What do you say to a student who moans, “I’ll never learn this; I never get anything right”? First, know what not to say.
Trying to reason a child out of discouragement is an exercise in futility. Not only that: if you keep trying and getting nowhere, you’re likely to end up discouraged yourself.
What You Can Do
With most children, occasional discouragement is nothing to worry about. You can minimize its effect in your classes by following these basic principles:
If you have a student who seems tormented by chronic self-esteem deficiency, you can also:
Consider whether there may be a deeper problem involved. A chronically discouraged student may have an undiagnosed physical or mental health problem, or may come from a dysfunctional household. If you find this to be the case, recommend that the family (or the proper authorities if need be) talk to a doctor or social service. Even if the problem situation doesn’t change, nothing encourages like actions that say, “Somebody does care.”
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!