• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form

How to Successfully Overcome a Negative Group Identity

Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 3996

One of the most important responsibilities that all teachers have to manage successfully when they meet their students for the first time is to create a positive and welcoming atmosphere where students are made to feel valued, capable, and eager to return for a second class. This responsibility becomes even more crucial if you teach students who have not been successful in the past or who struggle to succeed. Often this unpleasant past experience will result in classes and students who view themselves in a negative way. While changing this mindset may seem daunting, it can be made easier with just a bit of thought and effort.

               One way to guarantee that your students will leave their first meeting with you with an optimistic attitude about school and your class is to deliberately give the entire group a positive identity. Here is a brief excerpt from The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide with advice on how to give your students a positive group identity right from the start.

               “Unless you create a positive identity for your class, students may take your smallest correction of their misbehavior to mean that you think of them as troublesome. This will happen even more quickly if students in your class have struggled with school in the past. Once a group starts to think of itself in a negative way, it is almost impossible to change the group’s self-perception into a positive one.

               Sometimes students have been dragging this negativity around for years. If you can eliminate the negative image and give your class a positive self-image, you will all benefit. This is no easy task, however. What you must do is make a conscious effort to praise and reinforce your class’s positive group attributes. Thus, you will promote the group’s desirable behaviors and extinguish the group’s negative ones.

               Even difficult classes can have positive attributes. If a group is very talkative, for example, you can put a positive twist on it and praise the students for their sociability. To create a positive group image, you must find and reinforce students’ positive attributes. Here’s how:

               Step One: If you learn that your class has a negative self-image, let students know that you disagree with it.

               Step Two: Observe two things about your class: how your students interact with each other and with you and how they do their work. Find at least one positive attribute that you can reinforce.

               Three: Begin praising that positive attribute as often as you can. In a few days, you will notice that your students will accept it as truth and will start to bring it up themselves.

              Think of a positive label or two for each class and use these labels frequently. Students in each of your classes should believe that their class special place in your heart. Here are a few positive labels your students should hear you use at the start of the year:

Caring          Motivated          Intelligent          Prepared         Successful         Friendly

Polite           Accurate            Efficient             Reasonable     Adaptable          Reflective

Energetic     Creative             Studious            Realistic          Cooperative        Industrious

Likable         Helpful              Dependable       Ingenious        Determined        Thoughtful"

Punctual      Curious              Inventive          Unique             Trustworthy       Adventurous

Last modified on
Rate this blog entry:

Julia G. Thompson received her BA in English from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. She has been a teacher in the public schools of Virginia, Arizona, and North Carolina for more than thirty-five years. Thompson has taught a variety of courses, including freshman composition at Virginia Tech, English in all of the secondary grades, mining, geography, reading, home economics, math, civics, Arizona history, physical education, special education, graduation equivalency preparation, and employment skills. Her students have been diverse in ethnicity as well as in age, ranging from seventh graders to adults. Thompson currently teaches in Fairfax County, Virginia, where she is an active speaker and consultant. Author of Discipline Survival Guide for the Secondary Teacher, First-Year Teacher’s Checklist, The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide, and The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide Professional Development Training Kit, Thompson also provides advice on a variety of subjects through her Web site, www.juliagthompson.com; on her blog, juliagthompson.blogspot.com; and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TeacherAdvice.

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Tuesday, 25 October 2016