Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Thursday, July 19, 2018 04:12:28 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Students should believe in themselves

photo by

By
21st-Jan-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Vicki Zakrzewski  :
"She's just going to be a maid anyway."
This was the reason given to me by a fifth grade teacher as to why I, a student teacher at the time, shouldn't give extra help to a child who was working hard to improve her reading.
Once my shock at this disturbing statement wore off, I realized that the teacher's beliefs and assumptions were potentially jeopardizing the quality of life and future aspirations of this student. Bar none, reading skills are essential to life. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with domestic work, what if this student wanted to become a cancer researcher or an airline pilot or a Pixar animator?
As educators, the most important-and rewarding-part of our work is to recognize the vast potential within our students and to help them see it within themselves, and then support them in reaching that potential.
In other words, we need to help them cultivate hope.
What is hope?
Researchers have taken hope, a somewhat ephemeral concept, and made it practical. Hope is about one's ability to achieve goals. It has been linked to greater academic achievement, creativity, and problem-solving skills, as well as less depression and anxiety.
Hope requires two components: pathways and agency. A "pathway" is a roadmap to reaching a goal, one that is created by the student and that includes alternate routes when obstacles arise. "Agency" is the student's belief, motivation, and confidence that he or she can achieve the goal.
While both pathways and agency are central to hope, new research being published soon by the journal Learning and Individual Differences suggests that agency might be the more critical part of the equation. Dante Dixson and his co-authors found that "high hopers" (students high in agency and pathways) and "high agency thinkers" (students high in agency, but low in pathways) had better academic and psychological outcomes, including the belief about their chances of success in the future, when compared to "low hopers" (students low in agency and pathways) and "high pathway thinkers" (students high in pathways, but low in agency).
"Looking towards the future with positive expectations is a powerful force on the present as it affects present decisions, thoughts, and behaviors," writes Dixson.
Thus, if students can cultivate agency-and, subsequently, hope-by believing in their potential success and examining how their current behaviors may affect their future, then they might engage more in school and persevere towards a more ambitious goal, especially when the road to that goal gets rocky.
Three ways to cultivate hope
While hope researchers have created a fantastic method for developing students' pathway abilities (which I wrote about back in 2012), cultivating agency is a bit trickier because it involves a student's history, beliefs, self-concept, and motivations. That's a complex psychological mishmash, at best, but even so most people develop at least some sense of agency.
The key is to develop the student's feeling of self-efficacy, or the belief that one can succeed in a task. According to Dixson, self-efficacy is the "can" phase of a task, whereas hope is the "will" phase. In other words, believing that one can accomplish a goal is vital to developing the will to do so. "Looking towards the future with positive expectations is a powerful force on the present"
First and foremost, educators need to create an emotionally safe learning environment. Students' desire and motivation to learn and succeed are increased when they feel safe to take risks, make mistakes, and just flat-out fail, with no fear of humiliation, shame, or other unlovely repercussions.
Research on self-efficacy suggests that building on past successes is central to believing in one's ability to achieve in the future, as is seeing others around you succeed. However, some students may not have many accomplishments to pull upon, or they may be growing up in an environment or society where, due to circumstances beyond their control, opportunities are scarce, obstacles are abundant, and success feels elusive.
While there is no silver bullet that will solve all these challenges immediately, here are three research-based ideas for educators who view developing a student's sense of agency as imperative to their work.
1.    Become mindfully aware of what's going on inside. In order to change our beliefs about ourselves, we have to first know what they are. But that's the thorny thing about beliefs-we're often not conscious of them or how they drive our choices and behaviors. This is where the practice of mindfulness can help. According to Albert Bandura, the foremost expert on self-efficacy, people often rely on their physiological reaction to a situation or task to decide whether or not they are capable of handling it. For example, if a student experiences severe anxiety the night before giving a public speech, she may believe that she does not possess the ability to give the speech and, therefore, decide to be sick the next day.
