Skills We Value

May 19, 2013

Evelyn Evans was a National Endowment of Humanities participant at The Henry Ford in 2009 and an early adopter of The Henry Ford Innovation Education Incubator pilot project in 2012 (click here). 

Here’s some of what she has to say in that organization’s very fine January-May 2013 publication:

“As educators, we face decisions daily.  Our job is a simple one:  teach our students the content curriculum, 21st-century skills, social skills, critical thinking, research skills, test-taking skills, responsible citizenship, stewardship, morals, ethics and everything else . . .

“What skills do I value?  Risk-taking, problem-solving, critical thinking and perseverance.  What do I want my curriculum to do for students?  Motivate.  Excite.  Stretch.  Encourage.  To let them know that it’s OK to take a risk.  It’ is also OK to fail, because failure is a learning experience and can be a stepping-stone to a greater idea.”

It is difficult for me to think of any part of our schools that provide these lessons and nurture these skills any more efficiently than extracurricular sports and activities.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.