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Utilize an assets-based approach

Provide opportunities for students to feel efficacious and share their strengths and success with you as the instructor and with their peers. This type of assets-based approach can be especially important for students who may suffer from stereotype threat as a result of their personal or social identities. An assets-based approach to teaching can foster resilience among students despite life stressors or challenging circumstances.

In a smaller class setting, this may look like students sharing something they learned during class or something they are interested in learning more about. In larger classes, students could complete an online self-survey midway through the semester where they share how they have been successful in the course to that point. This type of approach provides space for students to focus on learning and mastery of material, rather than competition and performance.

Another evidence-based strategy is to have students write a short reflection or essay that requires them to reflect about an academic challenge they experienced and how they overcame it. This type of assignment could be incorporated early on in the semester and may also assess students’ prior experience or knowledge in the course subject or discipline.