The benefits of using affirmative language with children

I recently saw a year 3 class being led down the stairs and into the hall by their class teacher who said “Don’t jump off the bottom step “. Every child in the class then proceeded to jump off the bottom step, she had given them an idea, I don’t imagine every child had thought of doing this before it was mentioned. It is essential that we focus on and comment on the behaviour we would like to see in children, rather than remind them of the behaviour we don’t want.
A child who has poor self regulation and impulse control can find it extremely difficult to change their behaviour and not do things. For example, if at home a child has to interrupt other people and talk over them to be heard then it can be difficult not to act in the same way at school. A Year 5 class teacher recently used the phrase “whose being rude” as a way of managing a classroom situation. The child went red and looked ashamed. He could have said “remember we all need to listen to each other.” This different approach that would not have targeted and shamed the child could have been and could have achieved the same result in a less direct way.

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