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Andre Wicks

Middle School Assistant Principal, Spokane Public Schools

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How do you teach students to believe in themselves and to be growth-minded?

I've noticed that students of all ages can be very unsure of themselves and what they can accomplish. They are at times very reluctant to take risks, to take on challenge, and all too accepting of the easy way out. Save a small percentage of students who will do the opposite of what I just described, do the vast majority of students seem like they are that interested in pushing and stretching themselves?

Is this an epidemic of this day and age? Am I forgetting how I, and the youth that grew up with me, was in my adolescence or is this a real problem? Help me find answers to this question. Share with me your thoughts and experiences as you've perhaps taught young people to believe they are capable of much more than they thought possible.

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    Feb 21 2014: In order to get that response from students I, as a current student myself, think that you as the teacher or instructor have to confirm it in them. Let them know you believe in them, and this will make them believe themselves. It will help them to not doubt themselves and they will expand in mind and in actions.
    If it seems as though they don't want to push themselves farther, maybe that is a smaller percentage than you think. I believe upon observation and experience, that our actions and others expectations of us outweigh the gain of expanding sometimes. We live in an individualist society with an increasing value upon education. So it seems like there are many implications on what we choose to do with our education.
    In this case failure is the biggest block. They are afraid to fail and gain new experience and that prevents their mind-growth. So a solution, if there is one, would be to express your believe and confidence in them as the teacher. They will believe more in themselves if they feel like they have some backing.
    I am going through a similar experience right now. My life experiences lead me to be obtaining my high school diploma and AA by the time I graduate high school. I chose to expand because people encouraged me to do so, and it was my desire. Yet I was still really held back, then I took a speech class which led me to debate. My coaches confirmed their belief in my abilities and now I feel as though I have and continue to grow mind wise and otherwise. I have adopted and expanded new mindsets.
    To recap the teacher needs to confirm positively their views on the students abilities, this will lead them to believe in themselves and lead to expansion and growth-mindedness.

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