Many times in my work as a School Psychologist I see students who are capable of doing the work, but their self-concept as not being a learner gets in the way of success.
Four ideas for teachers to help start students thinking of themselves as competent learners.
- Start with what they are doing well at academically. (Be specific and authentic)
- Ask the student what might be missing from your instruction that they need to be more successful.
- When a student has responded to corrective feedback, praise the student with specifics on how they helped to transform their learning and you are excited to keep watching them grow as a learner.
- Connect and talk to your grade level team and also support staff (Principal, Counselor, and School Psychologist) to get more ideas and tools to support your student in need.
Self-Concept and Self-Esteem in Adolescents (NASP)
Understanding and Fostering Achievement Motivation (NASP)
Student Self Esteem and the School System: Perceptions and Implications
Dr. Ken Shore’s Classroom Problem Solver -The Student With Low Self-Esteem
Self-concept and School Performance – UCLA
SELF-BELIEFS AND SCHOOL SUCCESS: SELF-EFFICACY, SELF-CONCEPT, AND SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT
Ideas to support students
||How to support
|Sense of security
- Maintain a safe and healthy learning environment by following safety policies and procedures.
- Show all children you care about their well-being by talking to them each day and learning about their lives.
- Be consistent and follow through on your promises.
|Sense of belonging
- Create a community atmosphere.
- Celebrate all children as individuals.
- Implement a zero-tolerance policy on bullying, and promote kindness and character education.
|Sense of purpose, responsibility and contribution
- Give children responsibilities in the environment.
- Ask for input from children when creating activity plans and setting themes.
|Sense of personal competence and pride
- Give children opportunities for success.
- Have activities that are varied in levels of difficulty so that children can be challenged in a safe way.
|Sense of trust
- Gain the trust of children by creating an atmosphere based on respect and kindness.
- Set boundaries that give children opportunities for safe risk taking.
- Be consistent and follow through on your promises.
|Sense of making real choices and decisions
- Give children the opportunity to choose their activities, field trips, etc. Make them feel like their input and voice matters by taking their suggestions seriously and using them to develop activity plans.
|Sense of self-discipline and self-control
- Use positive guidance methods that support school-age children and their ability to regulate their own behavior.
- Help children gain self-control by teaching them coping techniques.
|Sense of encouragement, support and reward
- Provide guidance, encouragement, feedback and praise when children are working hard towards any goal (big or small).
|Sense of accepting mistakes and failures
- Turn mistakes, setbacks or failures into learning opportunities by talking to children about what happened. Discuss with them the choices, steps or decisions that could have changed the outcome.
- Always talk about how a child would do something differently in the future. This helps them to apply their current situation to future events.
|Sense of family self-esteem
- Families are a child’s first and most important caregiver, teacher and advocate. Children need to feel comfortable, loved and safe within their family unit.
- Work with families to support their needs.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (2015). Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12. Available at:https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/Pages/Helping-Your-Child-Develop-A-Healthy-Sense-of-Self-Esteem.aspx
Complete Lesson on Building self-concept of school aged children
Caregivers give their own examples on how to promote positive self-concept in children Video
The beginning of school may very well be parents’ most favorite time of the year. Even so, the transition for parents and kids can be a little rough. Here’s help to ease you and your child into the back-to-school groove.
SOURCE: PBS PARENTS
10 Things Parents Should Do at the Beginning of the School Year
Start Now, to Start the School Year Right by Arne Duncan Ex U.S. Secretary of Education
Back-to-School Resources for Parents – via Edutopia
Back to School Guide – via NEA
1. Get back into your sleep routine. To help eradicate those stressful school mornings, set up a regular bedtime and morning time routine to help prepare your child for school. Begin your usual school sleep routine about a week or so before school starts.
2. Shop for school supplies together. To get your child excited about starting a new grade, shop for supplies together. Allow them to pick out their own backpack, lunchbox, etc. This is a great way to give them a little bit of responsibility too!
