Are we helping children exceed their potential?
Best look away now….
If someone says, “You can’t do better than your best,” then they are wrong.
Your best is never your best. We can all get better.
Personal bests are there to be broken and constantly improved.
Professor John Hattie talks about this in relation to school leaders and teachers who never retreat to “doing their best” but enjoying the challenge of doing better. Hattie says the same for children too:
I think the worst thing you can say as a teacher or a parent is, “Do your best.”
He says children thrive on challenge and what we should be saying instead is, “Sometimes your best is not good enough and my job is to help you do better than your best.”
So many schools talk about wanting to help reach and achieve their potential but they are short-changing them. Schools don’t exits to help children reach their potential, they are there to help children go beyond this and exceed their potential.
If children can do something, then help them do it better and then better again.
Parents need to know this too. Imagine a test or some sporting scenario. You will always hear someone say, “Just as long as you try your best, you’ll be fine. That’s all anyone can ask of you.”
No it isn’t. You can ask for more than that and parents should be asking for better than best.
As a mantra, “always do your best” is a bit on the rubbish side and needs ditching.