As we go through life, we constantly learn how to think positive. Adults understand, and have felt the many benefits of positive thinking, but students, who are suddenly faced with endless tasks and big responsibilities, may not have such knowledge. Even if they do, they require guidance and help from their educators when it comes to learning.
It can often become challenging for a student to think positively about learning, or even life. They are young and quite impressionable, and the burden can be the cause of a lot of stress and low self-esteem. Whether they choose to do this through yoga and meditation or find a different muse to keep themselves going, that’s their choice.
As an educator, you are in a unique position. You can guide students and teach them how to think positively. Here are five ways that will allow you to do this.
1. Become an Example
Students’ thinking is often prompted by the behaviour and influence of others. If you want your students to listen to your advice, you need to put that advice into action. People learn by example, especially young minds that are still waiting to be shaped.
Optimism is rather contagious. When you behave and think positively, it shows. Your students will soon see that positive thinking breeds better results and will become more likely to have the same look at life.
Before you try any other trick for spreading optimism in a classroom, you need to find ways to think positively yourself. This should create an ideal environment for positive thinking in the classroom, and will teach your students a valuable lesson.
2. Create a Positive Environment
If as a teacher, you constantly judge every bad result of students, they are bound to have low self-esteem and think negatively.
I once had an amazing experience with a professor. He found out that I used a service to do my research paper because he overheard me telling a friend. Instead of punishing me with a terrible grade, he sat down with me and asked me with a smile on his face – is the pace of my assignments too hard for you?
Learning to be positive can only start in a positive place. Students won’t be inspired to be optimistic unless there’s hopefulness and positive attitude around them. Seeing negativity in peers and instructors on a daily basis gives them no reason to be positive.
Yes, the job of educators is hard and students have too much to do very often, but that’s no reason to bring people down. This is why you must promote communication within the classroom, find new interesting ways to share the information, and maybe even bring a positive flair in your students’ working environment.
Some colours in the classroom, quotes that boost the mood, as well as honest conversations can go a long way in making the learning space positive.
3. Help Students Find the Positive in the Bad
Positive thinking is somewhat of a skill, which means that students will need some practice before they are able to have such view on life. You can help them with this. If you do plans for the learning processes with your students included in the process, you can help them visualize the positive outcomes, as well as find the good in the bad.
Practice makes perfect, even when it comes to positive thinking.
4. Change the Patterns of Negative Thinking
Negative thinking often comes in patterns. It starts with negative words and moves on to negative thoughts. These are easily noticeable. When you notice such a pattern, start encouraging the students with positive thoughts and ideas. This is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, specially designed to change the negative thoughts into a more positive view.
5. Try to Eliminate Negative Statements
You will often hear students sharing their negative thoughts or disappointments, as well as poor expectations in the classroom. Statement such as ‘I can’t do this’ are very frequent among students. Firstly, you must understand what is the reason behind the negative verbiage is. If there is a way to complete the task, you should try to help the student in finding a solution. Show them that you are in it together.
Are you ready to impact the life of your students in an even more important way? Teaching students goes beyond just sharing what is in the syllabus or the textbooks. One of the tasks of a professor, and a very important one, is to help students create a better, more positive outlook of life.
About the Author
Emma Rundle is a psychologist at a college in the US. She works alongside professors and students, trying to help them resolve any issues and reduce their stress levels. Rundle is an expert at cognitive behavioral therapy, which according to her, is the best way a psychologist can change people’s lives.