Any student can be faced with a problem during the school day. Small problems such as lost books, pencils, not sure what to do or more serous problems such as relationship issues. Some students show great resilience and ability to get the problem sorted and move on.
What about the students who can’t seem to move on from the problem, the problem is winning?
When you observe a student who is not working, who is upset, angry, or annoyed say, ‘Don’t let the problem beat you’! What can you do to get it sorted? I am here to assist you if you need me to help out.
When you challenge a student to ‘beat the problem’ they take on board the challenge. The notion of being able to win is very strong!
Tips for more statements:
Don’t let the problem be in control of you. Get it sorted.
You are important! Don’t let the problem over take you.
Don’t let the problem be bigger than you.
Don’t let the problem win!
I observed a student throw down their pencil and give a load moan of annoyance. I asked them, ‘What’s stopping you from getting on with your work?’
I can’t draw this!
I said, ‘Don’t let the problem beat you. You need to win!’
The student thought for a moment then picked up their eraser, rubbed out part of the illustration then resumed work. I said, ‘You win!’ and they smiled!
- Students gain a feeling of power when they ‘beat a problem’.
- Lots of small day to day problems can be dealt with using this idea.
When two students are experiencing an upset due to an argument try saying, ‘Don’t let the problem beat you. You are both intelligent people and I am sure you can come up with a solution. Come and see me when you have decided how to get the problem sorted’.
Leave the students to have a discussion and make a decision. Often the upset is quickly dealt with and everybody moves on.
Telling a student they are ‘being brave’ when they sort, and beat a problem, gives them a boost of confidence.