“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also must DREAM; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France
Everything starts with a dream. Think about that statement for a minute. If it’s true, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves how to create dreamers? Our current trend to systematize education leaves little room for dreamers. Students are reduced to scores, in a system driven by test scores and data, but is that what we really want or need?
Do we need students who can regurgitate facts or students who can dream big and make things happen?
After thinking about my own experience of following my dream to start a school with a different approach to learning, I came up with 4 important qualities for encouraging students to dream big: Desire, Motivation, Know How, and Support.
Desire – The desire to make something happen, is the “dream.” How do we encourage students to dream? Giving them Voice and Choice in their education. By allowing students to make decisions in their projects, including how they work and what they create, we help them understand that there is more than one way to obtain a goal they want to achieve. By allowing them to approach tasks and projects from different angles we help them to find their own voice. Soon they will understand that there are many ways to approach life and solve a problem. What works best for one, may not work at all for another, and that it may take a few tries to find their way.
Motivation –Motivation stems from the belief that effort will produce a reward. Rewards may vary, but in the end, our desire as educators is to help students be intrinsically motivated. Our goal is to grow students into people who love to accomplish a task, who love to share what they have learned with others, and who are confident that their voice should be heard. Making your dreams come true isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work and motivation is key.
Know How – By touching, observing, and researching, students learn that knowledge and know how is theirs for the taking. We want students to understand that if they don’t know how to do something yet, they can figure it out. We want to encourage them to pursue knowledge and growth with excitement and fervor. Never before in history has knowledge been so easily accessible. All you need is the desire to learn.
Support – We need to encourage our children to share their dreams with others, so that they can find the support they need to succeed. A good idea can be developed into a great reality with the support and encouragement of those who are willing to dream with them.
Advice for Parents:
My advice to parents, encourage your child to dream. Next time they come to you with an idea, try to think in terms of dreaming together. Can you help the dream along? Can you celebrate their idea? Can you avoid shutting it down with an “it’s impossible” comment? Remember, to accomplish something great, first you have to have dream!