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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Believing in Students: The Power to Make a Difference | Edutopia

Believing in Students: The Power to Make a Difference | Edutopia

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Messages We Send to Children in the Words We Say- Part 2: Verbal Modifiers

Many statements have two levels of meaning. One level is the basic information that we communicate with the specific words we say. The second level conveys our attitudes and feelings; most specifically, revealing what we think and how we feel about the words we are saying. This deeper level of communication is known in linguistic literature as the metamessages level. Simply put, a metamessage is the in-depth message that can be implied from the surface message. One of the ways in which we can create a metamessage is by including a verbal modifier in the sentence. As defined by McKay, Davis, and Fanning (2009), verbal modifiers are special words that add nuances of meaning to the sentence. Some words and phrases commonly used to modify verbs are:

Ø Words: certainly, only, merely, naturally, now, later, sure, just, still, again, slightly, lately, seriously, and supposedly.

Ø Phrases: of course, come on, I’m sure, and I guess.

Some examples of metamessages developed through a verbal modifier follow. The verbal modifiers are in italics.

·        Cheer up! It’s only her opinion.

Metamessage: You are taking her opinion too seriously.


·        Are you still working on that problem?

Metamessage: You are taking too much time on one problem.


·        I was just saying…

Metamessage: Calm down! You cannot take my point of view.


·        You certainly are funny today.

Metamessage: I’m not comfortable with your jokes.


·        Here you go again!

Metamessages: What you are doing, you do it repeatedly and what you do repeatedly annoys me.


·        You are telling me the truth, I guess.

Metamessage: I doubt that you are telling me the truth.


·        Come on, guys, stop talking!

Metamessage: Chill out, guys! I’m annoyed with your talking.


·        You tried your best, I’m sure.

Metamessage: I’m not sure that you tried your best.


·        You were minding your own business, of course.

Metamessage: I doubt that you were minding your own business.


·        You were minding your own business… seriously?

Metamessage: I strongly doubt that you were minding your own business.


·        Now, what do you need?

Metamessages: You ask for too much and I’m running out of patience.


·        Supposedly, you want to settle this issue with Gregory.

Metamessage: Are you sure that you want to settle this issue?


·        Naturally, you had to start trouble!

Metamessages: Starting trouble is what you do, and starting trouble is a part of you or your identity.

On the surface, a statement sounds harmless but underneath there may be a metamessage blaming and/or shaming the student. The biggest offender in finding fault in children is the “there must be something wrong with you” metamessage. Let’s review some of the examples above, this time, with “there must be something wrong with you” included:

·        There must be something wrong with you if you take her opinion so seriously.

·        There must be something wrong with you if you need so much time for just one problem.

·        There must be something wrong with you if you cannot take my point of view.

·        There must be something wrong with your jokes if they make me feel uncomfortable.

·        There must be something wrong with you if you keep repeating this particular behavior.

·        There must be something wrong with you guys if you are still talking.

·        There must be something wrong with you if you do not try your best.

·        There must be something wrong with you if you ask so much.

·        There must be something wrong with you if you don’t want to settle this issue.

·        There must be something wrong with you if you have to start trouble.

·        There must be something wrong with you if you repeatedly have to start trouble.

 If teachers are not careful, our metamessages may be feeding feelings of inefficacy and self-doubt in students. Knowledge of metamessages is a basic interpersonal communication skill to build a positive and constructive classroom atmosphere, with students that are engaged and motivated.

Reference:

McKay, M., Davis, M., & Fanning, P. (2009). Messages: The Communication Skills Book. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Related Readings:

The Messages We Send to Children in the Words We Say- Part 1: Presuppositions
To read this blog post, click here.

Watch Your Language! Ways of Talking and Interacting with Students that Crack the Behavior Code
To preview this book on Amazon, click here.

All Behavior is Communication: How to Give Feedback, Criticism, and Corrections that Improve Behavior
To preview this book on Amazon, click here.

