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The word attitude gets thrown around a lot. Parents and teachers alike use this word on kids all the time. A teacher might include attitude as a component for their report card or a parent might inform their son or daughter to lose the attitude.

But if we were to ask each other to define attitude, we would be hard pressed to find a consensus.

I’ve heard some define attitude as a kind of pseudo respect that really equates to a kind of ‘do-as-your-told compliance’. Or some may define it as a kind of work ethic.

This is scary – seeing as we tend to place so much importance on attitude and yet the adults can’t even figure out what it means. How the heck are the kids suppose to get it if we don’t?

I can’t remember where I read this but here is my favorite definition of attitude:

The most important attitude that can be formed is that of a desire to go on learning.

It’s amazing how distracted we can become. We forget the whole reason for sending our kids to school.

No matter what we do as parents and teachers, we must never sabotage our efforts to teach children to learn for the love of learning.


About joebower

I believe students should experience success and failure not as reward and punishment but as information.


6 thoughts on “Attitude

  1. Joe,

    This is an excellent concept to bring up.

    The definition of attitude to me is similar to the quote you offer. It’s an orientation towards learning, a seeking for knowledge in any given situation, i.e., “how do I make the best of this given situation?” or “how do I align myself with wisdom’s way in the current time?”

    Thanks for the provocation.


    Posted by Adam Burk | June 10, 2010, 8:02 pm
  2. I think attitude is a catch-all expression used in a multitude of contexts. Joe suggests that above. Generally we speak not of a single attitude, but of attitudes toward particular content skills and values associated with learning. Adam orients attitude toward learning, but I imagine he agrees that attitude encompasses a person’s response to the way learning is structured and a diversity of other orientations.

    Like saying, “You did a great job!” Saying, “You have a good/bad attitude!” is a marginally useful statement. I acknowledge the need for specific feedback about how learners respond to schooling.

    Posted by Alan Stange | June 10, 2010, 10:32 pm
  3. it is amazing.. how distracted we can become…

    Posted by monika hardy | June 11, 2010, 12:55 am
  4. I struggle to escape a binary view of attitude. Here’s what I think:

    The teacher’s attitude determines classroom culture.

    Teachers tend to have the attitude that their work is about changing students’ attitudes towards learning.

    Teachers should have the attitude that their work is about changing their own attitudes towards students.


    Posted by Chad Sansing | June 11, 2010, 6:58 pm
  5. good point Chad… what would that one little mind shift do?

    Posted by monika hardy | June 12, 2010, 5:00 pm

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