Teachers’ Tools- Fostering Acceptance Among Students
Teachers need a full toolbox to carry out all their assigned duties and their many roles. This page is designed to help fill those boxes. These are suggestions to try in your own classrooms or use them as a starting point to brainstorm your own ideas as you know your students and classroom dynamics best.
The greatest factor affecting the mental health well-being of students is their own perceptions of acceptance and belonging. Thus, suicide prevention starts with improving these perceptions. This takes brainstorming of ideas as perceptions are based in factors unique to each individual. The discovery of the one that will be the most effective in influencing these perceptions in any given student is usually a matter of trial and error. Following is a list of suggestions.
1.Find ways for other students to see the value of the outcast student such as openly praising their work in front of the student’s peers.
2. Recognizing hidden talents and promoting ways for others to notice those same talents.
3.Communicating your concerns with other teachers to get their corporation to recognize and promote the same positive traits, characteristics, and talents for a greater impact on their perception of self-worth.
4. Promoting ways for the student to shine non academically and show-off their talents in front of their peers may help to increase their acceptance by peers. However care must be taken to ensure that this something the student is comfortable with doing and that they aren’t feeling forced to do. The goal is to improve mental health well-being and the opposite effect happens if a student is forced into some sort of performance.
5. Pointing out their positive attributes to them and using that to help with self -discovery may help them come to understanding of their new place in the world.
6. Some students may benefit from teachers focusing on their positive attributes that are located among their negative ones. Creativity, uniqueness, and originality is easily disguised as being weird and different. The extreme of which is defiance and going against the norms of society.
7. Children with EBD are particularly surround in negativism towards their behaviors that are then associated with them as a person. Dissociate these behaviors from the person and help other teachers, students, and staff to do the same.
8. Try finding positive outlets for negative behaviors which is often through redirection. An example of this is if there is a problem with accepting authority and following the rules, teaching them to fight for something instead of fighting against authority and rules may help.
9. Try reminding them of particular desires or privileges they want anytime they are showing signs of being non-compliant and remind them that have to fight against that urge and fight for their privileges.
10. Try keeping an atmosphere of positivity in the classroom that promotes acceptance and belonging through the décor and classroom arrangement.
11. Pass out a sheet of paper with the name of every student on it with space between each name to allow students to write something positive about each of their classmates. Collect these and composite every student’s response for each separate student onto its own page. Then hand back each student their own page of positive peer responses to read and keep. This will also help peers to see and think about each student in a positive light that is the start to changing attitudes leading to acceptance.
Distortions in the perception of acceptance is just as dangerous as not being accepted. Accepted students with perceived distortions believe that they have to behave and act a certain way to be accepted by their peers. These students don’t believe they are accepted for who they truly are and this creates an inner struggle.
Likewise, some students may not actually be accepted by their as they are constantly teased and such. However, the student perceives both negative and positive attention as being good and they have a self-perception as being accepted. This makes number 12 the most important tool.
12. Take the time to get to know your students, and don’t be scared to get involved. Teachers make all the difference in the lives of children; make the choice to want to be a positive influence for your students, and that is a choice you must make everyday.