Does this sound familiar… I’ve had a few conversations with teachers this week about children in their class who are producing very little or no work. There may be several possible reasons for this behaviour including children being worried about making mistakes and getting things wrong.
If if a child doesn’t actually put anything on the paper then they can’t be told off for getting it wrong or making a mistake. This behaviour can be perceived as being lazy or not bothered. However, it may also due to anxiety. We are only two weeks in to the new school year and children are having to adjust to being back at school, being in a different class and in the majority of cases with a new teacher. For some children managing all this can be incredibly difficult and cause high levels of anxiety. They are still getting to know your expectations and how you respond to certain situations including what will happen if they get something wrong or make a mistake.
If you have a child in your class who appears to be avoiding starting working or is not producing much work it may be useful to acknowledge this by talking to the whole class and saying “We are still getting to know each other and this can feel hard because you may not know what to expect from me. Some children may be worried about what I will do if they get something wrong or make a mistake but everyone makes mistakes and gets things wrong sometimes I make mistakes and have to do things again and but that’s how we learn” .
It can also be helpful to share a story of a mistake you made, how you felt and what you did. This not only provides permission but also models perseverance.
Try this and I’d love to hear how you get on