The Success Cycle is a core teaching strategy at Birchwood. It was designed to mirror a child’s natural aspirations and drive to grow and become a competent young person. As such, the Success Cycle nurtures self-confidence and self-worth. The Success Cycle focuses on three objectives.
First, its practice develops a child’s competency in specific subjects. To develop competency is simply to “get good” at things, like math or reading or writing. But just as importantly, through the success cycle, children recognize and acknowledge their continual improvement. Through measurable achievement, students prove to themselves, to their teachers, and to their parents that they are capable. Because their competency is growing in these subjects, they spontaneously enjoy them and develop an affinity for learning. It is no surprise that everyone likes what they are good at, and children’s measurable success in academic subjects creates an interest in further learning.
Second, the success cycle builds confidence, and confidence nurtures self-worth and self-efficacy. Self-worth is a product of real, quantifiable success. When children, through their visible achievements, prove to themselves that they can do things, that they are good at “stuff,” self-worth follows. Children, like any human being, derive self-worth from their real-world, measurable achievements. They can point to their accomplishment with pride and say, “I did it.” As a companion to self-worth, self-efficacy describes children’s perception of themselves in relation to opportunities for new learning experiences. Self-efficacy is a product of a child’s learning history. For example, if a young girl has had success in mathematics, then she believes she is good at math. When the next opportunity to learn math arises, she is eager to engage and learn. Her sense of self-efficacy says, “I can do this.” Such an attitude is essential for all forms of advanced learning.
Of course, the opposite is also true. If she has not had previous successes in mathematics, she will doubt herself and her abilities when faced with new opportunities to learn math. She will withdraw and claim “I can’t do that,” even without trying.
The third objective of the success cycle is to create internal motivation for life-long learning. When children experience growth - in reading, mathematics, writing, or in any academic subject - an internal, motivational light goes on. Growth feels good. Competency feels good. Spontaneously, a positive attitude blossoms, not only about academics, but also about life itself. The successful young boy or girl desires more success and achievement. Every individual experience of success corresponds to a child’s human nature that seeks to become the best person he or she can be.
When the success cycle is repeated throughout primary, elementary and middle school, children possess a positive and productive attitude toward growth opportunities in their teen years. They like growing. They are proud of themselves. They are intrinsically motivated to grow and become.