Essentials of Emotional Communication for Reaching the Unreachable Student- Where Do I Start? What Do I Say? How Do I Do It?
To preview this book on Amazon, click here.


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Anger Management for Children: Using Self-Talking to Defuse Angry Feelings

To read this article, click on link:

Anger Management for Children: Using Self-Talking to Defuse Angry Feelings


A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Messages We Send to Children in the Words We Say- Part 1: Presuppositions

Presuppositions refer to the assumptions in a message that the listener accepts as true in order to make sense of the whole message. For instance, in the statement, “The cow moos at the moon,” the following presuppositions are present:

A.    The existence of an object known as cow

B.     An attribute of the object cow- moos

C.     The existence of an object known as moon

D.    The object cow can moo at the object moon

E.     The object cow is mooing at the object moon

Listeners do not engage in this kind of linguistic analysis, and chances are that, when they hear the statement, “The cow moos at the moon,” the recipient of the message will easily accept all of the presuppositions listed above. In other words, the recipient of the message is predisposed to accept the message as valid and truthful. More examples (Only the most relevant presuppositions are included):

1.     You are not going to tell me another lie! (Presuppositions: You lie and you told me a lie before.)

2.     Why don’t you smile more? (Presuppositions: You can smile and you do not smile enough.)

3.     You are as stubborn as a cat. (Presuppositions: You are stubborn and cats are stubborn.)

4.     My parrot is bilingual; she can curse in both English and Spanish. (Presuppositions: I have a parrot, my parrot can talk, my parrot can curse, my parrot curses, my parrot curses in English, and my parrot curses in Spanish.)

5.     The youngest of my sisters, Aileen, regrets leaving Columbia University before she finished her degree in chemistry. (Presuppositions: I have at least two sisters, one of my sister’s name is Aileen, Aileen was studying at Columbia University, Aileen was studying chemistry, Aileen did not finish her degree in chemistry, Aileen left Columbia University before completing her studies, and Aileen regrets that she did not finish her degree in chemistry.)

6.     My toddler no longer has temper tantrums. (Presuppositions: I have a toddler, my toddler once had temper tantrums, and my toddler is no longer having temper tantrums.)

7.     When did you stop chewing gum? (Presuppositions: You once chewed gum and currently, you do not chew gum.)

8.     Celeste is a better student than Barbara. (Presuppositions: Celeste is a student, Barbara is a student, Celeste is at least a good student, Barbara is at least a good student, there is a hierarchy of students that goes from good to best and in that hierarchy, Celeste ranks higher than Barbara.)

9.     Why did you steal Jeremy’s cap? (Presuppositions: There is a cap, the cap belongs to Jeremy, the cap was stolen, you stole the cap, and you have a reason for stealing the cap.)

10.  How fast can you recite the timetables? (Presuppositions: You know the timetables, you can recite the timetables, and you can recite the timetables fast.)

As you can see, presuppositions are everywhere in our day-to-day communication; we could not talk without using presuppositions. If you need more evidence, just go back to the last statement, “Celeste is a better student than Barbara.” There are almost as many presuppositions (6) as there are words in the statement (7).

In conclusion, because listeners are already predisposed to accept presuppositions as true, they are also predisposed to act or behave according to this perception of truth. This basic interpersonal communication principle is what makes presuppositions such a powerful linguistic tool in influencing children’s behaviors.

How are Presuppositions Relevant to Teachers and Students?

Like any other speaker, teachers use presuppositions too, is just that we are not aware that we are using them. And like any adult working with children in a helping capacity, is important that teachers understand that the messages we send to children are not in the words we say but in the presuppositions we make. Simply put, well-crafted presuppositions influence positive and optimistic feelings and behaviors in our students, but careless ones can trigger more negative and pessimistic feelings and attitudes. Some examples of presuppositions common to our classroom experience follow (Only the most relevant presuppositions are included).

1.     If you stop talking and start listening, you will understand this! (Presuppositions: You are talking, you can stop talking, you are not listening, you can start listening, and you can understand this.)

