As people, humans really, we all feel the need to succeed at whatever it is we are doing. As teachers, I think we identify with this trait especially well, because I have never met a teacher that didn’t want to be the best they could be as well as encourage the students around them to do the same. The question is, how can be best go about making our students feel successful?
With the addition of teaching about growth mindset in so many of our classrooms, it is important for us to remember that while our students are working towards big things, it is vital that we celebrate the little accomplishments too. Basically, we all need to experience at least tiny bits of success along the way to keep us going.
In order to make this happen, especially when the going gets tough, here are eleven ways to help students find the success that they crave.
Don’t Put Students on the Spot
This allows the student the time to get their thoughts together, and provides a moment for the student to shine in front of their peers.
Another thing no one likes is to be corrected in front of their peers, especially when they are already feeling down on themselves. By taking the time to provide private feedback the student will really feel that you are on their team, and you can work together to form a plan of action. Of course, a discussion is a great way to provide private feedback, but you might also consider hand signals or notes.
Create an Environment Where Risks are Celebrated
The BEST is when you hear students start to speak to one another this same way!
Compliment Effort, Not Results
I love to share the story of how Post-It Notes were born out of a failed glue experiment. This usually really hits home with my students seeing how we used sticky notes for everything, all the time.
This concept is a win-win for the whole class. Your model gets a confidence boost, and the rest of the class has someone to go to for help that isn’t the teacher.
Nonverbal Signals to Check for Understanding
I usually have the students come up with their own signals. Often we wind up with the same style including a thumbs up, thumbs down, and an open hand for maybe. Every once in a while a student will come up with a really unique one which is always fun.
Start the year by providing clear expectations from the beginning. I also provide encouragement along the way. My students ALWAYS rose to the occasion.
Celebrate Small Victories
There are really no victories too small to celebrate, so take a moment and do just that. You won’t regret it!
Break Up a Task
Sometimes what we have to do can just be overwhelming, so help a student to break it down a bit. This might mean folding the paper so only certain items are showing. Or you might use a highlighter to select particular items, or only give partial directions until each step is complete. For more ideas, check out this post I wrote on 8 Ways to Differentiate a Worksheet over on Classroom Tested Resources.
Teach Positive Self Talk
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