I have started reading Choice Words, How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning, by Peter H. Johnston and it has challenged me to think about the words I use in my own classroom.
After reading chapter two on noticing and naming, it had me thinking about the conversations have in my classroom with my students. Am I using the right words with them? Am I allowing them to take the responsibility for their learning? As I was thinking about these questions, I started to notice that these are things that I do in my classroom, but I do them most often in small group. While teaching today i was very aware of the words I use and how my students accept them. In small groups I feel a closer connection to my students and that my word choice is more precise.
While in whole group lessons I often find myself repeating and rewording things. I feel as though many choice of my words are not always encouraging and getting my students to think. When prompted correctly the ‘wheels’ get turning and many of my students are able to take control of their own learning. I always encourage and recognize the thoughts of my students. Even when our thoughts are left field it is great to see that they are thinking and wanting to take control of their learning. When they are able to ask questions and explain what we have been talking about I know something is working.
One thing that I really enjoyed from this chapter is excerpts from classroom teachers giving praise and showing students what they did to take control of their learning. This is something that I am working towards in my own classroom and have done a great job at achieving in my small groups.
In chapter one the language of influence teaching, it has allowed to see how important the words are that I saw to my students. How much a small phrase can affect a students learning in a positive or negative way. This is something that I notice in my classroom. When students talk to each other and when I talk to them. The words we use and how we we say them.
When redirecting my students I have been able to do so in a positive way that allows the students to correct their behavior and take responsibility for their actions. This is something that I have been working on and still work on. I can still find myself giving students a direct direction to do something or face a consequence when things are starting to spiral and previous redirections have not worked. In the past this might have been my go to option in an attempt to get students to focus but I have learned just being in the classroom for the past two years that students like to have the feeling of being in charge of what they are doing and thinking that they have come to the conclusion on their own with out being told.
There are so many things that I have noticed about myself in the classroom in just a short amount of time after reading these two chapters and have noticed the areas where I need to work to help my students be the best they can be.