Chances are you’ve heard of positive affirmations. However, if you’re brand new to affirmations and are a bit skeptical as to why you need them in your classroom, I totally understand. In this blog post, I’m going to explain what positive affirmations are, why you need them in your classroom, and how to start implementing positive affirmations today.
What are Positive Affirmations?
Affirmations are statements that are frequently repeated in your mind and/or said out loud. When using positive affirmations, they can help you to overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, you physically rewire neural pathways in your brain and this is where you start to create positive changes.
This may come as a shock but we use affirmations every day. We typically use them unconsciously or without giving them much thought. Positive affirmations are a phenomenal way to rewire your brain, have better life satisfaction, and achieve more.
Why You Need Positive Affirmations in the Classroom
Studies show that people who cultivate a positive mindset perform better in the face of a challenge. In addition, there is a strong link between life satisfaction and success. A common misconception is success=happiness; however, success is always a moving target. Think about it. Remember when you finally achieved a goal? You’re pumped…until you’re not. Success is constantly moving. Therefore, happiness is not based on success alone.
Instead we must create habits that promote happiness such as meditation, affirmations, gratitude, and more.
I know many of you are likely skeptical… “why do I need to promote happiness? I’m here to teach.” Or “I don’t have time in the classroom for anything else.”
However, things like growth mindset in the classroom and positive affirmations do not need to be a stand alone subject or a separate set of lesson plans. Think of it like teaching respect in the classroom. It’s not taught independently. It’s modeled and encouraged. Finally, once you have it, everything operates better. Students encourage each other and are excited to do it more.
How Positive Thinking Helps Students Academically
In the classroom, students are more likely to retain information when they believe in themselves and their ability to persevere. When students believe they can achieve despite difficulty and when students have growth mindsets in the classroom they are likely to perform better, work harder, and learn the necessary skills.
By using positive affirmations we can strengthen and promote a growth mindset. This growth mindset is what will help your students succeed.
Currently, many teachers are teaching and students are retaining some of it. Students are under the impression that if something is hard they’re stupid and just won’t get it. Subsequently, they start shutting down before we’ve even begun. Then we keep reteaching and reteaching in hopes of them eventually getting it.
Our students need to be meeting us half way. They need to understand that life will hand them difficult situations and regardless they need to show up and trust themselves. Trust that they can succeed despite obstacles as long as they stick with it.
However, they won’t start showing up like this unless we teach them how to have a growth mindset.
In short, teaching growth mindset isn’t a separate subject. It’s done by modeling, through affirmations (rewiring the brain), positive reinforcement and encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone.
How to use Affirmations with your Students
- Posters – Decorate your classroom with them. Just like you would anchor charts. Your students will be reading these posters every day. Encourage them to say them out loud and with emotion!
- Notice it and Correct it – Students are quick to say “I’m not good at this” and “I’m not smart.” Those are affirmations. Rewrite those affirmations on the spot. Don’t allow negative self talk. Instead explain to students that they can say they are having a hard time and need help. It doesn’t mean that they “can’t do it” or “aren’t smart enough.”
- Journal – Once and awhile (or as often as you would like) allow students to journal it out. Encourage them to journal their feelings, fears, goals, and dreams. All of it. Let them write their affirmations too. As teachers, we know that students retain more when they write it down.
- Celebrate – Celebrate when you see students using positive words, encouraging language and when they are demonstrating a growth mindset. Positive reinforcement is so important.
- Youtube positive affirmations to start the day – Play them while they are unpacking. We are influenced by what we hear and watch whether we notice or not. By playing positive affirmations in the morning, you’re starting the day off on the right foot.
- Books – Here you can find a list of my favorite growth mindset books that promote positive self-talk.
You don’t need a new curriculum or a huge amount of time to use affirmations in your classroom. It’s in the small everyday moments that we create massive change. You can do this by simply having a discussion about the language we are using and why our words are important. Next, lead by example and celebrate the successes. I promise you’ll see a positive change in your classroom. You just have to be willing to try.
My Favorite Positive Affirmations for Students
- Today I am a leader.
- I’m choosing to have an amazing day.
- I believe in myself.
- I learn from my mistakes.
- Challenges are opportunities to grow.
- I love myself.
My Favorite Affirmations for Teachers
- I treat myself and my students with kindness and respect.
- The work I do every single day matters.
- I’m making a difference in my students’ lives.
- I believe in myself and my abilities.
- I’m a valuable asset to my school, my district, and my community.
- I love myself.