Do you ever give yourself a challenge? Last year I wrote about how I tried a “don’t say don’t challege.” It’s hard isn’t it? While I’m teaching my wheels are turning, my first instinct is to say “don’t talk” or “no, no, no.” But my wheels are turning to put on a positive spin. Believe it or not littles respond better to positive words. So the challenge is to turn everything you say positive, even when you are disciplining. Gah! It sounds easier than it looks.
A reader wrote in a few weeks ago asking about this. I told her I would write another post about it because I’m pretty sure every teacher is looking for “positive spin” ideas, and frankly we just can’t get sick of talking about challenging ourselves. Here’s what my dear reader wrote:
I’m a preschool ballet & creative movement educator who needs a hand. I was wondering if you could do a post on things to say to little ones to encourage good behavior. Sometimes I feel as though I’m saying ‘no, don’t touch that’ or ‘no running’, etc and feel a bit like a broken record. Often I use tried and true phrases with them that work well, but it’s always nice to try and hear fresh, new ones from other teachers.
Here are some ideas:
“Look what’s happening here!”
“I love the way…”
“Ellie! Join us, I know you are so good at this jump we are doing.”
“Instead of running, show me your chasse or skip.”
“I miss you way over there!”
“Good listeners are chosen to be leaders of the line.”
“I wonder if…”
“Instead let’s try…”
“I know you can…”
“I see you need some help…”
“Show me how you put that into your body.”
“What do you think might happen if we keep running in circles.”
“The more time we take discussing the directions, the less time we have to dance!”
“Thank you (name), Thank you (name) for sitting and waiting your turn.”
“Time to take a break.”
“You can’t possibly be listening, if you are talking”
“When I turn around, I wonder if you can all be frozen(or something else).”
“What can we do to make it more fun?”
I find asking them questions are really great too. It gets them thinking.
Other things I try:
Ignore: If it’s behavior that you see week after week, I gather that it’s more for attention then anything. Unless they are unsafe, I ignore the behavior. It takes a few classes for them to realize that you aren’t going to give them the attention that they are looking for. It’s really hard to do! Even harder than saying positive things for sure. I realize this only works in some situations and for certain teachers. It might not be for you, but you won’t know until you try it.
Whisper: A few weeks ago, no joke, I whispered for an entire half of a class. I couldn’t hear myself think, so instead of saying shhhhhh a thousand times, I just whispered. I sang in a whisper, I called names in a whisper. I don’t think this would work every week, but for shock factor it works! If it’s one of those days, try it! 🙂
What else? Do you have other sayings or tools you use for a positive spin? Me + the dear reader who wrote me would love to hear!