Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Taking Things Personally

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Taking Things Personally

Article excerpt

Priming the Pump...

"Taking things personally ... is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about 'me. '" - Miguel Angel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

Latino students often become discouraged or disengaged academically because tliey take criticism from a teacher, parent or other adult personally. While some adults might think (or even say) to a wounded teen. "Tough, get over it," there is more to it. Some Latino students will judge a class or subject area by whether or not they perceive the teacher "likes" them or they "like" the teacher. Often, the perception of not being liked comes from the style in which the teacher provides feedback to or interacts with the student. Curt, impersonal, hurried or brief but highly technical statements are experienced as hurtful by many adolescents because developmentally teens view most things in terms of themselves. As a result, objective feedback heard through a self-centered filter ends up being taken as a hurtful barb. Taking criticism to heart, a Latino student might sooner walk away from academics than look inside and process what might be useful feedback.

Latino students would benefit from learning how to take things less personally so that they will stay in the game longer. An adult can help guide the discouraged Hispanic Uu-OUgIi processing the hurt as a first step in gaining a new perspective.

If it appears that the statement was not intended to be taken personally but the student took it as if it were, suggest to the student that he give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Of course, bullies or those who intentionally malign a student don't deserve such a chance, but others who might have unintentionally caused offense might. Ask the student whether the offender is typically harsh. If the student answers no. encourage a wait-and-see stance until he is certain that personal insult was intended. If the student realizes that the offender treats others likewise, he will see that the comment w'as probably not intended as a personal offense after all. If those approaches don't help assuage the hurt, remind the disheartened Latino youth that the offender might not even know him well enough to make a meaningful comment in the first place.

Encourage the Latino teen to consider if something else might be going on with the offender. …

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