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  • Honora Wall

Set a Goal to Counteract Classroom Negativity

The new year is a time of goal setting. We love to talk about the goal we’re reaching for-- the end result-- but we spend less time examining the beginning-- where we are today. This is a mistake, because the best way to reach any goal is to take inventory of where we are right now. Taking stock of our present helps us design a bridge from our beginning to our goal.

Teachers, we have 18 weeks left to help our students reach their academic goals. Take a look at where your students are today so you can help them build a bridge to those year-end goals. Sadly, students with learning barriers like ADHD and SLD’s start the new year after hearing “20,000 more negative messages about themselves than other kids their age”. What a depressing statistic this is. We have to address and correct the negativity our students experience with three times as many positive messages.

You can counteract negative messaging by finding a point of success for students. This is especially necessary, and may seem hard to do, for struggling students; but if you look, you’ll find something to be positive about:

“You’re right about division being the next step, but let’s take another look at your division answer”

“Yes, a rectangle is a four-sided shape, but this shape doesn’t have right angles, so it has a different name”

“I like that you’re jumping in with an answer, that’s great enthusiasm! But let’s take a pause first before jumping in”

“Started from the bottom, now we’re here” -- Drake

The research is clear: using specific, positive praise increases academic performance, improves student behavior, and raises self-esteem. All of these improvements can help struggling students reach their goals. Make a point of counteracting negative comments in your classroom by using specific, regular, positive feedback.

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