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A Quick Activity to Boost Confidence & Well-Being: Inner Troll Vs. Inner Angel

June 2, 2022

English language teaching is about equipping learners with skills and confidence to succeed. As teachers, we have the opportunity to support our learners to feel invincible when they leave the classroom.

I’d like to share a quick and simple well-being activity I use with my learners called "Inner Troll Vs. Inner Angel."

It focuses on quieting their inner troll and giving their inner angel a louder voice. 

The inner troll is the part of the brain that wants to protect you from embarrassment or failure. It exacerbates self-limiting beliefs by using negative language such as: 

  • You can’t do that. 
  • You’re not good enough. 
  • You’ll never be able to do that. 

The inner angel is your inner troll’s friendly and encouraging alter ego. It wants you to succeed in life and to try, even if something is difficult. It isn’t worried about failure or embarrassment. It uses positive affirmations which give confidence such as: 

  • You can do it. 
  • You are good enough. 
  • You’ll get better in time.  

Many people battle with their inner troll. Learning how to switch negative thoughts to positive affirmations can have a life-changing effect on success. 

Inner Troll Vs. Inner Angel: How it works

Drawing of frowning inner troll with an empty thought bubble and smiling inner angel with an empty through bubble.

Use the Inner Troll Vs. Inner Angel activity to help your students develop a growth mindset through writing positive affirmations and learning how to silence their inner troll.

Here's how it works:

  1. Draw an inner troll and an inner angel on the whiteboard. Add thought bubbles over each head. 
  2. Give students a piece of paper. Ask them to draw their inner troll and a speech bubble. Then ask them to write some of the things their inner troll tells them. Let your students know this is confidential and not to look at other students’ papers. Give them some examples (perhaps your own) if necessary. 
  3. Give students another piece of paper. Ask them to draw their inner angel. Then ask them to write some of the things their inner angel tells them. Again, ensure students know this is confidential. Give them examples if necessary. Some students may find this section difficult. Ask them to think about the nice things their friends and family say to them. It can help to think of their inner angel as a good friend. If the class knows each other well and has a good rapport, you could ask students to give each other compliments, and help each other with this part of the task. 
  4. This is fun the part! Once students have completed their inner angel, ask them to pick up their inner troll once more. As dramatically as possible, ask students to tear the piece of paper with their inner troll into tiny little pieces, or scrunch it up and throw it in the bin.
  5. Ask them to look once more at their inner angel. Discuss ways they can try to focus on the positive affirmations. Suggest that students keep it close to them or display it somewhere they can see it, so they can easily remind themselves when their inner troll gets loud. 
Share your thoughts

Have you tried this well-being activity with your class? How did it go? If you have any other activity ideas that promote confidence and well-being in the classroom, we'd love to hear them! Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

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