How to Build Positive Attitudes with Students

The beginning of the year is a highly formative time in a student's experience of the school year. It can dictate patterns of behavior that can last for the entire year. Students begin the year with a variety of expectations, some of them positive and some negative. It's incredibly important to cultivate those positive expectations and attitudes while working to change the negative ones at an early stage in the school year when student's minds are the most fresh, open, and flexible. During the first few weeks of school, keep these tips in mind in order to build positive attitudes with your students and build a solid foundation for the rest of the year.

Build Connections

Making a personal connection with your students is the first step in building positive attitudes and expectations, and it's as easy as greeting them when they walk in the door a few times a week. Stand by the door and greet students as they walk in and tell them you're glad to see them and you're excited for class. This positive emotion will rub off on them and put them in a good frame of mind for class.

Recognize Students that are Trying

It's inevitable that some concepts will come easy to some students, while others have a harder time. It's important to let the latter group know that you recognize their efforts. All you can ask of your students is that they try. Help students that are struggling by pointing out what they're doing right and not dousing papers in red ink. Instead, focus on only a few key errors, point them out to students and tell them how to fix them next time. Breaking down work into bite-size chunks helps students not to feel overwhelmed and makes progress feel more attainable.

Let Your Passion Show

Much in the same way that your positive emotions at the door will rub off on students and excite them, so will your passion for what you're teaching. Think of those who inspire you with their passion and use this as an inspiration for your teaching in the classroom. “One tactical way to achieve passion in your teaching is to teach one thing that you love, or to teach one thing in a way that you love teaching,” says Edutopia. Your passion for a subject can also help make it relevant for students, who can't always see the long-term importance of what they're learning. Your passion for it demonstrates its inherent importance and helps them move past this obstacle.

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