2.     When you stop talking and start listening, you will understand this! (Presuppositions: You are talking, you can stop talking, you will stop talking you are not listening, you can start listening, you will start listening, and you can understand this.)

3.     When you study fractions the right way, you will make sense of them. (Presuppositions: You study fractions, there is a right way and a wrong way of studying fractions, you are studying fractions the wrong way, you can stop studying fractions the wrong way, you can study fractions the right way, you will study fractions the right way, and you can make sense of fractions.)

4.     Why do you always curse? (Presuppositions: You curse, you invariably curse, and you have a reason for cursing.)

5.     Every time that you curse, I feel annoyed. (Presuppositions: You curse, you are cursing repeatedly, cursing annoys me, I have felt annoyed by cursing before, hearing you curse annoys me, and hearing you curse repeatedly annoys me each time.)

6.     Alicia has lost her motivation. (Presuppositions: Alicia was once motivated and Alicia is no longer motivated.)

7.     I will give you the steps, and then you finish the division problems by yourself. (Presuppositions: There are steps in division, you do not know the steps, I can give you the steps, you can learn the steps, after you get the steps, you will be able to do the division problems, after you get the steps, you will finish the division problems, somebody has helped you do division, you can do division by yourself, and you will do division by yourself.)

8.     If you cared for your grades, you will study hard. (Presuppositions: You do not care for your grades, you can study hard, and you do not study hard.)

9.     If you cared more for your grades, you will study harder. (Presuppositions: You care for your grades, you do not care enough for your grades, you can study hard, you already study hard, you do not study hard enough, and you can study harder.)

10. If you were nicer to Jeremy, he will be nice to you in return. (Presuppositions: You are already nice to Jeremy, you are not nice enough to Jeremy, Jeremy is not nice with you, to be nice with you, Jeremy needs to -fairly and/or consistently- feel treated nicely by you.)

Now on Amazon!!
Watch Your Language! Ways of Talking and Interacting with Students that Crack the Behavior Code. To preview this book on Amazon, click here.



A Call to All Teachers:

Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Feeling Nice-Feeling Bad: Teaching Students How To Put Feelings Into Words


Teaching children how to talk about, or how to cope with, troubling feelings (e.g. feeling humiliated and resentful) and/or a conflictive classroom event (e.g. angry feelings that escalate into a fight in the schoolyard) is a basic therapeutic communication intervention aimed at teaching children how to resolve conflictive events in a more resourceful way; most specifically, before the unresolved feelings spread-out into a high-impact disruptive classroom event. Talking about the emotional component of a troubling experience is an area of difficulty for many children, this being particularly true for those students who already exhibit behavior deficits, among them, children with weak impulse control and/or low ability to tolerate frustration. Because talking constructively about what is troublesome is too hard for them, we see these children displaying recurrent acting-out episodes and/or aggressive behaviors in an unsuccessful attempt to find some relief from the conflicted feelings that are fueling those behaviors. To being able to process and to cope adequately with their troubling feelings, rather than impulsively acting-out on those feelings, our initial intervention would be to give children the words they can use to best describe the way they are feeling. Only after children know how to label, how to describe, and how to analyze all kinds of feelings (including pleasant and unpleasant feelings) they will be able to process the emotional component of any experience in a way that facilitates dealing with troublesome events in a more positive and constructive way. The following list of words can be used to help children build and/or strengthen their social-emotional vocabularies. Most of the words listed next are considered feelings; some of the words were included because they relate to feelings and help in identifying feelings accurately; all words listed help develop awareness in the instrumental role that feelings play in influencing behavior. Words are grouped by similarity.

