- Using positive language in the classroom can help create a supportive classroom community that learns and grows together, teacher Alyssa Nucaro writes for Edutopia.
- Teachers should strive to use communication that encourages and empowers students and guides them to achieving their goals and making constructive choices.
- Teachers can model positive communication by conveying faith in student abilities, practicing positive vocabulary, choosing words wisely, being honest and direct, and avoiding “don’t” statements.
As Mary Poppins once said, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” The same is true in education. Though dealing with students daily may be frustrating is some cases, when teachers respond with bitterness and anger, the situation usually escalates in the wrong direction.
Responding negatively is a natural human response and one that teachers must be encouraged to overcome in the classroom. Negative responses and harsh treatment in the classroom can lead to negative self-perceptions in students which can, in turn influence student behavior. Such treatment can also affect the school-to-prison pipeline and can create mistrust, especially among minority students.
There are times where stern words need to be spoken. But, generally, students respond better to positive communication. This approach edifies students rather than tearing them down and improves their perception of themselves and their school environment, which, in turn, should improve student behavior and academic outcomes. Treating students with respect and politeness at least increases the odds that they will respond in kind.