3. Reestablish school routines. Have your child practice getting back into the rhythm of their daily school routine. You can do this by having them wake up at the same time every day, and eat around the same time they would at school. About a week or so before school starts, plan a few outside activities where your child will have to leave and come home around the same time they would if they were in school. This will help them be rested and ready for the big day.
4. Set up a homework station. Sit down with your child and together designate a time and place where he can do his homework each day. This can be somewhere quiet like in the den, or even in the kitchen while you are preparing dinner. Make sure to choose a time where you are available in case your child
needs your help.
5. Prepare for the unexpected. Working parents know that it can be difficult to find a sitter when your child is sick. Before school even begins, it’s a good idea to have a sitter already lined up in case you get that phone call home from the nurse saying your child is ill.
6. Make an afterschool game plan. Make a plan for where your child will go after school lets out for the day. Depending upon the age of your child, figure
out if they will go to a neighbor’s house, an afterschool program, or be allowed to stay home by themselves. This will help eliminate any confusion during the
first few weeks.
7. Turn off the TV and video games. For a lot of children summertime is filled with endless video games and TV programs. Children are usually in shock when they begin school and realize that six hours of their day is going to spent learning and not playing games and watching TV. Ease your child into the learning process by turning off the electrics and encouraging them to read or play quietly.
8. Review school material and information. For most parents, schools send home a packet with a ton of information regarding their child’s new teacher, important dates to remember, emergency forms, and transportation routines. Make sure that you read through this information carefully, and mark down all
important dates on your calendar.
9. Get organized. The best way to prepare for back to school time is to be organized. With school comes a massive amount of paperwork which can consume your household. Designate a spot in your house for homework, permission slips, and any other schoolrelated papers. This can help eliminate all of that paper clutter and make your life less stressful.
10. Get your child’s yearly checkup. School and germs go hand in hand, so it’s best to get your child’s yearly checkup before school even starts. Get any
required vaccinations and ask your pediatrician the best ways your child can stay healthy throughout the school year.
The Book: Start the School Year Right What parents, students, and teachers should know
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL MAGIC DUST
Kids Books for Starting School
WHAT IS AN INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND?
An inclusive playground addresses the needs of all people including those who have autism, intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other disabilities. It also addresses the needs of typical children. An inclusive playground accommodates everyone and challenges them at their own developmental level. Source
After school how do I find an Inclusive Playground?
Playgrounds For Everyone A community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds.
(courtesy of AAA State of Play in the article “How-To Accommodate Special Needs Children on the Playground”)
Follow these links to learn more about accommodating special-needs children on the playground:
In our schools, gender awareness and the fluidity of gender attitudes are evolving. The understanding and acceptance of this gender continuum can be a barrier to student learning. This post is to help illuminate concepts, tools, and strategies to help ensure students are supported on campus.
A Resource Guide to Families of Transgender Youth
Glossary of Terms – Transgender
- The classification of a person as male or female. At birth, infants are assigned a sex, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy. (This is what is written on the birth certificate.) A person’s sex, however, is actually a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.
- Gender Identity
- A person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices (see non-binary and/or genderqueer below.) Unlike gender expression (see below) gender identity is not visible to others.
- Gender Expression
- External manifestations of gender, expressed through a person’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, and/or body characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine and feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine changes over time and varies by culture. Typically, transgender people seek to align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Sexual Orientation
- Describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman.
- Transgender (adj.)
- An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms – including transgender. Some of those terms are defined below. Use the descriptive term preferred by the person. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon physical appearance or medical procedures.
- Transsexual (adj.)
- An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed – or seek to change – their bodies through medical interventions, including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term a person prefers. If preferred, use as an adjective: transsexual woman or transsexual man.
