13 Rules for Effective Communication in the Classroom #1 - “NEVER” and “ALWAYS”

http://createdforlearning.blogspot.com/2014/08/13-rules-for-effective-communication.html

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey calls communication the single most important skill in life. Crucial for family, parenting, friendships, work, school, and all other areas. In this blog series, we'll be looking at the 13 Rules for Effective Communication in the Classroom and trying to learn how to better work with our students and keep them on our team throughout the school year.

These rules are adapted with permission from Roger and Becky Tirabassi's premarital workbook for seriously dating and engaged couples - The Seriously Dating or Engaged Workbook. Roger and Becky have also co-authored a book for married couples called Little Changes Big Results for Crazy, Busy Couples. The principles in these books have changed so many areas of our life. We highly recommend them.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. We hope you'll tell us your stories and thoughts about each rule because we teachers are all in this together!

http://createdforlearning.blogspot.com/2014/08/13-rules-for-effective-communication-1.htmlUsing words like always, never, nothing, and every can provoke a defensive battle that sidetrack you and your students from the real issue at hand.
When they’re pissing us off challenging our classroom management skills, we may say things like:
“You’re always whispering when I’m teaching.”
“You never turn in your homework on time.”
“You’re always wasting class time.”
Whatever the situation or the emotional temperature of the classroom, here’s the nugget . . . when we use absolutes, we put our students on the defensive, and *BOOM* we’re no longer on the same team. They immediately stop listening to what we’re frustrated about. Instead, they focus on the ONE TIME they turned in their homework on time or the ONE TIME they listened to your teaching and raised their hand to ask a good question or THAT TIME LAST WEEK when they shot a paper wad at the trash can, missed, but still responsibly snatched it up and slam-dunked it. When we use “always” or “never,” we unintentionally sabotage our message by distracting them from the real issue.
The key is to focus on this time, this issue, this instance.

  • “You forgot to write your name on your paper” (resist the urge to say, ‘like always’ or ‘Guess who forgot…’).
  • “You were working too slowly because you were talking too much” (resist the urge to say, ‘surprise, surprise’).
  • “You didn’t follow instructions” (resist the urge to say whatever sarcastic phrase you tend to say to THAT student).

Because we want to say the statement that is ACTUALLY true. “NEVER” and “ALWAYS” and sarcastic phrases are exaggerations, which provoke our students to varying levels of defensive frustration and wrath toward us. No wonder we get disrespectful responses from some of our precious gems.
Take a moment to consider the opposite situation when your student uses an “always” or “never” phrase about you.

  • “You always get me in trouble.”
  • “You never mark her off for turning in late work.”
  • “You never let us do anything fun. The class next door is always watching videos.”

If you’re like us, each “always” and “never” immediately triggers something emotional in us, something that hurts. It might send our mind racing to prove we’re right, that we’re a good teacher. They’ve challenged our integrity, skill, and pride…all with one word.
So what if we taught ourselves and our students the power of these words and worked to remove them from our vocabulary. Unless of course we’re saying how the student is always on task or always smiling or never breaking the rules. Always and never are just as powerful in the positive. 
We want to make an impact — immediate and lasting. It’s likely one of the reasons you became a teacher in the first place. It’s hard enough to dig down and find the heart of a student, but following this 1st Rule of Effective Communication will remove a reason for them to make us the issue and return the focus to where it should be — their hearts and minds.



 

Check out the other rules >>>



These rules are adapted with permission from Roger and Becky Tirabassi's premarital workbook for seriously dating and engaged couples - The Seriously Dating or Engaged Workbook. Roger and Becky have also co-authored a book for married couples called Little Changes Big Results for Crazy, Busy Couples. The principles in these books have changed so many areas of our life. We highly recommend them.

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2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hello, Kristen! We have learned so much from both 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the Seriously Dating or Engaged Workbook by Roger and Becky Tirabassi. Your beach blog design is so cute!

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