As children we are all born into particular circumstances. Our family, neighbours, local community and even country will have an impact on how we turn out as adults. In the USA for example there are certain neighbourhoods where your odds of ending up in prison are high. Children who grow up in these areas are introduced to crime from an early age and simply know no better. There are often very few opportunities where they can escape their fate.
Teaching us a lesson
Despite the grim reality there is hope for children in some of these areas. KIPP schools in the USA offer an amazing opportunity to children in these less fortunate areas. KIPP schools are free but the standards are high and they only accept students who accept their terms. In areas where most children will never reach college at KIPP 95% of their students graduate high school and most go on to college. KIPP is turning education on its head and is fast becoming America’s most talked about schools.
So what do they do differently?
KIPP schools understand something very important. They know that all children given the opportunity can excel but the secret is persistence. KIPP schools operate from early in the morning until 5pm in the afternoon. Too much time at school many might say but the kids love it. KIPP knows that their students have more time to problem solve. When a child is taught to persist they solve more problems and as a result their confidence grows. To children success is like sugar. Once they get a taste they want more. I once read that Asian students tend to perform better at maths problems compared to the rest of the populations because they persist longer on the problem. This happens because usually their parents work with them at a young age but that’s for another blog.
Persist and you shall succeed
As a guitar teacher and an entrepreneur I know the importance of persistence. Those students who persist get results and then their confidence grows. When we give up too soon we never realise our potential. Now when I say persist I don’t mean persisting with your weekly guitar lesson or even daily guitar practice. I mean to persist on solving a problem or developing a skill. When a child is learning to play a new song and its difficult they will often want to stop or play something more familiar. By pushing them to go just a little longer they improve their ability to persist. Do this on a daily basis and overtime they will learn to persist much longer and therefore achieve more but a word of caution. Don’t push too hard too quickly. Build them up gradually. Perhaps reward them for persisting.
Check out the KIPP Schools Video online.