I’m coming at this from three different angles, so I really hope I don’t confuse the crap out of you. Heck, I hope I don’t confuse the crap out of ME! You see, I’m in a unique place of needing to adopt this for myself, needing to make sure both of my daughters understand it and believe it, and to get it into my class’s heads, too. Twenty-eight people! All at the same time!
NO PRESSURE, TIFF!
So, the easiest way to start this, once you understand that your brain CAN grow and that you CAN make your memory better, which WILL enhance your learning no matter how old you are or how “bad” at something you believe yourself to be, is to BELIEVE something good about yourself. Affirmations have been popular for years! That whole concept of “if you believe it, you can do it,” and “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right*,” mentality has been true since… well, I’m 38 and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t told this, so… yeah. In fact, here’s a little motivational video to drive home my point:
I love Youtube!
How does that affect growth mindset? Well, that part is easy. If you hear something often enough, you’ll believe it’s true. In education, we’ve been trained that if a child hears that they’re good at something, they’ll strive to prove it. If they hear that they’re bad at something, and that being bad at that thing is ok, then they’ll only live up to that expectation. So, saying, “I’m bad at Math,” around your kids subliminally tells them that it’s ok to not try to get any better at Math and that if you struggle at it, then you’re obviously not good at it and that’s ok. I know what you’re thinking. “Maybe they are bad at Math, Tiff.” Yeah, no.
I have a sneaky suspicion I’m going to use that one, a lot.
You see, just because you struggle with it, doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. It means… nothing. It means you need to work on it in order to get better at it. Those people who seem to be “good” at it? I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut, they’ve had the groundwork for that skill laid for them prior to being introduced to this. They may not have even realized it was being laid down! Those Kindergarten teachers are TRICKY with those “play” centers, people! Heck, I’M TRICKY, too! Third graders don’t realize I’ve just taught them algebra until they are in pre-algebra and the light bulb goes off! Something as simple as letting a 4 year old hand the money to a cashier to pay for something and get change back can grossly affect how they handle the concept of money, later! It seems silly, sure, but you’ll be surprised how those little minds are processing that! It’s a beautiful thing!
Think about all the stories you hear about doctors who tell patients they’re never going to walk again and you see them dancing at their own wedding two years later? Or the cancer patient who had 6 months to live celebrating 20 years of being cancer free? They believed they could… so they did! Does it work all the time? No. It’s not a miracle cure for everything that ails you. However, it does make the pill easier to swallow, the physical therapy worth the pain, and the research paper worth researching!
Let’s get this entry back on track, now that I’ve (hopefully) proven my point about this muscle between our ears!
Short recap… NO ONE IS BAD AT MATH!
There, all better.
How am I going to apply that knowledge? That’s where we start getting our fingers in some dirt, my friends! First, we have to find the things that we believe about ourselves that illustrate a FIXED mindset (or actually believe that you can’t do something).
For my class:
I’m going to start this for the month with my class using whole class affirmations. I am going to work with them in small groups to incorporate the affirmation in a weekly format to their days, complete with meetings to discuss how they worked towards their affirmation, whether they actually believed it, and how it made their week easier/harder. I’m going to work with each kid towards finding their own affirmations and working towards making them truths by the end of the year. It’s a tall order, but I think it’s worth it. That’s what my mornings and dismissal times are for, right?
For my children:
I started them with affirmations over the summer and they’ve sort of fallen to the wayside. My youngest one still randomly pulls one and grins when I read it to her, so maybe they’re working for her. My oldest, on the other hand, needs the most encouragement and has the lowest self-esteem. I’m going to make pulling that sucker out of the bowl every Monday morning a part of the routine. I’m going to make incorporating that affirmation into their day a daily discussion that we have both going to school and coming home. That’s what our commute is for, right?
This may be the hardest part, so doing it may be an affirmation in itself. I’m going to chose an affirmation every week and work on that thing, just the same as I expect the girls to do. I’ll let them hold me accountable for it, too. I’ll write mine down every Monday, too. I’ll create a page in my bullet journal for each week with that phrase and explanations of how I proved it all week. I’ll even share it with you, whoever is reading this blog.
And since this is posting on Tuesday, I’ll even give you a heads up… my affirmation for this week is:
Until next time!