在教室张贴积极的标语 "如果你认为你行，你就行。” 我九年级的代数老师琼斯太太曾经就张贴过这样的标语。我每天都读那条标语，积极的话语逐渐开始对抗我潜意识中的信念——我不可能学好代数。渐渐地，消极的自我对话的影响减小了，而我坚持学习数学的意愿增强了。
1霍华德加德，智力的模式《多元智力理论》（纽约：Harper and Row 出版股份公司1983）
[外文]We can rarely pinpoint the exact moment of avoidance-of-failure behavior since such behavior usually doesn’t disrupt our lessons, distract our attention, or destroy property. Students who fear failure simply don’t do their schoolwork, quietly hoping we won’t notice. While we eventually need to help them connect and contribute to make a real difference in their school performance, our first step is to help these students feel capable and be successful.
Intervention techniques that help students feel capable can be grouped into ten strategies.
The First Five Strategies
We’ll begin with Strategies 1-5,which are specifically tailored to students who fear failure .The other five intervention strategies are also encouragement strategies .They are helpful for all children but particularly useful with students fearful of failure .Strategies 6-10 are summarized in this chapter and fully explained in Chapter 13.
Strategy 1:Modify Instructional Methods
Four techniques are recommended for modifying instructional methods: using concrete learning materials, using computer-assisted instruction, teaching one step at a time, and changing the modality by teaching to the seven types of intelligence.
Use Concrete Learning Materials Many students learn best when they use materials that they can see, feel, and manipulate. Over sixty years ago, Maria Montessori proved that youngsters considered failure by their parents and teachers could ,with the right materials ,succeed academically as well as their so-called brighter peers .To produce these spectacular results ,Montessori designed and used concrete learning materials that met these criteria:
●Attractive ---Students love working with material that are interesting and colorful.
●Self-explanatory-Students are motivated to work when they can determine independently how the materials are used.
●Self-correcting --Students discover that making mistakes is natural and okay when no one else has to know how many errors they make while learning a new skill.
●Reusable-Students can practice tasks over and over again until they’ve achieved mastery .Then the same materials can be used again to give children the joy of succeeding repeatedly.
Learning materials that meet Montessori’s four criteria are readily available for today’s classroom.
Use Computer-Based Instruction Modern technology has provided and additional learning tool that adds a new dimension to teaching methods-the computer. Many students who wouldn’t dream of picking up a pencil in class can sit for hours in front of a monitor, working on basic skills .Although not concrete, educational software does have the four characteristics of the Montessori learning materials.
Computers can’t take our place ,of course .And while all students can benefit from computer-assisted instruction, those who underachieve for fear of failure are particularly helped by it .The self-explanatory, self-correcting, and reusable features enable such students to take risks that they ’d never chance with traditional instructional materials.
Teach One Step at a Time Students who are afraid of failure are easily overwhelmed. They can be frightened into passivity by a complex learning task that’s appropriate for their classmates We can entice these students to tackle the task if we break if up into small, progressive steps so that the chance of making errors is reduced. We can further help them by giving feedback after they complete each step .Each small success will spur them on, and each small mistake will be easier to correct than multiple mistakes involving the whole task.
Teach to the Seven Intelligences Picture yourself being forced to write with your nondominant hand for an extended period of time .Wouldn’t it be a painful experience? Some of your students are experiencing "painful learning" when being taught only in our traditional educational delivery system, which consists of teaching mainly to the verbal/linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences.
Howard Gardner has identified seven modes of intelligence and had recommended that we teach to all seven to help students succeed. Finding the dominant mode of intelligence and switching to strategies that emphasize it helps a student with avoidance-of-failure behavior overcome discouragement. Some examples of teaching strategies and activities to accommodate each of the seven intelligences are:
●Verbal/linguistic: journals, discussions, debates, television, computers, guest speakers, dramatic readings, jokes.
●Logical/mathematical: graphic organizers, outlines, analogies, problem-solving, mnemonics, research, labs, and formulas.
●Body/kinesthetic: role playing, creative movement and dance, field trips, physical exercise. games ,,projects
●Musical/rhythmic: singing, raps, poems, cheers, limericks, choral reading, instruments
●Intrapersonal: reflection, journals, independent assignments, thinking strategies, goal setting.
●Interpersonal: cooperative learning .group projects, interviews.cooperative games, joint storytelling, class meetings.
Periodically integrating activities using the seven intelligences invites more students to work in their learning comfort zone. It exposes them to activities that might pique their and uncover aptitudes in areas previously unexplored.
Strategy 2:Provide Tutoring
Many students who exhibit avoidance-of-failure behavior are caught in a failure chain. They have missed learning some basic academic skills, and this gap in skills makes schoolwork difficult and frustrating. Moreover, these students have lost confidence in trying to close the gap because they see classmates completing assignments with ease. As their confidence slips, so does their motivation, which leads to continued poor performance and more erosion of confidence.
At this point, the students can do little on their own to break the failure chain; Their best hope is tutoring in basic skills, which breaks the chain by erasing the gap, restoring confidence, and encouraging success. Five forms of tutoring are most beneficial for students who fear failure:
●Extra help from teachers
●Commercial learning centers
Strategy3 Encourage Positive Self-Talk
Students with avoidance-of-failure behavior often develop a pattern of negative self-talk. When faced with tasks, they may repeatedly think,"It’s too hard" or "I’ll never get this right "such damaging put-downs can become self-fulfilling prophecies that stifle students’ initiative and motivation. We can help students turn negative internal messages into positive self-talk by using several techniques.
