Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Students: Be Proactive NOT Reactive

Tomorrow, my students will continue through the Believe It and Achieve It Unit of study. This year I am taking the unit further than just learning about famous achievers and dreamers. Students will learn how to be achievers themselves by studying and applying Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. They will read the article, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens @ http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_7_Habits_Successful/
We will also discuss the difference between being a proactive person versus a reactive person.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
                                               Habit 1 : Be Proactive

Your life doesn't just "happen." Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.

 Habit 1: Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. You can't keep blaming everything on your parents or grandparents. Proactive people recognize that they are "response-able." They don't blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn't, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather. All of these external forces act as stimuli that we respond to. Between the stimulus and the response is your greatest power--you have the freedom to choose your response. One of the most important things you choose is what you say. Your language is a good indicator of how you see yourself. A proactive person uses proactive language--I can, I will, I prefer, etc. A reactive person uses reactive language--I can't, I have to, if only. Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say and do--they have no choice.

 Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control. The problems, challenges, and opportunities we face fall into two areas--Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence.

Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about: health, friendships, or problems at school. Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern--things over which they have little or no control: the amount of homework they get, their friends’ choices, the weather. Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies in is a giant step in becoming proactive. 

What About Bob?
We will watch a few clips about how your life looks as a reactive person-- when you live as if you have no control over your own life.
What baby step are you going to take today?
Students will finish the lesson by choosing a variety of options to write about concerning making proactive decisions this school year during class. Students will be required to cite textual evidence from the articles.
Prompts include:
Respond to the following:
If you're planning on dropping out of high school, prepare yourself for the future by repeating aloud each day: "I'm looking forward to low-paying jobs for the rest of my life."
How could you go out of your way to develop a good relationship with one of your teachers this year?
How can you develop your own homework routine and make it a priority? How can you make a schedule and stick with it? How is that being proactive?
How might you avoid blaming others for your faults? How is that reactive? What would the opposite be?

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