- Used as shorthand to mean transgender or transsexual – or sometimes to be inclusive of a wide variety of identities under the transgender umbrella. Because its meaning is not precise or widely understood, be careful when using it with audiences who may not understand what it means. Avoid unless used in a direct quote or in cases where you can clearly explain the term’s meaning in the context of your story.
- While anyone may wear clothes associated with a different sex, the term cross-dresser is typically used to refer to men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. Those men typically identify as heterosexual. This activity is a form of gender expression and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term “transvestite”.
- Altering one’s birth sex is not a one-step procedure; it is a complex process that occurs over a long period of time. Transition can include some or all of the following personal, medical, and legal steps: telling one’s family, friends, and co-workers; using a different name and new pronouns; dressing differently; changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) one or more types of surgery. The exact steps involved in transition vary from person to person. Avoid the phrase “sex change”.
- Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)
- Also called Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS). Refers to doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition (see transition above). Avoid the phrase “sex change operation.” Do not refer to someone as being “pre-op” or “post-op.” Not all transgender people choose to, or can afford to, undergo medical surgeries. Journalists should avoid overemphasizing the role of surgeries in the transition process.
- Gender Identity Disorder (GID)
- outdated, see Gender Dysphoria
- Gender Dysphoria
- In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) which replaced the outdated entry “Gender Identity Disorder” with Gender Dysphoria, and changed the criteria for diagnosis. The necessity of a psychiatric diagnosis remains controversial, as both psychiatric and medical authorities recommend individualized medical treatment through hormones and/or surgeries to treat gender dysphoria. Some transgender advocates believe the inclusion of Gender Dysphoria in the DSM is necessary in order to advocate for health insurance that covers the medically necessary treatment recommended for transgender people.
Transgender women are not cross-dressers or drag queens. Drag queens are men, typically gay men, who dress like women for the purpose of entertainment. Be aware of the differences between transgender women, cross-dressers, and drag queens. Use the term preferred by the person. Do not use the word “transvestite” at all, unless someone specifically self-identifies that way.
OTHER TERMS YOU MAY HEAR
You may hear the following terms when doing research on transgender issues or speaking to an interview subject. As they are not commonly known outside the LGBTQ community, they will require context and definition if used in mainstream media.
- A term used by some to describe people who are not transgender. “Cis-” is a Latin prefix meaning “on the same side as,” and is therefore an antonym of “trans-.” A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say non-transgender people.
- Gender Non-Conforming
- A term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Please note that not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender; nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. Many people have gender expressions that are not entirely conventional – that fact alone does not make them transgender. Many transgender men and women have gender expressions that are conventionally masculine or feminine. Simply being transgender does not make someone gender non-conforming. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as gender non-conforming.
- Non-binary and/or genderqueer
- Terms used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as non-binary and/or genderqueer.
TRANSGENDER NAMES, PRONOUN USAGE & DESCRIPTIONS
In 2015, The Washington Post updated its style guide to include the singular they to describe people who “identify as neither male nor female.” It is increasingly common for people who have a nonbinary gender identity to use they/them as their pronoun.
- Always use a transgender person’s chosen name.
- Many transgender people are able to obtain a legal name change from a court. However, some transgender people cannot afford a legal name change or are not yet old enough to legally change their name. They should be afforded the same respect for their chosen name as anyone else who uses a name other than their birth name (e.g., celebrities).
- Use the pronoun that matches the person’s authentic gender.
- A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not that person has taken hormones or undergone surgery, should be referred to using the pronouns appropriate for that gender. If you are not certain which pronoun to use, ask the person, “What pronouns do you use?”
- If it is not possible to ask a transgender person which pronoun they use, use the pronoun that is consistent with the person’s appearance and gender expression or use the singular they.
- For example, if a person wears a dress and uses the name Susan, feminine pronouns are usually appropriate. Or it is also acceptable to use the singular they to describe someone when you don’t wish to assign a gender. For example: “Every individual should be able to express their gender in a way that is comfortable for them.”
- Some people use the singular they to reflect their non-binary gender identity.
