Yesterday I was talking to a bunch of young people at our centre- upper primary and secondary.
They were talking about how scary the forthcoming NAPLAN tests are for them. One of the students was very worried about a test she had coming up at school today.
I suddenly realised I was confronting a dense smog of self-limiting beliefs and that it was worth taking some time away from our writing lesson to help the children see what they were doing.
I reminded them that repeating these negative affirmations was just making the likelihood of failure more likely!
We looked at how simply worrying about NAPLAN could ruin the forthcoming holidays and not help one iota. We then examined how taking a positive attitude and using positive affirmations would be likely to lead to higher marks. (Along with some judicious practice and well applied study skills!)
We discussed the pointlessness of obsessively worrying about the questions that MIGHT occur. It is a far better strategy to write down the questions that would be most difficult and then write answers.
Playing WORST QUESTIONS EVER is actually a very positive strategy where children together write the hardest questions they can think of and then collaboratively set out to answer them!
Chances are that they will actually get easier questions and even if they don’t- they will not have spent days or weeks worrying themselves into a negative wormhole!
The limiting thoughts and beliefs we carry from childhood have a massive impact on our adult lives and in turn get visited on our loved ones.
Common examples are I AM HOPELESS AT MATHS, I AM NOT SMART, I WILL NEVER HAVE ANY MONEY, I WILL NEVER BE SUCCESSFUL, PEOPLE DON’T LIKE ME, I DON’T HAVE MANY FRIENDS, I WILL NEVER PASS THE EXAM…………
We deal with these negative self-beliefs within all our learning sessions and in particular during our evidence-based EQ4KIDZ course.
Children need to be helped to squash these thoughts and place them under a “microscope” to see how damaging they really are. Then they need to be shown how to use positive affirmations that can be immediately substituted for negative thoughts.
Children and teenagers CAN be empowered to overcome these self-limiting beliefs. It just takes time, sensitive, deep listening and a willingness to demonstrate and scaffold thinking techniques that need to be applied. Our young people are often very stressed and worried at this PRE-NAPLAN time and they need our calm support!