The thing about optimism is that many people mistake it for just positive thinking. However, it does not just end there. Optimism, in more ways than one, is a way of fighting the helplessness that gets created as we move forward in life.
Students who go through this phase of helplessness often find themselves refusing any sort of activities or solutions that could be helpful in more ways than just one. This sort of helplessness is called learned helplessness and getting out of it is often more difficult than it may seem.
This is where the realistic optimism comes into play, and since we are looking at teachers, we believe that realistic optimism should be something that every teacher focuses on. If you are wondering how to teach this sort of optimism, let’s keep looking.
Start With Positive Reframing
Start by telling your students about positive reframing, and allowing the students to look at the scenarios they are in from different perspective. For instance, if a student is feeling let down by the fact that he did not score well in an exam, tell the student to think about how they have just got a better chance at making the future exam even better.
Encourage Selective Focusing
Believe it or not, selecting focusing is something that happens to be a lot more important than some might think. Teach your students the methods to focus mainly on their thoughts as well as the events that lead to proper solutions.
Try Preventing Unproductive Self-Talk
Unproductive self-talk takes place usually when a student comes at the worst possible situation when something negative happens. For instance, if a student has gotten a bad grade or a bad test score, he or she will convince themselves that they cannot do better in that given subject at all.
As a teacher who is trying to teach realistic optimism, this is something that you must avoid.
I can name many teachers who are against the use of any sort of humor. However, if you are trying to make a difference, the best thing here would be to use a little humor. Clear out the negative air from the class so the students can feel a lot more comfortable with their teachers, and finally understand that even if they do not perform better, it is fine.
Following these steps is not that difficult, really. Any teacher can read and apply these with ease. However, you really need to be consistent if you are looking forward to making a difference. The more consistent you are, the better it is.
Another important thing that you must keep in mind is that it is better to be open and patient. There will be some students who might not open up to the ideas of you teaching them differently, and that is fine as well. You just have to deal with them with a bit more patience.