“To change Johnny’s behavior, you have to change what he believes.”
This is absolutely true!
Too many times my students have told me that I shouldn’t bother with them because it was a waste of time. Or why bother, because they were going to fail anyway. Sometimes students don’t say that they feel like failures but their actions say it all. They feel defeated before they even can start.
But how do I get my students to believe in themselves? How do I get them to believe that they should keep trying? How do I get them to feel like they can succeed?
Here are things that I do to help my students.
I start off once a week by talking to them and telling them that they were born to win. No one is born to lose. Everyone needs to keep trying and not give up. We talk about ways that we feel like failures when things don’t go right and how can we help each other from giving up.
I have the class motto posted on every wall. It says, “I am a Born Winner!” Students see this every time they walk into the room and whatever wall they face.
On every paper they turn in to be graded, they write the class motto on the top of the paper. No paper is accepted without the motto written on it.
At least once a class period (or maybe more), I will ask someone to state the class motto.
I walk around the room and check their work as they complete assignments. If needed, I might give some prompts to help them be more successful if I see they are trying. Eventually when they start succeeding, they try harder. They may improve on accuracy or they may move on to harder more complicated work.
It has taken many years for them to believe that they are failures (even though it is a wrong belief) so I know it will take a long time for them to learn to believe that they can succeed. I do not let them give up!
Eventually they start believing in themselves and it is a wonderful thing to see. I have had former students come up to me and tell me that she has a small slip of paper in her wallet with the class motto. Whenever she faced troubling times, she would pull it out and remind herself that she could and would succeed.
Do you help students learn to believe in themselves? How do you do it? Please share.