By Elizabeth Sautter, M.A., CCC-SLP
I’ve been thinking about the start of the school year, and this story in Edutopia, Helping Students Start the School Year With a Positive Mindset, caught my eye. Launching into school with a positive mindset is valuable for students of all ages and abilities, and it’s something that educators and parents can help to nurture. The exercises presented in this Edutopia article are ideal in a classroom setting and can also be adapted for use at home.
Most students can benefit from taking a close look at their own mindset. Perhaps they’re not even fully aware of some of their own attitudes and beliefs and those held by their peers. In one exercise, students publicly rate their response to statements like “I believe that the more I try, the more I can succeed” and “I think school is pointless.” The exercise provides a way for them to consider and express their own positions while also seeing where they stand in relation to peers.
Another exercise focuses on private self-reflection and personal growth. Students respond to a statement such as “I used to think _____ but now I think ______.” This is suggested as a journaling exercise but could also be a question that a parent asks a child. Either way, it helps the student consider their beliefs and how their mindset may have changed. It’s also an opportunity to discuss other changes the student would like to make during the coming year.
As the academic year begins, parents and educators can also reinforce a positive mindset by reminding students of their strengths. One of the exercises suggests creating a collage, chart, or journal entry that includes a response to the question “What are my best abilities?” Parents can raise this question with their child and even make their own list of the child’s strengths. Reminders of our best qualities are always welcome, but especially so as students are challenged by new tasks and expectations.