More Than A Word…
One of the most powerful transformations I ever made to my classroom was how I dealt with student failure to foster growth and progress. It was more than just changing my instruction, it was also changing the way I talked to, interacted with, and reacted to students when they struggled. This required a large culture shift for my classroom, but one simple thing I did to start that process was use the word “YET.”
After setting up systems, and making changes to my instructional framework to help my students succeed, the next step was to build a culture of growth and perseverance. The way I accomplished this was with a single word: YET.
If a student says anything negative, such as:
- I can’t do this!
- I don’t understand this!
- I don’t know how to do this problem or skill!
The simple response from me is…”YET.”
I would diligently reply to every single statement that was negative with the word “YET.” It was mostly just me at first. Then something amazing happened; my students took over. Not only were they correcting one another via peer intervention, they were embodying and utilizing the same mindset themselves. Before long, my students were no longer afraid of failure. They welcomed the challenge, and they didn’t shy away from their struggle because there was a single, three letter phase that made it all ok.
It takes time.
Making these changes in my classroom took time, like anything in teaching does. I had to monitor myself and continually make sure I was building and modeling this philosophy for my learners. Eventually though, it started to catch on, and it started to work!
So, you might be reading this and wondering if this can can actually work. You may even be saying, “I can’t do that in my classroom”
My only response is simple…YET.