The practice of mindfulness can help us observe that our bodies or emotions are telling us something is not quite right, which then allows us to describe what we are experiencing. Just naming the experience can help us act with awareness: We can more easily identify the underlying belief that is causing this reaction, choose not to believe it (because mindfulness teaches us that we are not our thoughts), and replace it with a more positive thought. At that point, we can consciously choose a more constructive action.
Indeed, researchers found that students who have a more mindful disposition-particularly those who can observe, describe, and act with awareness-have greater self-efficacy and, thus, bounce back from failure more easily.
2. Be gentle with yourself and change your narrative. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to develop the "acting with awareness" phase of mindfulness. (To be frank, I have found it to be a never-ending journey, as life has an uncanny way of presenting us again and again with situations we're not quite sure how to handle.)
And for those of us who have the habit of beating ourselves up when we make mistakes or fail at a task, cultivating this ability is particularly challenging. We may be able to notice that we're anxious and name the emotion, but overcoming the habituated belief of "I am not capable and hence a loser and therefore will never succeed at anything" can take a lot more effort.
In that moment, if students can learn to practice self-compassion, speaking kindly to themselves and realizing that making mistakes is part of the human experience, then they may be more likely to alter their beliefs. Indeed, one study found that students who judged themselves had a weaker sense of self-efficacy, whereas self-compassionate students had more.
But it's not enough to soothe yourself with kindness. Changing the underlying belief or narrative that caused the emotional upset is also required. In the same study that linked mindfulness to self-efficacy, the researchers found that positive reappraisal of a situation-a form of positive self-talk, a technique that hope researchers have discovered is used by "high hopers"-related to one's ability to bounce back from failure.
Take the student who mindfully overcame her anxiety to give her speech. What if she still doesn't do very well? Rather than getting overwhelmed with a feeling of failure, she might instead remind herself that many people fear public speaking more than death and that giving speeches takes practice-and then she might go easy on herself and pat herself on the back for actually doing it!
3. Check our own narratives about students. I'd like to think the fifth grade teacher I mentioned at the beginning would be horrified if she knew the potential impact of her statement on the student's personal and academic life. After all, the relationship between educators and students is the heart of teaching-and research shows again and again the tremendous effect, both short- and long-term, this relationship has on students.
Yet it takes work to make what might be unconscious conscious, and to know what may be most helpful to students.
To start, educators should take note of whether they hold a deficit mindset about one or more of their students. In other words, is the focus on students' weaknesses-or their strengths? But we need to go beyond thinking about just the student, and consider our beliefs within the larger socio-political context.
For example, Jeff Duncan-Andrade argues that when we believe all students can be successful if they just work hard enough-e.g., show grit or play by the rules-then we might not be acknowledging structural impediments to the success of marginalized students. This, writes Duncan-Andrade, "largely delegitimizes the pain that urban youth experience as a result of a persistently unequal society."
Instead, Duncan-Andrade suggests that educators need to stand with the youth and the communities they serve, humanizing and sharing the burden of their despair and rage. More than that, teachers need to work against the ideology that privileges some over others.
"We cannot treat our students as 'other people's children,'" writes Duncan-Andrade. "Their pain is our pain."
Every student deserves the chance and has the right to explore his or her glorious potential.
Helping our students to believe in themselves when perhaps no one else does and working with them to cultivate hope where seemingly there is none are two of the greatest gifts educators can offer to our youth.
(Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D., is the education director of the Greater Good Science Center).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

