Eckart Tolle once wrote “Accept then act. Whatever the present moment contains accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. This will miraculously transform your whole life” Today students are faced with many barriers that can impact their learning environment. Some barriers a student can face are physical, cognitive, emotional, social and behavioural.
Teaching learners’ acceptance starts with learners accepting themselves and their flaws and different abilities. A learner who builds good self-esteem and has a positive outlook on life can overcome any barrier that comes their way. Learners must avoid resisting the help from parents, teachers or other professionals that might hinder the accepting process. Communication plays an important role for a learner. A learner must communicate with all role players involved to ensure the best possible plan is in place for optimal learning to take place. Some ideas on how to have this ‘talk’ can be, making a list of strengths and areas of concerns ‘weaknesses’, making a motivational board to have in their bedrooms with set goals, dreams and things they love and are good at. Like Dr Seuss once said “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”
Parents should never blame themselves for the barriers that their child will encounter. In today’s world social media can make parents feel like failures as they scroll and view other families but, need to remember that people only post the good and never the bad. Parents should never compare their families with others. They should provide support and guidance and have a positive outlook as the road ahead will seem less long and daunting. Ways parents can build confidence with their child is by giving them responsibilities to do around the house. Always praise their attempts or effort. Depending on the situation parents must let their child solve the problem and not step in and “rescue” them all the time. Parents are encouraged to accept or be open minded on any advice or recommendations that is offered to them from teachers or outside professionals. When parents have all information and options they can then decide the best course of action however, including their child in the decision making process will benefit both the parent and the child.
In the classroom teachers are encouraged to accept all learners and help learners deal with the barriers that challenge them. Teachers should begin the school year with changing the learners’ mind-set around what is “normal” and have an open discussion about the different barriers that the learners are experiencing. By doing this teachers can address any stereotypes and encourage sensitivity and build social acceptance. Encourage the other learners in the class to be more welcoming and accepting of what is going on around them. Reward children for the small things.
Learners must learn to openly communicate how they are feeling so to understand their uniqueness and the different strengths’ and weaknesses they have. This discussion need not be a negative view but rather a way to express how they can achieve and accept who they are and what they can do to better themselves. Teachers must teach in a more holistic way, remembering to include all the different learners in their classes. By challenging learners and creating opportunities that encourage them to think ‘outside of the box’ teachers allow learners to become more independent and confident in what they do. Teaching learners to have ‘GRIT’, which means, Goals, Resilience, Integrity and Tenacity will result in a successful learning and teaching environment.
Sharon E Rainey wrote “Acceptance doesn’t mean that life gets better it just means that my way of living life on life’s terms improves.” If we start in the community around us showing acceptance and understanding towards all individuals this will have a ripple effect and branch out and become global thus creating a better world for all.
By Kirsten Mans and Ann Marie Korb, Teachers at Pinnacle College Rynfiled