MM 3.5 Micro-Affirmations: Technical College System of GA

Topic Progress:

Micro-affirmations are micromessages we send that validate and recognize other people in positive and supportive ways. Micro-affirmations are not the same as compliments.

2 female and 1 male college student smiling and working on a robot together

Photo Credit: Hoodr [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A cumulative pattern of subtle, affirmation messages can encourage and improve performance (Rowe, 2008). These subtle messages can build up and have a huge impact, such as encouraging career identity development and expressing higher expectations for students.

Research shows that micro-affirmations work in any environment, but they require attention to what we say and do and also the behavior and words of others. Although the use of micro-affirmations appears easy, practice is critical to address the wide diversity in classes to ensure that students are engaged and welcomed.

Micro-affirmations have many positive impacts on girls in nontraditional courses. As a result of micro-affirmations girls demonstrate:

  • Increased willingness to take risks.
  • Enhanced creativity and innovation.
  • Increased levels of engagement in complex tasks and open-ended thinking.
  • Improved caring about learning.
  • Increased interest in nontraditional fields and development of self-efficacy.

Stop-Think-Write: Micro-affirmations

Here are some examples of effective micro-affirmations. What messages do they send?

  • Creating teams and rotating position responsibilities to develop skills, providing everyone an opportunity to learn.
  • Following every question to each student with a follow-up question.
  • Introducing examples of professionals from diverse gender, ability, and racial backgrounds.
  • Providing positive feedback before providing a critique to improve learning.