I’m linking up today with The Teaching Tribune where teachers are offering up their best bit of teaching advice.  Here’s mine:

I first heard this at a training a few years ago and it really made me stop and think.  Of course we have to offer corrections, redirection, and constructive criticism to our students.  But the atmosphere in our classrooms can get negative quickly if our corrections sound like this:

“Sara!  What did I just say to the class about glue?!?  I can’t believe you just got your entire desk sticky!  This is going to take us forever to clean up!  Go get some wet paper towels!”

and our praise sounds like this:

“Good job.”

Attention-seeking students eventually discover that they get more of a reaction for negative behavior than for positive behavior…and that spells disaster for you!

I found that some corrections or redirection can come in the form of a look or a whisper.  These are quick and they don’t draw extra attention to the offending student.

Don’t dish out praise that isn’t genuine, but when possible, be specific about what the child is doing well, point it out to others, and deliver it with an enthusiastic tone.

“Wow, Alex!  Thanks for remembering that we only needed a small drop of glue.  I can tell you were really listening to directions!”

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Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun is a former teacher with 8 years of experience in the classroom and a master's degree in early childhood education. She designs engaging, organized classroom resources for 1st-3rd grade teachers.