers inspire students to be at their best. Students learn that peak performance comes from a combination of skills, purpose, and confidence.
Because our teachers are successful in motivating, challenging, and inspiring, I saw class after class of engaged and excited students.
None were watching from the sidelines.
Michael J. Lovett, Ph.D
Superintendent, White Bear Lake Area Schools
See the Superintendent's Message Archive here