Empowering the A Team: Do Affirmations Really Work With Students?

Do Affirmations Really Work with Students? 

Helping children to appropriately deal with trauma helps maintain a healthy physical, mental and emotional balance. Coping skills are life skills. That’s why I believe in affirmations. Using affirmations on a regular routine with students helps them aspire to be successful. It empowers them to deal with traumatic and challenging situations in a positive way. I’ve also found that affirmations work well students who struggle with self-esteem issues. Teaching children affirmations becomes a life practice that helps build their character and coping skills.

Affirmations and Self Esteem

Students battle with the acceptance of their appearance and abilities in school. It’s important for youth to hear positive words that affirm who they are. Affirmations also helps children to see that our differences make us unique. This builds self-esteem as children are often teased because of their differences. Most importantly, utilizing affirmations with children as a young age teaches them:

  • how to respect and honor themselves
  • how to respect and honor others

Helping Children Dealing with Trauma 

Social and emotional learning impacts the success of a children academically more than what many people would like to acknowledge. We cannot overlook the impact trauma has on children. Trauma plays and huge part in student discipline. Studies show how divorce for example weighs heavily on the social and emotional development of children. There are plenty of studies to reflect the impact trauma has on children in schools. However, there are far too many schools without SEL support and resources. There are also still too many schools and school Districts that aren’t utilizing enough resources to meet the needs of students struggling emotionally.

My Solution

At my school in East Point, Latin College Prep, I created the 6th Grade “A” Team. The “A” stands for affirmation. I created this group due to seeing the challenges scholars faced with handling and coping with trauma. I’ve found that it’s harder for scholars who have experienced trauma to build and maintain social relationships when adults don’t recognize symptoms of trauma. This impacts social development and behavior. This group meets with me weekly. I go over team building, crisis management, socialization skills, acceptance and affirmations with them. We started our group meetings off with this. I had each scholar write down an affirmation and commit to it. I also completed one with them.

This has been an interesting journey. It’s taught me the importance of SEL practices. I believe training in SEL should be a requirement for all educators. There are so many educators who are not well versed with supporting the social and emotional needs of students. The A Team helped me to further understand the need for SEL resources in schools. Not every child is artistic or athletically inclined. Do our schools have programs, organizations and club to affirm the needs of all children? The A Team consists of scholars who are bi racial, of latino descent, various sizes (weight stature and height), those who have learning disabilities and advanced learning abilities, scholars who are shy, socialites, to children who are often overlooked and those children coping with trauma. It’s important that each child feels a sense of belonging at school. This school year has given me a deeper appreciation of affirming students success through social and emotional support. Yes, affirmations really do work with students. I can’t wait to share success stories at the end of this school year.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.

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