How To Encourage A Positive Attitude About School

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School day stress is a very real thing and it can lead to a negative attitude in students. Here is the best way to help encourage a positive mindset!

One picture of a boy sitting at a desk with his hand on his cheek and frustrated with the homework he has to do and another of a mother helping her daughter with homeworkHelp Your Students Have A Positive Attitude

A negative attitude in anyone 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 mindset can make a significant difference between success and failure with learning tasks and schoolwork. Even though a positive attitude helps students of any age be successful, the younger ones 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 positive energy and a love of learning. That said, even kids in high school and going through secondary education will benefit from some positive thoughts from you!

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 they don’t have a positive environment in which to learn. If the room where they study is cluttered and unorganized, it will make it difficult for them to learn there on a daily basis. Try to maintain an effective learning space for students so that even on a bad day they can lean on both their comfort zone and their study skills. 

Start by keeping things organized in appropriate locations throughout the student’s learning space. Giving your child a desk organizer in which to keep papers, paper clips, Post-Its and other supplies will likely help to calm a learning situation from the beginning.

Research shows that allowing a child to have their own space encourages independence and better results, so make sure that this is something you can provide for them. If the student doesn’t have a desk in their room, placing the organizer on a shelf or table still gives them 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 a practical optimism, and even if their first response is that it’s a dorky idea, they will secretly appreciate each positive message.

Be the Example

It is extremely important to the best example that you can be for your students. None of us is teacher of the year, but it is incredibly important to do your best. You play an important role in whether they have an optimistic outlook towards school and life, so it is time to help them see the bright side of life. 

Try to speak only uplifting, positive words of praise and encouragement throughout the learning process. If you see the good effort that your students are putting forth towards their academic performance, let them hear that from you. 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. Successful students aren’t kids who only get top grades, they are kids who develop a positive relationship with school.

If you have an example of one of your own experiences when you may have struggled in school, be sure to tell them. If you can be a role model and example for trying your best, getting through the subjects that were difficult, and still succeeding, they will hopefully be able to temper their high expectations of themselves. Help them understand that good things will still happen for them because they can envision them through you.

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 their first step, second step, etc. Help break it down for them. No one is looking for perfection when you complete tasks, just hard work and the best effort that can be given. Do your best to spin these new things in a positive way.

If your student tends to be a pessimist about what may happen or have anxiety about the unknown, try to talk through the situation or new material and review possible outcomes. What happens 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 and ultimately, more positive results.

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 thoughts. 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 an academic achievement that they have had (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 your 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 your child’s mind focused on one thing at a time and celebrating their small achievements 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 help encourage an attitudinal change, 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.

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