As part of both the home education community and the music education community, I have benefited from a wide variety of teaching philosophies and resources. I love reading and learning from dedicated educators, and considering how I can implement their ideas in my own teaching.
Yesterday, I came across a brief, but insightful, article by J. Michael Smith, president of the homeschool organization, HSLDA. The article is titled, How to Avoid Homeschool Burnout, and particularly encourages parents to use a “delight-directed learning” approach to keep education fun for children and parents alike. I especially appreciated these statements:
“I’m not saying that you should avoid a rigorous academic program with your students. Just don’t pursue it to the point of jeopardizing your ultimate goals.”
“If you’re feeling burned out, change course, relax, and make learning fun for all—including you!”
These are a couple of things that I am striving for as a piano teacher. I haven’t been blogging as much this summer, but I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking about what my goals are, what my students’ goals are, and how we can work together to achieve great success musically. I love the idea of delight-directed piano lessons! I also know, though, that to be successful as a musician, a great deal of discipline is required. It won’t always seem fun, but the end results will be so worth it! In light of that, my biggest challenge to myself in developing a practice incentive theme and lesson approach for next year is this:
To make it more desirable (and delightful!) to practice than to not practice.
How can we achieve this as teachers? That is the question.