Bravely, every day

Geneva College joined a partnership a year ago with an educational program in Shanghai to develop a program where Chinese students would study in Shanghai for a year, and then come to Beaver Falls to complete the rest of their education. The first few students are on campus this summer, and I’m teaching a five-week intensive version of Introduction to Psychology. It’s a challenge to cover the material that goes into a psychology class in such a short time, as well as working with students with different language skills, but it’s a challenge I’m enjoying.

Any time I teach Intro, I like to challenge students to change their behavior based on psychological principles. They learn to track behavior carefully and monitor changes to their behavior once they add in rewards. In the past, students have done things like practice an instrument more, or gone to the gym more frequently, or developed better study habits.

For my students from Shanghai, I’ve seen some of the same goals for behavior change, along with a few students suggesting that they want to be more intentional in practicing their English skills. One of the students specifically said she wanted to “speak bravely,” every day.

Her desire has stayed with me. There are many days where I stifle what I want to say, what I need to say, because I can’t quite figure out how to say it in a way that is both true and kind. There are many people to whom I give a passing, “I’m fine,” when I really need to engage more fully and honestly in conversation. But that engagement, that honesty is necessary. So, I’m adopting my student’s goal for my own this summer.

I want to speak bravely, every day.

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