Behavioral Momentum to Build Confidence

  • Situation

    It seems that “I can’t” or “It’s too hard” is all my student can say when asked to do an assignment. He gets so anxious, that he won’t even try.

  • Summary

    Give him work that gradually builds in difficulty. Begin with problems or questions that you know will be easy for the student to answer. As his confidence builds, begin giving gradually more difficult questions.

  • Definition

    Behavior Momentum is a strategy designed to to build a student’s “momentum” for following directions. Asking a series of easier questions or problems before asking the more difficult questions so that the student feels more confident and less anxious.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    Ability to answer easier questions

  • Process

    1. Design worksheets or assignments that begin with 2-4 questions that are easy for the student to answer.

    2. Then, include some questions that are new or more difficult for the student. For example, if you are teaching two digit addition without regrouping, begin the student’s assignment with a few one digit problems. Sometimes just getting the work started is what is difficult for a student.

    3. Once he/she gets started, and feels more confident, it becomes less stressful to try the new concepts or problems.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Intervention Central (link to article on behavioral momentum)



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