At this moment, students may be feeling frustrated with their Pandemic inhibited school experience and with their difficulty in doing their best work. Some students will thrive in an on-line environment while others find it difficult to connect with their teachers and the learning experience through an electronic device. While this moment will not last forever, the lessons we share with our students might last a lifetime. One key to coping with any new or different situation is for students to develop an awareness of their strengths.
Learning About Ourselves
Students often believe things about themselves that are simply not true. Some students focus on self-perceived shortcomings that may or may not be accurate. The fascinating reality is individuals are often better at things they LEARN to do than the things at which they are inherently able to do. But students rarely know this, not surprising since many adults go through their lives believing that what they do well is just the result of some genetic lottery and nothing to do with the skills they have acquired along the way. Thus, “my Dad was good at this, so I am too” becomes a way of thinking about skills, rather than the reality that one may be good at things Dad did because we watched and learned from what Dad did.
Learning About Our Potential
In much the same way, students make assumptions about their abilities and inabilities. Examining those assumptions and looking for evidence that they may be true or not true can open doors for students into a new sense of empowerment. Also learning that we need not let others’ perceptions of our abilities limit us may be the most important learning for students.
Learning how to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths
Understanding that things we may not do well today we may learn to do well tomorrow is a source of hope to students who are afraid to try or have an expectation of failure. Understanding that just because we may not succeed today does not mean we will not succeed tomorrow helps students develop the positive expectations for themselves that are so essential to the development of tenacity for new, challenging, and unfamiliar tasks. Teachers and parents reflecting on their own mastery of things at which they thought they were incapable helps students put their self-perceived inabilities into context.
In Module One of the Metacognitive Approach to Social Skills Training – Revised (MASST-R), we help students begin to think about how their self-beliefs color everything they do and introduce students to techniques for increasing self-awareness. By increasing students’ awareness of who they are and what they believe, we help students formulate self-definitions based on reality, rather than on negative beliefs about themselves that may be a result of inaccurate self-perceptions or labels imposed by others. And we help them recognize that they can improve at whatever they want to achieve.
For more information about how to help students develop these skills, see the MASST-R Module One: Self-Awareness at https://www.sheinkereducationalservices.com/modules.
Access the accompanying Module One workbook for students at https://www.sheinkereducationalservices.com/student-graphic-organizers . The student graphic organizers (workbooks) are currently available free of charge.