The Power of Positive
January 6, 2011
When teaching your students a new skill or new information, you want to keep the learning process positive. This is easier said, then done. Individuals learn faster and retain the information for longer periods of time when they learn what they aresuppose to do, as opposed to what they are performing incorrectly. When you teach using positive sequential steps, building on previous skills, your students will be engaged and interested in attempting the new skill.
In today’s society we are bombarded with “no”, “do not”, and “never+” statements all day long. Just look around your world. Youth hear these words frequently, and get to the point where they “tune out” the instructions. Think of this scenario; a child is running down the range to retrieve targets. What is usually said to them? “Don’t run on the range!” or “NO running on the range!” What if you simply stated: “Please walk on the range”? Stating “Please Walk” replaces the incorrect behavior of running with the behavior you desire to see. What the student hears is “walk” and that is what they do. To give the “don’t run” request leaves out the important component of what you want to occur, you really have left out what exactly you want them to do.
New students are clean slates. Next time you are teaching a new skill, seriously ponder the words you choose to use with your students. Be precise, tell them what you want them to do, demonstrate the skill correctly and then let them try it. If they perform it correctly, this will give you opportunities to praise and reinforce the skill. Everybody wins. You know the information was received, and the students have proved through demonstration or responses that they understand.
Let me know how it works in your class.