This is a strategy to use when a student is becoming stressed and anxious because of a difficult task that you think the student can complete with some support, and the student is verbally complaining that the task is too hard or that he or she cannot do it. The teacher briefly acknowledges the student’s feelings before supporting him or her in the task, saying for example, “Yes, this is a difficult problem. Let’s start with number one.” Acknowledge that the task is hard for the student and then focus his or her attention on how to begin the task. Providing support with more challenging assisgnments can de-escalate a student’s work anxiety and help the student get started calmly.
When I give my student any challenging or new work, he gets very anxious and starts saying, “it’s too hard.” When I try to tell him it’s not that hard and that he can do it, he only gets more anxious and insistent that it is impossible and sometimes starts having behavior problems.