Character Chats

How can we be resourceful in school?

Our True Balance Karate social and emotional learning program is called True Character. We do our True Character program at the end of class. There are worksheets that go along with the program and we have Mat Chats that cover different character traits that are important for raising good, strong, confident kids.

Every month we feature a word of the month. This month’s word of the month is resourcefulness. We’re talking about how we can be resourceful in school.

Resourceful people show many different character traits. They’re open-minded, confident, imaginative, creative, adaptable, and positive. They think of ways to solve problems.

First, let’s go over how parents can understand this concept. Then we will go over a little of the Mat Chat like we’re talking directly to the students.

Understanding why and how

One of the things with resourcefulness in school that’s important is for kids to understand why and how to get to answers. It’s not important for them to memorize answers. For example, in math, it’s more important to understand why one plus one is two than it is to memorize one plus one is two.

In our daily lives as adults, for example, we’re out here in the studio and I’m measuring and laying out six-foot squares for COVID. We’ve got to make sure we keep our proper social distance in class. We want to make sure we’ve laid it out and that we’ve measured adequately. And we understand how many people can fit in the room.

When I’m doing that and I’m measuring, I’m using the lessons I learned in school. Actual real world math is something you can generally not do in your head.

It’s not very important for us to memorize math facts. It’s more important for us to understand the how and the why. Understanding how to do the formula — why it works — means I can actually apply it to my real life later on.

When our kids are in school, we’re trying to teach them those lessons. How can you be resourceful? How can you find the answer?

Get them to explain it

So, parents, if you’re helping your kids with schoolwork and they’re working through a math problem — and it’s just a very easy, obvious one — you wouldn’t look at the math problem and say, “Oh, that’s 12.” Because that hasn’t helped our kids at all, right?

It’s not a matter of just finding the right answers but understanding them.  The better way may be to ask them to explain it to you.

We want our kids to be resourceful.  My kids are getting a little older now and my daughter is in high school. I don’t remember the math that she’s working on. So she’ll say, “Oh, I got a problem with this.” Oh, wow. I haven’t done that math in over 20 years. Back it up. Go back to the directions. Go back to the beginning of the chapter. Teach it to me because I don’t remember.

And inevitably, when we do that, she backs up. She starts reteaching me how the math works. And she finds her answer. “Oh, that’s what I was doing wrong.” Good. I really want to teach her how to be resourceful. I don’t want to just teach her that 10 plus 10 is 20. I want to teach her how and why and where she can find the answer.

Mat Chats

Here’s a little bit about how we can be resourceful at school — how we can teach this concept to our kids through our Mat Chats.

So, how can we show resourcefulness in school? Oftentimes we don’t even realize we’re being resourceful in school. Who here uses posters, notes or looks in the textbook for an answer? That’s being resourceful.

A lot of times in school, kids, you’re going to ask the teacher, “Hey, what is this?” They’ll say to you, “What chapter are we working on? What page do you think that might be on? Where do you think you might be able to find that answer?” That’s being resourceful. That’s using your resources and finding the answer for yourself.

When you ask questions and want to learn how to get the answer, you’re being resourceful. You don’t want answers handed to you, you want to learn them to find the answer so you can better understand.

What other tools can you utilize when you are struggling, kids? We can raise our hand. We could look at the notes on the wall, the posters. We have that here in our karate school. We have lots of information up on the wall. You can always turn around and look at that.

You can ask somebody else who maybe knows how to get that answer. Somebody who you know is handling it really well. There’s lots of resources we can use to be resourceful people, to figure out how to do things.

Being organized

Another part of being resourceful at school is being organized. Organization is key to being resourceful. If you can’t find your notes, you can’t help yourself solve the problem. If you forget your lunch, you’re going to be hungry and unable to focus. If everything is a jumbled mess, how will you know what is homework and what isn’t?

Similar to knowing where your favorite toy is at home, schoolwork is the same. It’s easier to use your resources when you know where they are.

What are some ways you can stay organized with your schoolwork? Do you think every day you can go through your bag? You can go through your folder, maybe take out the finished work you don’t need any more so it doesn’t get mixed in with the homework. Has anybody ever had a homework assignment late because it accidentally got to the back of the folder and a bunch of finished work was in front of it? Yeah, that does happen sometimes.

When we use our resourcefulness, we use little things to keep organized. And by the way, here’s a secret, kids. If you use your resourcefulness and you keep organized, it doesn’t take as long to do it. If every day part of your habit is to stay organized, you don’t have to spend a whole lot of time at the end of the week or the end of the month to get organized, because you just spend a minute or two every day.

Then you’re able to actually find and use your resources, which of course, is one of our important black belt attitudes.

Everybody expects a black belt to be able to be strong and confident and do things for themselves. We expect our black belts to be able to be resourceful. Since you’re a future black belt, you can do that too.

So resourcefulness is the word of the month. Make sure you keep looking for ways that you can do things without help.

Thanks and we will see everybody on the mat.
– Master Helsdon