This whole idea of intention has really been resonating with me the past couple of days. Every action we do should be intentional, meaning with a purpose.
I like the idea of acting with intention in all aspects of life: in my classroom, with my friends, as a coach. I try to teach my students about this concept whenever possible. It comes up more often than you might think… but middle-schoolers aren’t just born with the understanding that people can perceive things differently than how we meant for them to. Oh, and vice versa… many times other people did not intend on offending you and making you angry.
A few weeks back one of my colleagues and I lead a debate/discussion about the accusation against the Patriots of cheating by using a deflated game ball. After watching the CNN StudentNews video that introduced the allegations, we explained that the first step is to define the word cheating.
After roughly 8 minutes of allowing the students to work together, our class came up with two definitions.
- Cheating is when a rule or law is broken.
- Cheating is when a person or a group of persons intentionally break a rule or law.
The students were then asked to discuss within their small group and decide which of the two definitions their group agreed with. As we watched our students talk with each other and go back in forth providing reasons why each definition either worked or did not work for them, we stood back as smiles took over our faces. Our students were really working through these tough questions and working together to problem solve.
Another time I’ve taught intentional actions was just this past week when interacting with one of my students. Due to the nature of the community I serve, there are often different social skills that we forget to teach to students who don’t speak English at home. For example, growing up, we learn social cues and understand phrases such as, ‘body language’ and ‘tone’. With some students, you have to break it down and have a discussion or even in some cases, act out scenarios in order for them to understand those concepts and why they matter.
Often times I focus on intentions when debriefing with a student who has received a consequence for an action that they have made. I was surprised at the amount of times students react a certain way after receiving a consequence because they truly haven’t processed through why their action called for a consequence. I often have discussions of perception and intention to try to educate students (this happens with my friends in my personal life sometimes, too… we could all use reminders to keep ourselves in check) on the fact that our actions affect others whether we like it our not.
I am the assistant coach for the 7th and 8th grade basketball team at my school. My head coach and I have talked to the girls so much about what it means to belong to a team; a family. We often have discussions that are supposed to show the girls that especially when you belong to a group of people, you have more responsibilities and commitments regarding your actions. Everything you do or say on and off the court, in and out of the classroom, affect not only just you… but it affects your team, your coaches, and in some cases even your school.
I try to remind myself of intentions when I am processing through something that I have been affected by or when I am self-reflecting on whether or not my actions have affected someone else.
What do you think about intentional actions?