All students have two questions when they first enter any classroom:
(1) Will I fit in?
(2) Will I succeed?
Following are two simple ways to empower students so that their self-talk will be in the affirmative.
For the first question (Will I fit in?), reduce anonymity. Start the class by having students share the name they would like to be called and have them share one personal fact about themselves. It can be a hobby, a special interest, how they enjoy spending their time, a favorite movie, a special song—anything that others in the class can relate to about each student.
For the second question (Will I succeed?), use an empowering approach. Start an assignment or give a test with material so easy that students’ self-talk becomes, “I can do this.”
What other approaches do you utilize to help students feel safe, confident, and positive in your classroom? Please post your ideas in the comments below.