Many people in today's society have feelings of failure and disaffection. Taekwondo may help these students cope with their feelings of discouragement and alienation.
Borba (1992) mentions elements necessary to break the cycle of discouragement and give students a sense of achievement and self-worth. Borba makes the point that in every case where a change has been effected, there were significant adult mentors who recognized a special talent and cultivated and strengthened that talent. This is where Taekwondo instructors and other black belts can make a difference in the lives of students
The first of the elements concerns the feeling of security. New Taekwondo students not only need to feel safe from injury, but also safe from negative instruction. Instructors should continuously compliment students and avoid put downs and comparisons to others. Students need to know it is okay to make mistakes and that they will not be singled out (especially when first beginning) as examples.
Another element is a self worth. Taekwondo class is a great place to realize one’s potential and develop a talent to its maximum. Instructors help students develop confidence by giving them a realistic view of their strengths.
An atmosphere conducive to learning is another element. The dojang should be a place students want to be, a place where they feel a part of the class and feel they may contribute. Instructors cultivate sense of belonging in students by helping them set and accomplish realistic goals, which gives them a feeling a accomplishment.
Another element is a feeling of control. When students feel they are not in control of their lives, they tend not to accept responsibility for their actions and feel that their actions are controlled by others. They look outside themselves for direction and encouragement. Taekwondo gives students an opportunity to see the cause and effect of their actions and attitudes and to take responsibility for them.
Borba, M. (1992). Strengthening At-Risk Students’ Achievement and Behavior. Bureau of Education & Research.