Promote Positive Affirmations in your Classroom
Positive affirmations are phrases and acknowledgments of positive aspects of a child’s personality, effort, behavior, or other characteristics. When affirmations are present in your classroom daily, it helps to set a positive tone within your classroom environment and enriches children’s perceptions of themselves. At Astor International School, the teachers use positive affirmations with the students to encourage them to reach their highest potential.
In every classroom, teachers are walking around the classroom and acknowledging students' effort to support them to continue to achieve more. Recited often, students begin to have a healthier outlook on life, their character, and what they are capable of. The point of positive affirmations is to acknowledge yourself and others from a place of positivity and not criticism. This helps create motivated and happy children who value themselves, their work, and their peers. Teaching your students to focus on the “why” and rationale behind their affirmation will help develop children into individuals who can self-reflect healthily and teach them how to build up their self-esteem. Providing specificity allows children to see their individual values for themselves.
Another strategy that we use at Astor which promotes positive affirmations is peer-to-peer affirmation. First, it allows students to hear positive aspects of their character from their peer group. It also helps establish care for others, kindness, and respect for each other within a classroom environment. For the student providing the affirmation, it also helps to foster gratitude and appreciation for others and helps the child see the good in others. For the student receiving the affirmation, it can help shed light on aspects of their personality they may not have valued enough and allow them to think more highly of themselves. We want specific affirmations because it indicates to others that they have unique characteristics important to their community. When we hear others point out our strengths, it helps us feel valued and understood.
The third strategy is using built- in affirmations during collaborative projects or group works. Students are given time to express their affirmations to their peers by telling them what they did well and how they could improve on their project. This supports the students in receiving feedback for their work and learning about specific insights on areas that they can improve on.
As you support students in providing positive affirmations to themselves and to one another, set aside some time in the day throughout your school year for them to brainstorm and write specific praises. At Astor, the Year 3 class usually sets aside some time daily to share feedback with their peers on the various tasks that they work on for the day. An example would be during math as the students are working on their class shop, the students listened to the various group presentations and after all the presentations, the students had to share one area they liked about their peer’s shop and one area that their friends could improve on. This supported the students in relooking at their plans and including some feedback from their friends.
By building in specific times of the year tied to an activity or event in the classroom, you can help teach students to look at themselves and others with kindness and positivity to learn to identify the best characteristics of themselves and others.