(This is the eighth of a series of posts on Teach Like A Champion by Doug Lemov, which I am reading and reflecting on for a class for my masters at Cornerstone University)
In chapter 7, Lemov describes techniques that help build character, trust, and culture within your classroom. He describes the following techniques:
#43. Positive Framing
Positive framing means describing what appropriate behavior is in an optimistic, upbeat, and confident manner. It is not simply praise while irresponsibly ignoring misbehavior, but corrects and guides behavior, with the following features:
- Live in the present – focus on what can be fixed now
- Assume the best of your students. Don’t immediately assume willful intention
- Anonymous corrections are better than immediately calling out names
- Build momentum and narrate the positive
- Challenge the students, often using friendly competition
- Describe the expectations and aspirations you have of the group
#44. Positive Praise
Reinforcing good behavior with praise is one of the most powerful, but also most abused tools teachers have. Keep the following in mind when praising:
- Differentiate between acknowledgement and praise. Simply noticing when students do what’s expected is better than praise – reserve praise for exceptional or exemplary behavior
- Praise (and acknowledge) Loudly, and fix or correct softly
- Praise things within a students control, such as effort, instead of attributes such as intelligence
- Praise must be genuine.
These two qualities are not opposites – in fact, they are unrelated qualities that all teachers should strive to have. Being warm AND strict sends the message that having high expectations is part of what caring for and respecting someone means.
- Explain to students why you’re doing what you’re doing
- Distinguish between a person, and a person’s behavior
- Demonstrate that consequences are temporary
- Use warm non-verbal behavior, as well as positive framing
#46. The J-Factor
Joy is what helps us get through the day, and fine teachers will offer up generous servings of energy, passion, enthusiasm, fun, and humor, along with the following types of Joy increasing tools:
- Fun and games
- “Us” – a classroom culture or family feel. Lemov suggests nicknames, unique language, rituals, traditions, songs, etc. to promote culture.
- Drama, song, and dance
- Suspense or surprise
#47. Emotional Constancy
Poor example of Emotional Constancy
You must control your emotions as a teacher, most especially because the students you teach are learning about their own. Whenever possible, leave your own emotions out of the picture, by saying for example “I expect better of you” instead of “I’m really disappointed that…”
#48. Explain Everything
Help your students by making the reason behind expectations clearly explained. Students should know why it matters, and how one action or behavior affects another. Be sure to do these explanations well in advance, or else reminding students AFTER any corrections have resulted in expectations being met. Otherwise the explanation sounds like pleading.
#49. Normalize Error
Making mistakes or answer questions wrong, and then fixing them and getting it right is normal. Respond in a way that makes it clear that getting questions wrong is not only ok, but also an expected part of trying. Do not make a big deal about wrong answers, and at the same time, do not overly praise correct answers. Reserve praise for behaviors that are exceptional, and not simply answering a question correctly.