I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Why Do I Have To Learn This? How To Help Your Students Become More Open Minded

If you are an open-minded person chances are you do not mind being corrected by others. You embrace it and look forward to learning from their experience. However, it is difficult to be open-minded all the time.

This is because of automatic negative thoughts all of us experience. Automatic Negative Thoughts or ANTs are an evolutionary remnant from the time when humans were inferior creatures dominated in their environment by other, bigger predators. The ancient fact we were once food manifests itself in present-day situations as self-doubt, lack of confidence, and fear, and results in our brain's tendency to stay safe and resist change.

This is why we don't like being corrected about things we thought we were right about. That would involve changing beliefs. Can you think of a time when someone enlightened you in this way? For years you thought you knew only to find out you were wrong all along. How did you feel?

ANTs, especially when we're not aware of them, can lead to close-mindedness. As teachers, we see this in our students all the time. If a student believes one thing, she will resist believing otherwise despite the hard facts she might be facing. Another example of this is evidenced by questions such as Why do I have to learn this? While in some cases such a question is asked in earnest, in others it's a direct result of ANTs associated with the subject. 

And while you can't make your students like you, the subject you teach, or the topics you talk about, you can help them understand their Automatic Negative Thoughts. In fact, you can do more than that. You can teach them to kill ANTs by using what I call the FAR approach. You can help your students Find, Accept, and Reframe their ANTs, so they can be more successful in school and life.

The infographic below will show you how. 

Help students become more open minded

Awareness and action bring success. You can use the infographic to help students understand where their negative thoughts come from and how they can replace them with growth-oriented thoughts; ones that help them view obstacles as opportunities.

Kill ANTs. Go FAR. 

You have the power to change lives. Use it often.

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