- In 2015, The Washington Post updated its style guide to include the singular they to describe people who “identify as neither male nor female.” It is increasingly common for people who have a non-binary gender identity to use they/them as their pronoun. For example: “Jacob writes eloquently about their non-binary identity. They have also appeared frequently in the media to talk about their family’s reaction to their gender expression.”
It is never appropriate to put quotation marks around either a transgender person’s chosen name or the pronoun that reflects that person’s gender identity.”
Terms to Avoid
- “transgenders,” “a transgender”
- Transgender should be used as an adjective, not as a noun. Do not say, “Tony is a transgender,” or “The parade included many transgenders.”
- “transgender people”,”a transgender person”
- For example, “Tony is a transgender man,” or “The parade included many transgender people.”
- The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous “-ed” tacked onto the end. An “-ed” suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. It also brings transgender into alignment with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer. You would not say that Elton John is “gayed” or Ellen DeGeneres is “lesbianed,” therefore you would not say Chaz Bono is “transgendered.”
- This is not a term commonly used by transgender people. This is a term used by anti-transgender activists to dehumanize transgender people and reduce who they are to “a condition.”
- “being transgender”
- Refer to being transgender instead, or refer to the transgender community. You can also refer to the movement for transgender equality and acceptance.
- “sex change,” “pre-operative,” “post-operative
- Referring to a “sex-change operation,” or using terms such as “pre-operative” or “post-operative,” inaccurately suggests that a person must have surgery in order to transition. Avoid overemphasizing surgery when discussing transgender people or the process of transition.
- “biologically male,” “biologically female,” “genetically male,” “genetically female,” “born a man,” “born a woman”
- Problematic phrases like those above are reductive and overly-simplify a very complex subject. As mentioned above, a person’s sex is determined by a number of factors – not simply genetics – and a person’s biology does not “trump” a person’s gender identity. Finally, people are born babies: they are not “born a man” or “born a woman.”
- “assigned male at birth,” “assigned female at birth” or “designated male at birth,” “designated female at birth”
- “passing” and “stealth”
- While some transgender people may use these terms among themselves, it is not appropriate to repeat them in mainstream media unless it’s in a direct quote. The terms refer to a transgender person’s ability to go through daily life without others making an assumption that they are transgender. However, the terms themselves are problematic because “passing” implies “passing as something you’re not,” while “stealth” connotes deceit. When transgender people are living as their authentic selves, and are not perceived as transgender by others, that does not make them deceptive or misleading.
- “visibly transgender,” “not visibly transgender”
- Defamatory: “deceptive,” “fooling,” “pretending,” “posing,” “trap,” or “masquerading”
- Gender identity is an integral part of a person’s identity. Do not characterize transgender people as “deceptive,” as “fooling” or “trapping” others, or as “pretending” to be, “posing” or “masquerading” as a man or a woman. Such descriptions are inaccurate, defamatory and insulting. (See “passing” and “stealth” as problematic terms above.)
- Defamatory: “tranny,” “she-male,” “he/she,” “it,” “shim”
- These words dehumanize transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media. The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups: they should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted. So that such words are not given credibility in the media, it is preferred that reporters say, “The person used a derogatory word for a transgender person.” Please note that while some transgender people may use “tranny” to describe themselves, others find it extremely offensive.
- Defamatory: “bathroom bill”
- A term created and used by far-right extremists to oppose nondiscrimination laws that protect transgender people. The term is geared to incite fear and panic at the thought of encountering transgender people in public restrooms. Simply refer to the nondiscrimination law/ ordinance instead. For additional resources on how to fairly and accurately report on nondiscrimination laws and bathrooms, please see “Debunking the ‘Bathroom Bill’ Myth – Accurate reporting on LGBT nondiscrimination: A guide for journalists.”
Transgender rights at school
What Are My Rights at School?
Gender Spectrum Resources for a variety of topics.