Post positive classroom signs “You can if you think you can!”was the message on the sign posted by Mrs. Jones, my ninth-grade algebra teacher way back when .I read that sign every day, and its positive words gradually began to counter my subconscious belief that I’d never do well in algebra .Little by little, the impact of my own negative self-talk was reduced, and my willingness to persevere with mathematics increased.
Plastering our classroom walls with positive self-talk signs takes little effort. Students can be asked to write -and perhaps illustrate -a number of such signs that can be rotated on a regular basis. Here are some possible for the signs:
●I can do it!
●With a little effort, I’ll succeed.
●I’m smart enough to do good work.
●I can when I tell myself I can.
●I can change how I think and feel.
Require Two "Put-Ups" for Every Put-Down Initiate the rule that for every negative statement students say aloud about themselves, they must counter with two "put-up”, or positive statements. Such a practice not only helps students focus on the way they talk about themselves but also helps transform a negative self-image into a positive one .At first; students may feel little foolish verbalizing good things about themselves. But with time and practice, put-ups usually become just as automatic as put-downs, And when this happens, the fear of failure diminishes.
Encourage Positive Self-Talk Before Tasks The "tape recorder” in students’ head begins playing as soon as an assignment is given. To ensure that the tape played is positive, we can ask students with avoidance-of -failure behavior to say aloud two positive things problems about the task at hand before they set out to tackle it :"I can do these problem with fractions "and "I ’m smart enough to find all the answers."
If students get bogged down during the assignment, we can suggest that they repeat their positive statements under their breath. Students who learn consciously to "replay” the positive tape when they feel threatened by a task will usually achieve success .That success will make it easier to "eject” the negative tape and to insert the positive tape whenever they’re dealing with an assignment
Strategy 4 :Reframe the "I Can’t "Refrain
“I can’t "is a favorite refrain of students who fear failure .When presented with a task that seems the least bit difficult, they quickly give up and give in to this erroneous belief. Psychologists use the term reframing to mean changing perspective, taking a different point of view. We help students reframe their "I cant’s "in a couple of ways.
State Your Belief in Students’ Abilities Disagree with students’ negative statement .Make responses such as :
●"Of course you can .How can I help you?
●"Please repeat after me:’I can’t right now but I ’m willing to learn how.”
●"You have the ability .Now add some effort and your ’I can’t will become ’I can.’’’
Stage an " I Can’t "Funeral The book Chicken Soup for the Soul contains a marvelous description of a funeral conducted by a fourth-grade teacher:
The students are asked to fill a notebook page with ’I can’ts," a list of all the tasks they believe they cannot do .The list s go into a box that is then literally buried in the dirt in the schoolyard, with a headstone and an epitaph that reads "I can’t RIP." In her eulogy, the teacher talks about the surviving siblings,"I will” and "I’m going to right away."
I envision the crypt for "I can’t” like those in New Orleans. Because that city is below sea level, family crypts are built above the ground and can be opened to admit the remains of family members as they pass on .As new "I can’t s "creep into the classroom, they can be quickly buried and placed in the crypt with their “ancestors".
While secondary students might balk at the idea of an actual burial, they could write a play, produce a puppet show, or create a documentary or an ad campaign that illustrates these ideas .They can also take it one step further and present the work to elementary students.
Strategy 5 Teach Procedures for Becoming "Unstuck"
Everyone gets stuck at times, not knowing how to accomplish the task at hand. Teaching students procedures for becoming "unstuck” empowers them to continue working rather than quitting.
Brainstorm Ask-for-Help Gambits A gambit is an opening move, a beginning, a strategy. Some students stay stuck because they don’t know how to begin to ask for help, especially in ways that don’t attract unwanted attention from peers .During a class discussion or meeting, brainstorm with your student’s gambits they can use when help is needed. Do they simply want to raise their hands? Use some other signal? Sign their name on a clipboard kept on your desk?
Use Sequence Charts. Depending upon our subject area, we can identify and chart a sequence of steps students can follow when they don’t understand an assignment .The steps might include such things as rereading the directions, underlining key words, or doing the first two problems. As with the ask-for-help gambits, the more the students are involved in creating these sequence charts, the less afraid they’ll feel when they do get stuck.
Five Additional Intervention Strategies :
Five intervention strategies that are also encouragement strategies useful with all students are especially helpful in working with those who fear failure.
Make Mistakes Okay The fear of making mistakes keeps students stuck in the avoidance-of -failure rut .They interpret every mistake, no matter how small ,as proof that that they can’t do anything right --ever. We can help them learn to accept mistakes as part of the learning process.
Build Confidence. Building confidence means helping students who fear failure realize that success is possible. They need to believe they not only can perform tasks capably but also are successful just being themselves, regardless of their skill level.
Focus on Past Successes. Every students has experienced some success. We may have to dig deep to find examples for students who avoid failure .But by repeatedly reminding these students of past successes , no matter how small, we can build a basis for effort that may lead to major achievements.
Make Learning Tangible. If they can’t see or touch something ,many students think it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, "learning" is something that’s hard to see or touch. For students who need sensory feedback to realize that learning has occurred, we have to make learning as tangible possible.
Recognize Achievement. If students were to receive as much recognition for achievement as they do for failure behavior could be eliminated. Achievement or improvement in any area needs to be acknowledged. When students fearful of failure receive recognition from others, especially from teachers and classmates, they begin to feel capable and to believe that they can successfully connect and contribute.
1.Howard Gardner ,Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (New York: Harper and Row ,1983)
2.Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen ,Chicken Soup for the Soul (Deerfield Beach, FL:Health Communications1993),156-60