Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

How to Teach Students to Build Stamina for Success

By Deborah Granger

successBuilding Stamina for Success

 Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do. ~Aristotle

“My students do not focus.  They talk too much in class.  If only they would pay attention, they would learn!”  This is a common cry from teachers in schools today.  Student engagement is one of the most important goals of an effective teacher.  So what to do?  How can a teacher help students to have the stamina to complete assignments, the endurance to keep working when they do not feel like it, and the focus they need for understanding.

 Share Stories

A powerful tool for introducing this concept is the sharing of personal stories by the teacher of his/her own effort and endurance to reach a goal.  The stories can and should range from physical endurance to mental endurance.  The stories can be short but should be true so students can relate and understand that even YOU, their teacher, needed to work hard to attain a goal. They can be about experiences where perseverance paid off and goals were reached or times where lack of stamina produced a negative outcome. One story I tell is when I learned to ski.  I had to ski the same hill over and over and over until I could finally make it to the bottom without falling on my bottom.  My persistence paid off and what was a difficult task became an enjoyable one for me.  Or I like to tell about the time in college where I struggled in my political science class.  The readings were intense and required that I reread and focus but my lack of stamina in reading this difficult text caused me to do poorly in this class.

In addition, there are many wonderful published fiction or nonfiction stories that can be shared about heroes from today or long ago who were able to reach their goals by not giving up.  These are timeless tales that can be read to children of any age.  Who can forget the Little Engine That Could? Also:

A.     Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull.  The story of Wilma Rudolph whose endurance helped her succeed.

B.      The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein.   Philippe Petit, through sheer determination walked a tight rope between the World Trade Center Towers.

C.      Courage by Bernard Waber. A collection of stories about courage and steadfastness.

D.     Sybil Ludington’s Midnight Ride by Marsha Armstel.  16 year old rode like Paul Revere to warn the troops about the British.

E.      Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.  Charlotte never gives up trying to save her friend.

F.      The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke.  Determination makes up for her lack of size as Violetta words to become a knight.

G.     Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.  Sometimes encouragement from others is what we need to never give up.

H.     The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba.  William would never let go of his dream.

Understanding Stamina

Teach the students the word stamina. The dictionary describes it as the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. Brainstorm a list of synonyms for the word and post as [continued on page 2]



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This entry was posted on Friday, November 1st, 2013 and is filed under *ISSUES, Deborah Granger, November 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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