Take a minute to say it out loud: "This is too hard. I can't do this." Say it one more time and feel how that phrase feels. "This is too hard. I can't do this." Can you hear there's an emotional stoplight there? This is what your students feel when they say that phrase.
A couple of years back, NPR did a report on the least favorite word in the English language, the word the majority of people would like removed from the language. I thought it might have been a cultural slur or a curse word. i was wrong. It wasn't. The word was "moist." Given their choice, out of all the offensive words in our language, "moist" was the one that rubbed people the wrong way!
For me as an educator, the phrase "This is too hard. I can't do it!" is my "moist." Why? Because it's a phrase that signals that the learner is questioning their ability. That's simply not okay. I never want my students to question their ability. If they question anything, they might want to question their commitment to achieving their goals but certainly not their ability to achieve those goals. So here is a quick easy way of shifting that phrase out of the red light zone and into the green light zone.
Instead of saying, "This is too hard. I can't do this," change it to, "Hey, this is new and unfamiliar. I've never done this before." Try actually saying it out loud so you can experience how it feels. "Hey, this is new and unfamiliar. I've never done this before." Can you feel the difference? The resistance to learning something new dissipates. The red light turns green.
tool that can be applied to anything they want to achieve.
I invite you to try this with your students this week. Provide them this wonderful Diamond Distinction and started changing red lights to green!
Always focus on what you want.
The tips in this blog are culled from my two books, Coffee With Ray and Lessons With Matt. If you would like more strategies that will both nurture your students into self-directed learners while making your job less stressful and more rewarding, please check them out on Amazon.