Another way to create a safe environment is to motivate children from the inside rather than the outside. Pitting students against one another is never a good motivator. Grades motivate students from the outside and although they may be necessary to quantify a student’s ranking, they will never go the distance and they will never create a love of learning.
Instead of encouraging competition with one another, encourage competition with the Self. Encourage students to be the best that they can be and support them to keep stretching and growing. Teach them that:
- They have the ability to create their world by the choices that they make and that the only thing worse than making lots of mistakes is doing nothing at all.
- Only they know what makes them tick and to trust that inner voice. When you teach children to be self-referring, rather than other-referring, what this means is that, they determine their sense of self-worth rather than letting it be determined by others. This allows them to be self-accepting, that is, they accept their failures and successes as part of the process and just keep moving along. In a very organic way, they have a natural love of learning and are open to what you have to share with them.