List of Words About Feelings:

Admiration: awe, captivated, delighted, fascinated, reverent

Aggression: aggressive, brawl, hateful, violent

Anger: aggravated, agitated, angered, angry, annoyed, bad, bitter, bothered, bugged, choleric, cranky, discomforted, disturbed, enraged, exasperated, frustrated, furious, grouchy, grumpy, ill-tempered, inconvenienced, indignant, infuriated, irascible, irate , irritated, mad, moody, mortified, outraged, rampaged, resentful, ruffled, shocked, sore, temperamental, testy, uncomfortable, upset, wrathful

Anxiety: agitated, anxious, apprehensive, awful, concerned, discomforted, dismayed, distraught, distressed, dreadful, fussy, impatient, preoccupied, solicitous, tense, troubled, turmoil, uneasy, worried, worrisome

Apathy: apathetic, bored, unenthusiastic, unmotivated

Appreciation: appreciated, appreciative, cared, cherished, esteemed, liked, loved, pleased, prized, respected, treasured, valued

Attention: attentive, curious, interested

Aversion: animosity, aversive, detest, disapproving, disgusted, dislike, grudging, resentful

Bad: cruel, ill-will, malicious, mean, naughty

Betrayal: betrayed, disloyal, resentful, unfaithful

Bravery: audacious, bold, brave, courageous, fearless, gutsy, heroic, intrepid, unafraid, valiant

Calmness: calmed, eased/at ease, free from trouble, lighthearted, patient, peaceful, placid, relaxed, serene, tranquil, undisturbed

Confidence: awesome, confident/self-confident, secure, sure, self-reliant

Defiance: antagonistic, argumentative, aversive, bravado, defiant, disobedient, hostile, noncompliant, oppositional

Distress: afflicted, agitated, agonizing, anguished, breakdown, burnout, discomforted, distressed, disturbed, exhausted, hurt, miserable, overwhelmed, strained, stressed, tense, troubled, turmoil, unsettled, worried

Embarrassment: abashed, ashamed, blushed, disconcerted, embarrassed, humbled, humiliated, mortified, offended, self-conscious

Enjoyment: enjoyable, joyful, nice, pleasant

Excitement: excited, frenetic, frenzied, impatient

Fear: afraid, alarmed, apprehensive, dismayed, fearful, frantic, frightened, horrified, intimidated, nervous, petrified, scared, shocked, startled, terrified, terrorized

Frustration: demoralized, disappointed, discouraged, disenchanted, disheartened, disillusioned, dispirited, frustrated, overwhelmed

Guilt: blameful, contrived, guilty, remorseful, (feeling) responsible, tortured

Happiness: cheerful, cheery, glad, good spirits, happy, high-spirited, joyful, joyous, jubilant, lighthearted, merry, pleased, sunny

Hurt: afflicted, agonizing, anguished, awful, burdened, desperate, destroyed, devastated, distraught, heart ached, heartbroken, hurt, in pain, miserable, resentful, ruined, tormented, tortured, troubled, unhappy, upset

Indifference: apathetic, detached, indifferent, unemotional, uninterested

Insecurity: agonizing, ambivalent, conflicted, confused, insecure, having mixed feelings, turmoil, unresolved

Love: adore, affection, caring, compassionate, cordial, heartfelt, infatuated, sympathetic, warm

Mixed: bittersweet

Motivation: competitive, curious, challenged, decided, determined, enthusiastic, fired, firm, interested, motivated, passionate, resolute, resolved

Nervousness: agitated, apprehensive, awkward, edgy, excitable, fidgety, fussy, impatient, jittery, jumpy, nervous, restless, tense, uneasy, worried, worrisome

Optimistic: confident, hopeful, positive

Other: envious, jealous, obsessed

Pessimistic: demoralized, despair, desperate, discouraged, disheartened, dispirited, grave, helpless, hopeless, negative, self-defeating, unworthy

Pride: awesome, boastful, bragging rights, proud

Sadness: anguished, blues, cheerless, depressed, disconsolate, gloomy, grieving, heart ached, heartbroken, inconsolable, in pain, languished, low in spirits, melancholic, miserable, mourning, nostalgic, sad, sorrowful, unhappy

Surprise: amazed, astonished, shocked, surprised, wonder

Vengeance: revengeful, spiteful, vengeful, vindictive

Related Resources (Free Downloads):


