School can be a stressful place for many of our students, especially ones struggling with low self-esteem. Self-esteem helps children feel capable and confident to face and manage their learning challenges, more likely to take responsibility for their actions, and more resilient. We can help our kids (especially the ones with learning and attention issues who are already at risk), by noticing their place in our classroom and the efforts they are making towards being successful. If we value them (and their individual learning process) and spotlight their successes, they are more likely to believe in themselves. And remember, being specific in our praise helps them learn to self-monitor and helps them recognize that the process of working toward a goal is as important as the end result. This week, focus on narrating the efforts your students are making, letting them know you notice and, it matters!
Here are some suggestions that focus on effort, not the end result:
- “That’s a great start.” “How do you like it?”
- “I’d love to know how you did it! What strategies did you use?”
- “Wow. I can see you worked really hard.”
- “Thank you for focusing/following the rules/listening/etc. I know it took hard work to do that.”
- “Thanks for the time you put in…”
- “I liked how you double-checked your answers”
*Source: Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.