Pleasant Ridge Students Show the Power of Positive Self-Talk

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 03/02/2019 - 17:18
Pleasant Ridge students Max Huff, Gavin Bast and Leia Heddle demonstrate positive self-talk at the Saline Area Schools Board of Education meeting.

There's a growing trend in the world of psychology called "positive self-talk."

Self-talk refers to both our inner monologue and the way we talk out loud to ourselves when we're isolated from others, and there's a great deal of research showing that being kind to oneself while self-talking can positively change one’s mood, frame of mind, and, ultimately, attitude.



Peter Campbell, a second grade teacher at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, came before the Saline Area Schools Board of Education with a small cadre of very enthusiastic children who are exemplary positive self-talkers thanks to their involvement in Hive Self-Talk.

Leia Heddle, Max Huff, and Gavin Bast stood at the podium with Campbell and recited the following chant while punctuating its various aspects with energetic and enthusiastic gesticulations that could have been used to mime the words of it at any given point.

In this room, we are tenacious about learning.
We make the most of every moment.
We are powerful and strong.
We put others above ourselves.
We don’t give excuses.
When things get tough, we get tougher.
We take ownership, accept the results, and get things done.
We improve each day.
We are organized, on-time, and prepared.
We think before we speak and choose our words carefully.
We stay committed to each other and our goals.
We grow by learning from our failures.
We do the right thing no matter what.
We are flexible and willing to do things differently.
Our choices keep us balanced.
And don’t ever forget, in here, in this classroom, we are a TEAM!

The adults in the room lit up with smiles. They clapped and laughed as Leia led the chant while the boys responded with powerful repetitious responses. Those in attendance had been infected with the influence of positive self-talk. The board room was immersed in positive atmosphere.

Campbell explained the concept in action as what makes the sports concept of "home-team advantage" possible.

"There are often traditions and chants and things that the fans and their student sections do ... it all adds up to creating a culture there where they're more confident at home, which leads to more victories," he said, after referring to U of M basketball's recent 22-game home winning streak (which sadly also recently came to an end ... nothing lasts forever).

Campbell has been a teacher for eight years and says he's employed positive self-talk in his classrooms the entire time.

"In that five minutes a day that we spend, there's a lot of things going on in that self talk that it does for the culture and the environment in our classroom," Campbell explained, including providing a social and emotional outlet for the children and setting the tone for the entire day.

Campbell said he uses the concept at home and knows of many students who carry the practice out of his classroom and into other areas of their lives.

All of Campbell's students get a physical copy of the Hive Self-Talk chant to take home at the end of the school year. He gets contacted by former students as they grow older on a regular basis tell him that they're hooked.

"Students were saying these statements and using the language at home -- that's what it is really all about-- giving them the language to have conversations about how to do life," Campbell said.


Sean Dalton's picture
Sean Dalton
Sean Dalton is a veteran of the Washtenaw County journalism scene. He co-founded and and also worked for Heritage Newspapers.