Shirley and I are supervising 50 children from our two classes on the verandah as they eat lunch and put lunchboxes away. Some children are sitting, waiting for the bell. Jaydeen is pushing her friend and shouting. It’s a situation early years teachers often encounter. How should we react? What words work at times like this? Do some words work better than others?
The answer plays out in front of me…
“Jaydeen. OTT,” says Shirley quietly. Jaydeen looks sheepishly at her teacher, then sits down with classmates ready to go out for play.
“Wow. That works well, Shirley. What’s OTT?” I ask.
Shirley smiles and replies, “Over The Top.”
I turn to her and nod, “I could try that…”
Shirley’s acronym, OTT and words ‘Over The Top’ are new to me. They are simple and they work. I like her words and I like her calm, positive tone as she uses ‘words that work’ for her, to shape Jaydeen’s behaviour.
I call them ‘words that work’ —words that get the desired result, quickly, effectively and with minimal fuss and muss.
What are the top 3 ‘words that work’ for me in shaping children’s behaviour?
Top 3 ‘Words that work’ for me:
Thanks …as in, ‘Close the door. Thanks.’
Quality …as in, ‘That’s quality work.’
Either/Or ‘Either keep your hands to yourself, or leave the group.’
Whether you are grappling with inappropriate behaviours, or nurturing good behaviours into even better ones, I wonder ‘what words work’ particularly well for you?
In the comments box, tell us about the top 3 ‘words that work’ for you.
I know we also use gestures, sounds etc. to shape behaviours, but for now let’s stick to words that work for you. It could be an acronym like Shirley’s, a phrase or two words. It doesn’t matter. Let’s share and learn together.
I’ll compile the list of ‘words that work’ and publish them so you can pick and choose ones that work for you.
Tweet this post, like it on Facebook, e-mail it to your friends, so we can share as many ‘words that work’ as possible by the end of January.
I hope your first week back is going well.