While I was teaching, I noticed that nine to twelve year old students did not ask for help very often. I always ended lessons by saying “Ask for help if you need it.” While writing the Scratchboard lesson for my website I ended the presentation by spontaneously typing “Ask for advice if you need it.” It immediately felt more affirming for the learner. The word advice replaced the word help. Asking for help implies that the teacher will know what to do. Asking for advice implies that the teacher and student can together explore possible options about what to do. Most importantly, it implies that the finial decision is under the control of the student.
It next occurred to me that there surely must be even more ways to verbally bolster self esteem and dissolve creative blocks when they occur. For now “Ask for advice if you need it” is a definite improvement.