Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Don’t Be Afraid

In Afraid of afraid from Seth Godin's Blog by Seth Godin shares,

“Fear of being afraid keeps things on our to-do list forever, keeps important conversations from happening and shifts how we see our agency and leverage in the world.”

Everyone is afraid of failure and it doesn’t matter if they are a student or not. This fear is developed as a child when we are learning how to become independent. When we are learning to become independent whether it is feeding ourselves or learning to walk, we don’t have any fear of failure because we don’t know what failure is. As we get a little older, adults keep encouraging us to keep trying and keep learning. It seems like that once we enter the school system that we are measured against others. Suddenly we are evaluated and measured against what others believe are standards. As some fall behind, they can be classified as lacking in development or just plain lazy. The fear creeps in that we aren’t as good as the next person.

This fear can paralyze us from moving forward and developing new skills.

In my classroom, I want to help my students overcome this fear. I want to know that they are not alone and that everyone faces this fear of failure. I want my students to know that I will be there to encourage them and support them so that if they do fail, they will have the courage to try again. I want to teach the students how to be supportive of one another and to find ways to help each other be more successful.

Learning to be supportive and helpful is not something that students automatically know how to do. Once they enter the school system, they learn to be competitive and to try to be at the head of the class. This is when children learn to be cruel to anyone that is different. These are also learned behaviors so why not teach students that while competition is good, compassion is also a good behavior to have?

I begin by testing students to see where they are in their learning. I start with giving them assignments that I know will bring success. When they start feeling more confident, I introduce new things in small doses that I can be their support and help them be successful. The more successful they are will allow me to slowly back off the support. I still support them but also allow them more independence. When they falter, they will know they can come to me for help without worrying about looking weak. Soon they learn to look to their classmates for support and before long, they are willing to take the risk of learning harder skills. They are learning not to be afraid.

How do you teach students not to be afraid? Please share.

Photo by Jaqueline Fritz on Unsplash

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