Visualization and Positive Storytelling
Many students have a goal of being an athlete when they grow up and most athletes today use visualization to some extent to improve performance. As educators we can use this interest to help them develop good habits that will serve them well both in sports and academics. Some questions you might ask are, “As you watch the performance of great athletes, do you wonder how they achieved such high goals? Was it all practice and persistence? Or was mindset and visualization an important part as well? What if we applied some of the same mindset practices to the classroom?”
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, dissects the athletic performance of Michael Phelps. One of his most significant habits is the role of visualization or positive storytelling. Each morning before he gets out of bed, Michael Phelps replays a tape in his head of winning the perfect race. He imagines every detail from start to finish, the feel of the water against his skin, his body executing the perfect stroke, touching the wall in a victorious finish. Again before going to sleep at night, Michael Phelps retells the story of a great race in his mind. When asked what winning felt like after a real race, he responds that it felt natural, just as he imagined it. Positive storytelling sets the stage for the real thing. Here’s how you can use visualization in the classroom:
How to use positive storytelling
As educators, we can use the same imagery or visualization to plan and create the best school day. I’ve written in previous posts about setting an intention for our day. What if we went beyond intention and using Phelps’s example, we created a positive story for the day and shared it each morning with our students? It might go something like this:
Good Morning students, it’s a great day at XYZ school. Sit up straight but relaxed, close your eyes and let me tell you what today has in store. We will begin with a math lesson and I want you to take a minute and imagine yourself focused and engaged in learning about decimals. You are going to be great at this. Next is PE and I want you to see yourself…(create your own script here) Finally I want you to know that you are capable of great things, and you are someone with great value. Find someone today to lift up with a random act of kindness. Open your heart and your mind to the opportunities ahead in this day. Open your eyes and let’s get started.
Once you have modeled this positive story telling technique with students, you can ask students to write or draw their own story for a positive day. Then begin the day with a few moments of quiet reflection where they close their eyes and imagine their own positive story. Not only will you be teaching students how to plan for the day ahead, but you will be teaching them a mindset skill that will serve them in the future. Positive storytelling is a powerful habit that can transform students’ lives, one day at a time.
Are You Growing Young Leaders? Let’s teach cooperation…
Wyatt wants to play Frisbee. Max want to build a fort and Callie wants to have tea party. How do the three friends reconcile their differences? Can it be done? When Wyatt doesn’t get his way, Max’s mother suggests he be the Superhero for the day. Join Wyatt as he learns how the magic of cooperation and compromise can bring the five friends closer together.
Feeling left out? Need help getting along with friends? Wyatt the Wonder Dog books weave important life skills into engaging story telling. Join Wyatt as he learns how to be the superhero in his group of friends by using cooperation and compromise.
~MaryFrances Gonzalez MACCC-SLP