eNews - December 9, 2015

student study

“Don’t Run!” “Don’t Hit”, “Stop Talking!” “No Yelling!”… is this you? Some days it is difficult to keep things positive, especially when students are having a ‘bad day’. However, by having a more positive approach in the way we speak to children, we can help to increase positive communication by offering empathy and support when redirecting the negative behaviors we see.

Positive thoughts and expectations are very powerful and extremely influential and create more positive experiences for everyone involved. Whereas negative thoughts and words create negative influences on future behaviors and lead to more negative actions. Whether we realize it or not, the way we think about an event or circumstance before it happens can actually influence the outcome. We all want to help students to feel that they are capable and successful by the words we choose. Awareness is the key in order to change the way we speak. Odds are if we are correcting the same behavior over and over again, it may be a pattern of the way we correct students and give corrective feedback that changes future behaviors.

Here are three steps to becoming more positive in our redirections:

  1. Recognize our negative talk. It can be hard to realize our negative talk when we are in the midst of correcting student’s behavior. We need time to think about the statements we regularly use in order to change it to a positive reframe.
  2. Change our words from negative to positive. Catching the words we choose when speaking to students can help focus on the positive behaviors we want to see as opposed to what we don’t want to see. Try to reframe the directive with what you want students to be doing.
  3. Practice reframing the directions we give. We need to plan and practice the directions we give to students. Instead of saying, “Don’t stand on the chair or get off your chair”, we could say, “All six feet on the floor or show me how to sit in your chair safely”.

When responding to negative behaviors are we reacting or responding? We should respond to our students behavior choices versus reacting to their behavior. When we react, we skip the reasoning stage and do or say what comes naturally in the moment. Reacting causes more problems and builds frustration in the classroom, where responding uses reason to find a solution and take the appropriate measures with giving appropriate corrective feedback.

The more positive reinforcement and praise a child receives, the better behavior they have! We are not able to change what we are not aware of, so be a positive spark that motivates others by changing negative phrases into the positive change we want to see.To print a simple handout for teachers and parents on reframing our negative phrases into clear statements of what we expect children to do, click here.