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Help students shift from negative to positive self-talk

August 16, 2021

0min Read


You’ve likely heard one of your students say, “I’m just no good at math.” It’s an unfortunate mantra that keeps people stuck in a myth. It’s probably not true that the student isn’t good at math. They just haven’t been taught based on their ability.

As a teacher, how do you inspire a student with zero math confidence to aspire to achieve?

Social-emotional learning

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is necessary to develop students’ math confidence and a love of learning. The primary goal of SEL is to improve student attitudes and beliefs about self, others and school. A Stanford University study found that children with a positive mindset about math performed better in the subject, which is important when we think about fostering math confidence in classrooms.

DreamBox Learning Math can help change your students’ minds about their ability. Not only does its unique gaming style surprise and delight students, but the lessons that are presented meet them exactly where they are in their learning journey. Once students are logged in and consistently engaging in lessons, you’ll see Intelligent Adaptive Learning technology take over from there. The adaptive engine can assess student abilities, strengths, and learning gaps and provide the right next lesson at the right level of difficulty, helping them continue to learn and achieve in math. It adapts the lessons to meet each child’s needs but also nudges them forward with a little healthy perseverance. This is where DreamBox and SEL combine to be greater than the sum of the parts.

Growth mindset

Growth mindset is where the rubber meets the road. Although it’s a term commonly used in business, the idea of a growth mindset is relatively new in education. Put simply, it’s the notion that a person’s basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication, hard work and grit. For students, it’s the idea that learning is fluid, continuous and not linear .

When a learning platform, designed to provide students with exactly what they need, is paired with a growth mindset, the result is productive struggle, which leads to student achievement. When students see that making mistakes is a part of learning, they tend to persevere through the challenges to make the grade. When your students get frustrated, encourage them to look for another way to solve a problem with the help of DreamBox Learning.

As an educator, you can support a growth mindset in these ways:

  • Demonstrate making mistakes and using positive self-talk.
  • Empower students to advocate for themselves when they need help solving problems.
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their learning.
  • Send personalized messages to students on DreamBox that motivate and encourage productive struggle.

This last bullet is important. Celebrate students’ achievements! Little successes add up to big confidence. Each time a student reaches a goal, completes five lessons in DreamBox or experiences productive struggle, but perseveres to achieve their goal, celebrate!

Teacher support

Teaching students the power of persistence helps them understand that life poses challenges, but they can be overcome. Students sometimes struggle with new concepts, so let kids know that even you, as a teacher, learned by making mistakes and that you continue to learn that way.

Empowering your students to set goals and monitor their progress helps them build self-discipline and self-esteem. DreamBox can help students set goals and monitor progress. Check in with individual students and the whole class to see each student’s progress, success and struggles. Let students reflect on their lessons and discuss what worked, what didn’t, and what they learned. Encourage students to share their feelings about the work they did. Help them understand that it’s OK to learn by trial and error. As their successes grow, negative self-talk becomes positive self-talk.

Learn more about DreamBox Learning

Meet every student exactly where they are 

DreamBox data-driven, personalized learning technology delivers the right math and reading instruction at the right time. Students always feel motivated and excited to learn. Learn more!

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