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5 Teaching Strategies for Persistence, Stamina

Janelle Cox

An important component in setting up learners to succeed is to use teaching strategies that focus on persistence. Students who have built up their stamina and who have mastered persistence are able to work through challenges and deal with failures better than students that don’t. Persistent students can easily achieve their goals and understand that they may hit some bumps in the road, but are able to get through them. Just as a runner has to build stamina in order to finish a race, children need to learn how to be persistent in order to succeed in school. Athletes take the steps that are necessary for them to reach their final goal; they show up for practice, do whatever it takes to prevent injury, and talk themselves through the tough times. If they don’t do take these steps then they will be unable to meet their goal. Students who do not engage in positive self-talk, and who do not have the stamina to keep going when the times get tough, will have a very hard time in school. Teaching strategies to focus on persistence can help students learn to build up and develop their stamina, so if they ever encounter a tough time in school they will be able to get it over it and move on. Here are five teaching strategies to create a learning environment where students can build their stamina and persistence so they will be able to succeed at anything that they do, in life and in school.

1. Teaching Strategies for Positive Self-Talk

A lot of people have a hard time staying motivated and talking positively to themselves. Instead of telling themselves that “They can do it,” they usually hear a little voice in their head telling themselves that “It’s too hard.” Teaching students to engage in positive self-talk is a great way to teach them persistence and build up their stamina. Practice engaging in conversations where students learn to train their brain to think positive. Have students use works like “I can do this” and “I can get through this.” With enough practice, students will be able to train their brain to think positively instead of negatively next time they come into a tough situation.

2. Model What Persistence Looks Like

How are children supposed to know how to be persistent in their learning if they don’t have anyone modeling it at home? You, as their teacher, can model for students what persistence looks like. Give them specific examples of how you overcame something, and the steps that you took to get through it. Tell them about the time that that your thesis was due in college and how you never thought that you would complete on time. Talk about the specific steps that you took to complete it and hand it in time. Sometimes all students need to hear is that someone else has been through the same situation as them, to know that if they could get through it, so can I.

3. Be Encouraging and Don’t Be Afraid to Push Students

One of the many jobs a teacher has is to be encourage to their students and let them know that they can do anything. By being supportive, you are showing your students that you are on their side, and by giving them guidance you are showing them that they can succeed. Sometimes, all a child needs to hear to help them get through something is a little bit of encouragement like, “Look how far you have come, keep going I know that you can do it,” or “There is light at the end of the tunnel, think about how proud of yourself you will be when you complete this.” These encouraging words can make a world of difference in the eyes of a struggling child.

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Don’t be afraid to give your students a little push either. Oftentimes teachers may be supportive to their students but forget that it’s OK to push their students to get them to go further. As long as you know how far you can push your students, and you don’t take it to a limit that will make a child feel uncomfortable, it’s OK to stretch them to their limit to show them that they can do anything.

4. Utilize Technology

There are many online tools that can help students make the connection between giving a certain amount of effort and achieving a goal. Apps like Class Dojo and Brainpop have a growth mindset reward structure that boost learners’ persistence. Students get to make the connection that with a little persistence, they can achieve their goal. By using these apps and an online tool like Fast Forward, which helps to build learners stamina and gives students’ immediate feedback on their performance, you are helping them develop the tools they need in order to succeed in school and in life.

5. Review and Repeat

Just as you would have your students review and repeat their spelling words, multiplication facts and vocabulary words, students need to learn persistence in the same way. Repetition strategies are the best way to develop stamina and get your students to learn the value of persistence. When consistently repeated over time, using strategies like modeling, connecting effort, and achievement using technology, and using encouragement, students will indeed develop the stamina needed to achieve their goal.

Teaching children perseverance and developing their stamina does not happen overnight, it is a process. Through time, your students will develop the tools that will help them succeed in school and in life. Through positive self-talk, and development of a growth mindset, your students will be capable of making leaps and bounds for an even greater learning experience.

How do you teach persistence and build student stamina? Do you have any tips of suggestions on how to do it? Please share your expertise in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.