2.     Facts About Feelings Sheet


     
      A Call to All Teachers:

     Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach theWorld.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.” 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rapport: The Key to Shift an Interaction with a Difficult Student from Antagonistic to Collaborative

Sometimes a teacher-student relationship goes sour, with too many antagonistic interactions where “he,” the student, is placed in one corner while “I,” the teacher, firmly position myself in the opposite corner. I guard my corner fiercely while the child is guarding his corner fiercely. We even seem to be talking two opposite languages; my “yes” is the child’s “no;” my “do” is the child’s “don’t.” Giving commands and criticizing noncompliance is my way to unsuccessfully persuade the child to do something, and the more the child does not do what I want, the more rigid and antagonistic our relationship becomes. In other words, although student and teacher are sharing one and the same physical space, mentally and emotionally “we” (as in student and teacher) are in two very different places. Under those circumstances, I believe, no communication between the two of us is possible. If only I could find how to shorten the distance that is keeping us apart...
Rapport: The Bridge that Connects Two Opposing Worlds
Little I know that, although in different corners, we are both sharing one and the same objective: protecting the integrity of our personal (internal) place. In interpersonal communication theory, this is known as “saving face.” Once I realize that we both share the same goal, what originally seemed as two clashing points of view now feel a lot closer than they were initially perceived. What I want and need is exactly what the child is wanting and needing; we both want and need to save face. With this shared objective giving new meaning and shaping the interaction, “he against me” turns into “we,” and talking with the child suddenly becomes a lot easier. Now the experience of communicating with the child begins with this new perceived reality, that is, effective communication begins with “we.”
 But how can I shift “he against me” into “us” or “we”? The key to positioning ourselves in the same “we corner” relies on a small word with a big impact: rapport. What exactly is rapport? The dictionary definition of rapport is a relationship that is based on truth and emotional affinity (The American Heritage College Dictionary). In the interpersonal communication realm, the metaphor of a dance is frequently used; like dancing with a partner, rapport is “being in step with someone, separate but together, sharing a common experience” (Karns, 1994, p. 5). As Knapp (2007) states, rapport is not something that we build once and then we just move away from it; rapport is an ongoing issue. Trust, the cornerstone of rapport, is something that I create through simple acts that I carry out on a daily basis; that is, I earn and maintain rapport with very simple but consistent actions such as acknowledging the child by his name, making eye contact with the child, and smiling to the child among others. I show a genuine interest in this child specifically, making an effort to understand him better: what he likes and dislikes, what he fears the most, and learning of his dream of becoming an astronaut. By finding things that interest the child and then letting him know that I know of those things, I am sending the message that I am aware of his presence in my classroom, cherishing him as the unique and important individual that he is in my classroom.
In learning more about the specifics of this child, I also find out that he loves salsa dance and that he finished third on a salsa dance competition just a few months earlier. Because he feels a little embarrassed by the whole salsa dance ordeal, I promise not to tell anyone, and now this self-disclosure has become our very special secret. To reciprocate for the child’s self-disclosure, I share my own secret: how disappointed I was when I finished fourth on a spelling contest back in the fifth grade. And now, we are communicating at a much deeper level than salsa dance or spelling contests; now we are communicating at the level where we both realize we are more alike than different. By spotting our resemblances, or those things that we have in common, I start perceiving the “we” that is hidden in “you and me;” “we” was always there, is just that I never noticed it before.
References:
Karns, M. (1994). How to create positive relationships with students: A handbook of group activities and teaching strategies. Champaign, IL: Research Press.
Knapp, H. (2007). Therapeutic communication: Developing professional skills. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Related Article…
Creating Rapport with a Disruptive and Acting-Out Student: Psycho-Educational Interventions for Students with Special Needs. To read this article, click here.

Now on Amazon!
Essentials of Emotional Communication for Reaching the Unreachable Student: Where Do I Start? What Do I Say? How Do I Do It? To preview this book on Amazon, click here.



A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”