Thursday, April 10, 2014

Strategies for Overcoming "Learned Helplessness"

Learned helplessness, or a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, can give students difficulty within the learning environment; especially when it comes to being successful with completing activities on their own.For this reason, it is important that teachers recognize that students have their own voice and give them the opportunity to be powerful by using it (Dell, Newton, Petroff, 2012).

According to Dell, Newton, and Petroff, there are five ways in which an individual can overcome learned helplessness (2012).  They include the following:
  • "Build a daily expectation of communication through specific activities such as choosing the activity during recess, picking a book to read, or identifying where to eat lunch. 
  • Construct a brief daily report to parents that is communicated by the student. 
  • Allow natural consequences to occur and provide avenues for repair.  This includes setups that alter the environment to provide less support or sabotage. 
  • Provide for choice making whenever possible that requires the student to use his or her augmentative communication system. 
  • Provide powerful phrases on the device for students to reject or protest something" (2012).  

I think these tips are great and can help many professionals have a better understanding of how to help their students become more independent, rather than always depending on a peer or an adult for assistance.  


Dell, A.G., Newton, D.A., Petroff, J. G. (2012).  Assistive Technology in the Classroom; Enhancing the School Experiences of Students with Disabilities.  2nd Edition.  

No comments:

Post a Comment