Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Learned Helplessness is for the Dogs!!

A Blogger's Insight:

Learned Helplessness?!

Learned Helplessness is the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards.  

Students who tend to be unsuccessful several times in a row, start to believe that they will always be unsuccessful.  They also feel that is that is the case, why are they putting in so much effort just to receive unwanted results?! 
Personally, I feel that learned helplessness should be for the dogs.  No student should feel that they are going to be unsu-cessful all of the time.  It is the teachers job to help the student(s) which areas they thrive in and which areas they just may need more practice in.  If students are consistently failing or not reaching the desired progress, something must be not working as effectively as it should be.  Sometimes, it may be the student - whether it is their behaviors, attitudes, or tendencies - or it could just be the circumstances students face on a daily basis.  Whatever the reason may be, students need to see some sign of process.  Think about yourself!! If you have ever tried to lose weight in the past and day after day you see no sign of change and yet you know you have been really making strides, you eventually give up and start to feel hopeless. This is how students feel. 

To decrease feelings of learned helplessness there are 3 strategies that
will help teachers incorporate to divert learned helplessness
 with their students within the classroom?  
*Define success as improvementAvoid defining academic success as performing at a pre-established level or in comparison with other students.
* Model how to manage failure and setbacks in a constructive way
“This is not working. What is another way that I can do this?” 
 “What is another strategy that I can try?”
*Praise your students and be specific, not global (e.g., “Good job”), explicitly telling the child the particular skill or behavior that you are praising.
Reyes, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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