Building Self-Esteem in Students with Learning Differences

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

By Guest Blogger Jennifer Aceves, Head of Upper Division, Noble Academy

Confidence...self worth...resilience...self-esteem...these characteristics are all related and inseparable from each other, and they are all traits that we want our children to possess. Of course we want our children to get up when they fall down, to hold their head up high, to not be afraid of making mistakes, to shoot for the stars, to feel good about themselves, and to believe in their future. What factors play a role in a child’s self-esteem? There are a multitude, way too many to mention in this blog post. However, one of the first that comes to mind is success in school. Kids spend around a third of their week in school or doing schoolwork. While most kids are extremely resilient by nature, imagine how hard it is to continue to feel good about yourself if day after day you are faced with what seems like one insurmountable task after another? Research has shown that children with learning disabilities are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem due to their daily struggles with academics, organization, and social skills.

Noble Academy provides a safe, supportive, nurturing environment that can make a big impact in the self-esteem of students with learning differences and AD/HD. While the small class sizes, individualization, and instructional methods lead students to experience more academic success than they are able to attain in a traditional educational environment, we employ other strategies that impact the self-esteem of our students. Dr. Robert Brooks, a well-known expert on motivation and resilience, explains many such strategies in his book The Self-Esteem Teacher, such as emphasizing a child’s strengths, offering encouragement and positive feedback, and helping children deal with their mistakes.

At Noble Academy, students are encouraged to develop their strengths. Whether it be reading to a younger child, tutoring a peer, helping a teacher with technology, performing in a state drama competition, or playing flag football, Noble Academy offers students a wide variety of options for finding and developing their non-academic strengths, to give them more confidence to tackle more difficult skills.

Noble Academy understands that children learn differently and therefore, instruction doesn’t look the same for each student. Our teachers are trained in a variety of teaching methods and strategies and are the first step in creating a positive classroom environment for every student. They provide lots of encouragement and positive feedback to students, whether they are working on a strength or a weakness. Teachers not only model positive feedback themselves, but they also expect students to encourage each other. Students at Noble Academy recognize that each student has a different set of strengths and weaknesses and provide lots of support and encouragement for each other to strive towards and reach their unique educational goals.

Remember when you first learned how to ride a bike? How many times did you fall off? Without experiencing falls, you wouldn’t have learned how to balance. It is a fact of life that mistakes are part of the learning process, but some children do not feel like school is a safe place to make mistakes. At Noble Academy, we cultivate an environment where our students are able to take risks in their learning. They are taught that mistakes are ok, that everyone makes mistakes when they are learning something new. Take a peek into a Noble Academy classroom and you will see students who are confident enough to raise their hand or come up to the board to answer a question even if they’re not quite sure they have the right answer. You’ll see students and teachers encouraging each other in the pursuit of knowledge.

Are you interested in learning more about Noble Academy in person to find out the difference we can make in your child’s self esteem? Join us on Sunday, February 10 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm for our spring Open House. Or you can stop by any Thursday morning from 9:30 - 11:00 am for our Drop-in Open House. You’ll receive a tour of the school and have all your questions answered.

Do you think private school is financially out of your reach? Did you know that there are resources out there for children with disabilities including tax write-offs and a recently enacted tax credit? The Parents for Education Freedom in NC group will be speaking at the Triad LDA Meeting tonight. Their topic is the Special Needs Tax Credit (which they were instrumental in getting passed) and other financial resources for students with disabilities. Come on out to Noble Academy tonight at 7:00 pm, or join us at 6:30 to mingle with other parents of students with learning differences before the meeting.

Sponsored by Noble Academy
Comments
Jenn commented on 05-Feb-2013 12:56 PM
This is great - thank you!

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