Yesterday I met with a student for a reading assessment, a quick running record and a comprehension check to see if she was moving along in her reading. Before we started the assessment I started the typical conversation I have with a student about reading. This conversation is full of open ended questions related to reading and writing. Typical questions include:
- What book are you reading right now? How long have you been reading it? How long will it take you to finish it?
- What books do you want to read?
- What are you working on in reading, what goals do you have for yourself?
- How are you working toward that goal?
- How long do you read (or how many pages) at school//home?
- What do you like about reading?
- What is hard about reading?
- What do you want to improve in reading?
During this conversation it became clear that this otherwise outspoken, silly firecracker of a girl had an entirely different identity when it came to her reading. Her answers were quiet and lacking any of the energy she has in her interactions with her peers. Right now reading is not an area of confidence for her. This was clear. She answered the questions and had a conversation with me about how her reading level probably went down, she does not like to read and how she does not really read. Overall it was a downer of a conversation, sort of apathetic to the whole reading thing. She was acting as if she did not care, but she reminded me of someone who was lacking a bit of confidence at that moment. She was a bit like Violet from the Incredibles. She was a bit like me at times. She just needed a little push. Regardless of the reason, I was about to assess her and I wanted her affect to be positive toward the reading so I would see her strengths and the areas where we could create her next goals.
I told her about the power pose or super hero pose that I was practicing. I shared with her the research from Amy Cuddy and explained that just by taking 5 minutes in this pose it would improve her performance. Of course this brought her into a silly laugh, but there was the smile. We stood up together and both took on a super hero pose for 5 minutes. I am sure she thinks that I am a crazy loon but that is ok, she smiled, laughed and then we got down to business.
I am sure you could predict the end, she did improve in reading since the last assessment, and while I know it was not just the power pose, I know that gave her the confidence to do her best at that moment. I hope that when she feels a bit under-confident again that she will remember our 5 minutes in the super hero pose and that will be enough to push her in the right direction.