The book Atomic Habits by James Clear gives a clear and concise way to, as he puts it, get remarkable results from tiny changes. One of the key points of this book is just small or atomic improvements can create massive powerful change. “If you can just get 1 percent better each day, you’ll end up with results that are nearly 37 times better after one year.” (Clear, 2018, p. 16). This is illustrated in the graph below from Clear’s book
One thing to remember is that change doesn’t just happen, and it doesn’t come easy, but you can set yourself up for success. As Clear talks about in both his book and in the video below, to form a habit, “the four stages are noticing, wanting, doing, and liking.”
How does this apply to science teaching though?
This applies to everyone in every aspect of life. People always want to improve themselves and it always helps to have encouragement! One important factor to remind students is that progress takes work! Things don’t just change overnight. They may look that way but that happened due to slowly building progress that eventually hit a tipping point. Showing a graph like below may help students understand that it really does take time to make a difference, but once you’re there, results skyrocket.
Another of the many interesting points made in the book is the effect of the environment. People do things because they have the resources to do so. So if you set your students up for success in the classroom, then they are way more likely to succeed. This can include things like making sure resources are visible so students know what they have access to or creating an open environment that encourages questions and curiosity. Also, your identity and your actions coincide. Therefore, if you want to change your actions without changing your identity, it won’t be lasting change. If you want to be better at science, then strive to be a scientist.
Atomic Habits is a great resource for anyone, especially teachers and students, to improve who they are and how they do things.