City »

Bangladesh Sammilita Peshajibi Parishad formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday demanding unconditional release and proper treatment of Begum Khaleda Zia.


Editorial »

Public money and gold are not safe, it is a national disgrace


Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday refuted the allegation that one of the gold bars kept in its highly secured vault by the customs department was adulterated. Following a report published by a vernacular daily that quoted Customs Intelligence Investigation Department report, the central bank comes up with the observation that "the ...

Football »

French World Cup victors show triumph of diversity: Obama


AFP, Johannesburg :Former US president Barack Obama on Tuesday singled out the African heritage of many players in France's World Cup-winning football team in a speech paying tribute to Nelson Mandela.Speaking in Johannesburg to mark 100 years since Mandela's birth, Obama said that embracing diversity "delivers practical benefits since it ...

Football »

Maurizio Sarri, the new Chelsea soccer team manager, holds up a jersey during a press conference for his official presentation at Stamford Bridge stadium in London on Wednesday.


Entertainment »

Former supermodel Tapur Chatterji turns entrepreneur


In the ever-changing landscape of contemporary times, there’s more career crossover now than ever before. Granddaughter of veteran film director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Tapur Chatterji who made a mark as of India’s most formative supermodels in 90’s has recently forayed into design and interiors and launched her own entrepreneur outfit. With ...

International »

Thai cave boys leave hospital ahead of press conference


AFP :Twelve boys and their football coach who survived a highly dangerous and dramatic rescue from a flooded Thai cave were discharged from hospital Wednesday ahead of a press conference where they will tell their incredible story for the first time.An AFP correspondent on the scene saw the team, who ...

Entertainment »

Elnaaz surprised by Salman -Katrina controversy about Sacred Games


Actress Elnaaz Norouzi is surprised that there is a controversy about the characters of Karan Wahi and her in the Netflix series Sacred Games. The characters are alleged to have taken inspiration from real life incidents in Salman Khan and his ex-girlfriend Katrina Kaif's real lives.  "While shooting the episodes, ...

Entertainment »

Vidya Balan is all set to play her first Telugu film!


One can't refute the fact that Vidya Balan is one of the most versatile actresses in Indian Cinema today. The National Award Winning actress has never shied away from going off the beaten track and picking up complex and challenging roles. Needless to say, she has effortlessly nailed them all ...

Football »

Mbappe to donate US $500,000 World Cup winnings to charity


Sports Desk :French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will be donating his entire World Cup earnings to a charity that organises sporting events for children with disabilities.The 19-year-old reportedly earned about US$22,300 per game in the tournament and an additional US$350,000 for helping his country lift the World Cup trophy on ...

Editorial »

Trump‘s behaviour in meeting with Putin regarded as disgraceful


US President Donald Trump has defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election. After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote, as per international media reports.Mr Putin ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee member Dr Khondkar Mosharraf Hossain speaking at an opinion sharing meeting on 'Role of Present Election Commission and Blue Print of the Government' organised by Bangladesh Youth Forum at the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday.


International »

No reason to believe Russia behind election meddling


Reuters, Helsinki :U.S. President Donald Trump emerged from a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday saying he saw no reason to believe Russia had hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the Russian leader "was extremely strong and powerful" in denying it.Trump held his meeting just days after a special ...

International »

US, North Korea hold 'productive' talks on war remains: Pompeo


AP, Seoul :U.S. and North Korean officials held "productive" talks Sunday to discuss the return of U.S. service members' remains missing since the Korean War, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.Pompeo, who was not part of the talks, said in a statement that working level meetings between U.S. and ...

Business & Economy »

American Tony Roma now in Dhaka


Business Desk :America's most favorite ribs & steak chain "Tony Roma's" opened officially in Bangladesh on Monday.The first flagship outlet was launched at the most aristocratic zone in the city, NEB (3B), Road#74, Gulshan-2 in Dhaka. US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat attended the function as the chief guest.Tony Roma's ...

Editorial »

Govt`s pragmatic step is needed to save Bangladesh from adverse impact of global warming


A RECENT study has shown that Bangladesh is among the countries 'most at risk' as over one billion people in the world are lack of air conditioning and refrigeration to keep them cool and to preserve food and medicines while global warming increasing temperatures. More electricity demand for fridges, fans ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news