At Brookridge Day School, our purpose is to provide an environment where the whole child is nurtured. An aspect of this whole child approach is creating strong and positive relationships with each child.
Behavior management strategies, used to improve these relationships, is something that has been on my mind lately. The number one component in effective behavior management starts with our relationships with the kiddos. What do I know about each child other than academics? What do the children know about me? As adults, if we like one of our peers, we want to listen to them. If we happen to not like one of our peers, we tend to not want to listen to them. Relationships are reciprocal, and if we don’t have respect towards the children we teach, respect is unlikely to be returned.
As an educator, I challenge you to ask yourself these questions:
- • Do I respect each of my children?
- • Do each of my students like me?
If our children like us, they WANT to listen us. They love to please and hear that positive reinforcement. Every child, and adult, loves to be praised when they are doing an awesome job at something. It provides that intrinsic motivation needed to be successful in all aspects of life. Something that truly helps with that intrinsic motivation is remembering to always celebrate the “small” successes of our kiddos.
For example, my class had to wait in the hallway for quite a while and they displayed amazing patience. When we got back to our classroom, I made it a fact to discuss this with them, and had them give themselves a round of applause. They were SO excited that I pointed this out, and most of them hadn’t even recognized that they were showing an important life skill…being patient. There is always something you can celebrate with your kiddos. It is our job to find those moments even when you think you have nothing to point out, we must keep looking.
As an educator, we must be concerned with overall behavior rather than compliance with behavior. What are we teaching them through our actions and how we speak to them? What can I do to help this child be successful? If one thing isn’t working, try another strategy. If that doesn’t work, try another. It is our job to build strong and positive relationships with our children to discover where our students are and provide them with the tools necessary to grow and be successful.