Affirmations are phrases that foster a positive mental attitude and self-empowerment. They are words that can be said aloud or written around a room to inspire students, and they can become inner mantras that learners can use to support and encourage themselves. Affirmations are extremely important, as we live in an academic culture that typically points out what students are doing wrong. Therefore, integrating positive thoughts and words can counteract any feelings of discouragement, thus helping students step into their best academic selves.
Why Are Positive Affirmation Important for Learning?
When students are bombarded with negative comments and returned assignments that are constantly showing errors, it can discourage the learning process and can result in a case of academic learned helplessness. Academic learned helplessness is a condition in which a student suffers from a sense of powerlessness that sabotages motivation. In addition, it can negatively impact a student's inner dialogue or self talk, so that when they sit down to complete their work, they tell themselves that they are unable or incapable of doing the task. Their inner voice may call themselves stupid, careless, or lazy, to name a few. However, by using and teaching students to use positive affirmations, discouraged learners can shift to a positive outlook, learn to use words of encouragement, and rekindle a joy for learning.
10 Affirmations that Can Help Empower Struggling Students:
- You were super close, give it another try! Instead of telling a student they are incorrect or wrong, using encouraging words will likely illicit greater effort. You can also guide them to the answer, so that they feel some sense of success. If you do this repeatedly, your students will merge this positive way of thinking into their own inner dialogue.
- Look at all the problems that you answered correctly! Even if a student didn't get the grade they wanted, point out all the concepts that they mastered. Help them to feel good about what they did learn and allow them to continue to learn by completing test corrections for extra credit.
- I can and I will! Teaching students to persist when things get tough nurtures resilience.
- I'm proud of myself for __________. Getting students to recognize their accomplishments helps to establish a positive inner voice.
- Everyone has genius qualities and mine are _________. Helping students to recognize and verbalize their strengths can help them to feel good about themselves.
- I can do anything I choose to do! This affirmation helps students to push through tough times.
- The better I do in school, the more opportunities I will create for my future. This is a mantra I try to teach my high school students that have trouble seeing the purpose in completing their assignments.
- I choose to be confident. Students can always choose to verbalize the opposite of what they are feeling and manifest what they want.
- Today I will walk past my fears. Students can also look at their fears and choose to overcome them.
- Mistakes are simply an opportunity to learn. This affirmation helps students to step into their higher selves.
Ready Made Materials that Empower Learners:
- Dr. Warren's Multisensory Brain Break Meditations offers short, multisensory, playful, and transformative meditations to help elementary and middle school students learn mindful breath meditations and self-regulation approaches for calming and preparing the mind, activating both hemispheres of the brain, and getting the body in optimal shape for learning.
- Dr. Warren’s Mindfulness Activity Cards are based on the current research on working memory. They can be used in classrooms or therapeutic sessions to help enhance working memory capacity and build community. Furthermore, they can be used to teach authentic dialogue and develop emotional intelligence. They are ideal for classroom discussions, individual sessions, and circle groups. To view all social emotional products on Good Sensory Learning, CLICK HERE.
Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
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