Cultivating Positive Relationships with Students
The lasting value of deliberately building positive relationships with students cannot be overestimated!! Here are some specific suggestions to help teachers and support staff accomplish this:
- Greet students at the door - one foot in the hall and one room makes it easier to monitor what's happened in both settings, and allows staff to smile and positively greet each student as they enter the room.
- Deliver at least four (4) positive statements for every correct statement with each student - if teachers only approach students with perceived negative comments, their guard is already up and corrective feedback is tuned out. Research has shown that 99% of positive feedback is given to the well-behaved students, while the students with more challenging behaviors need it waaaay more!
- Regularly deliver private comments (positive, neutral, or corrective) to each student every day - this eliminates the "ooooooh!!" factor for the rest of the class when the teacher approaches an individual student for a private comment, question, or correct.
- The 2x10 Strategy - this is useful with students who rarely participate in class. The "2" refers to 2 consecutive minutes and the "10" is for 10 consecutive days. Engage in a dialogue with a withdrawn student for 2 minutes every day for 10 consecutive days. Vary the content of the dialogue to their needs/interests every day. Even if the student is initially unresponsive, you are opening the door to a positive relationship, and they are learning something about you in the process.
- Helping Hands Directory or Classroom Yellow Pages - engage the class in a discussion regarding things they feel they are "expert" in and/or willing to help others with (i.e. using the index of a textbook, alphabetizing, writing topic sentences, keeping notebooks organized. etc). Create a quick chart of the areas of expertise and the students who can help in that area. Create a directory using a binder, which alphabetically lists the areas and students willing to volunteer their services to peers. When someone needs help, they can check the binder before they turn to adults for assistance, promoting cooperative, service to others, and increasing individual self-esteem.
- "Celebrate" the positives in class - celebrations bring about laughter and humor, which establishes personal connections between adult and student. Here are some celebration ideas:
- High Fives
- Thumbs Up
- Round of Applause (have students clap hands in a circular, "round" motion)
- Kiss Your Brain (have students kiss their hand then touch their head)
- Spider Clap [have students spread the fingers of each hand as far apart as comfortable (the spider) then tap their fingertips together silently]
- Silent Cheer (have students cheer with as much enthusiasm as they can, but without sound)
- Play a song portion reserved just for celebrations ("Celebration" by Kool and the Gang is always good)
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