How To Encourage A Positive Attitude About School
Negative thinking is like a great big wall that shuts you down from moving forward in life. This concept holds true for adults and kids alike, but is also extremely relevant for students.
No matter how old you are, having a positive attitude can be a significant difference between success and failure. Even though a positive attitude helps students be successful, they don’t quite have the experience to understand this concept and run with it yet. It is up to the adults in a student’s life to encourage a positive attitude. Here are a few ways to encourage a positive attitude in students so that you can watch them rise up in success – with schoolwork and life.
Create a Positive Learning Space
You won’t receive a positive attitude from your child if the learning space in your home is cluttered and unorganized. It is important to maintain an effective learning space for students in order to encourage the most positive attitude from them.
Keep things organized in appropriate locations throughout the student’s learning space. Giving your student a desk organizer in which to keep papers, paper clips, Post-Its and other supplies helps to calm a learning situation from the beginning. If the student doesn’t have a desk in their room, placing the organizer on a shelf or table still gives the student an organized area that they can consider their own.
Another great option is to put up inspirational wall art in the learning space or around the home. These will inspire your students to think more positively, and even if their first response is that it’s a dorky idea, they will secretly appreciate the positive messages.
Be the Example
It is extremely important to the best example that you can be for your students. Try to speak only uplifting, positive words or praise and encouragement throughout the learning process. If you see the good effort that your students are putting forth, let them hear that information. Sometimes all a student needs in order to have a positive attitude is to feel confident that someone believes in them.
In addition, try to remind yourself that perfection is impossible. It is important to communicate to your student that it is the genuine effort that is what counts rather than an “A” on every test and assignment. Sometimes an “A” is attainable when we try our best, but not everyone is as strong in every subject.
If you have examples of when you may have struggled in school, be sure to tell them. If you can be an example of trying your best, getting through the subjects that were difficult, and still succeeding, they will hopefully be able to temper their expectations of themselves.
Visualize Positive Outcomes
One of the most important steps towards having a positive attitude is to envision a positive outcome. That said, it is not always easy or obvious to students what a positive outcome looks like or will be.
Take a moment to set the tone for each school project. Inform your students of the end goal and what results they should work towards when completing each task. No one is looking for perfection, just hard work and the best effort that can be given.
If your student tends to be a pessimist about what may happen or have anxiety about the unknown, try to talk through the situation and review possible outcomes. What does happen if they work hard on studying for this test, but only get a “C?” Will the world come to an end? One “C” on an assignment doesn’t mean that the future has been ruined. Help them to have realistic expectations of the consequences as opposed to the monumental meaning that each and every step might appear to have. This will encourage them to have a consistent, positive attitude.
Ask Thoughtful Questions
When you catch a student uttering the famous, “I can’t do this” phrase, stop them in their tracks. Get your student to focus on something beyond their immediate negative thought process. Discuss why they feel they aren’t able to do this task, and show them how they might move through it. If they begin to dig in their heels, pull out some examples of previous steps that they have learned (in other grades or earlier in the year) that they were able to get through. Help turn their confidence back in the right direction.
Asking questions is your key to drawing out the student. the more you talk at them, the less they will listen, so encourage them to speak up in the most gentle and understanding way that you can. Ask exactly what it is they are struggling with. Ask how you can help – or if they just want to complain for a minute to get the worries out of their body and then keep going. Keep the student’s mind focused on one step at a time and celebrating their goals one baby step at a time.
Create a Reward System
Particularly for younger children, a reward system can really encourage a positive attitude. Because they’ll be working towards a specific goal with the end in mind, a reward system can both encourage and entice. A reward system doesn’t have to be gifts or snacks but rather prizes or loving notes from you that make them feel proud for accomplishing a task.
Think about giving out certificates that say funny encouraging phrases when your students accomplish a difficult task. If you see that they have worked their absolute hardest, regardless of the grade, go out for ice cream and spend a few minutes together. Did they finish a huge project that they’ve been working on all quarter? Let them have a friend sleep over during the weekend as a positive reward. These little moments will encourage a positive attitude, but not set them up for expecting a monetary award.
The older a student gets, the more difficult it may be to encourage a more positive outlook on education. Try to start these processes as early in your student’s school career as possible so that you can help them to begin doing these things on their own.
Our children need to know that we are there for them and that we expect what is attainable. Try to remember that you have not led a perfect life and you can’t expect that from them either. They will stumble and have a harder time in some subjects than others. What we can do is try to build their confidence and keep them moving towards the path of keeping a good attitude about school. In the end, that attitude will feed into many areas of their life, which will ultimately be a gift to both of you.