Think about yourself, the more confident you feel, the better you feel about the task at hand and your ability to do it. When a child is feeling good about themselves, it's much easier to motivate them to become more confident learners in the classroom.
We use many different types of assessment throughout a child's school life to gauge where they are now and what the next learning steps will be. Although this offers an important insight into progress, occasionally, something as simple as getting a child to draw their feelings provides a whole host of starting points from which to tackle the very important issue of their self esteem.
When this picture was explained to me the child concerned said that "my learning feels like a huge tidal wave coming after me, my feet are tied to the ground and I can't get away. There is always a big black cloud above me that follows me around"
The positive images are the child surfing the tidal wave in the sunshine as they feel that sport is something they are on top of that makes them feel good about themselves. The person on the cloud represents the extra support that they get from their teachers to help overcome the difficulties.
In this drawing the child has represented feelings of frustration about writing with a figure sat with its back to us surrounded by sharp red lines. Below this is an image of a person with steam pouring from its ears (an image that was repeated many times in different students pictures)
Reading and sport are something that this child felt in control of and so are surrounded with curved blue lines. Drawing seems to be a strength too!
This picture depicts how a student feels when everything seems to be against them. "Things go in one ear and come out all muddled up. When I don't understand I get really angry. I don't know how to stop being angry and things get worse"
Here we see the steam coming out of the ears again and very angry and worried expressions on the faces drawn. The images of a knife through a heart and a tiny figure holding a huge gun represents how this student feels about being asked to do things that they don't want to do. When we spoke about this it was really focussed on writing. The green field represents sport and the rainbow and sunshine how this student feels about their reading. Again, here are our starting points to begin to raising self esteem. If we can get the student feeling even more positive in these areas we are then much better placed to move on and tackle those problematic issues around learning.
Before we can begin to deal with any issues around learning, raising self esteem must come first...