Focus on the positive

When working with the children in the classroom I sometimes have to resist the temptation to be negative and focus relentlessly on the positive. There are times in the classroom when the children will be very challenging and it is at these times that this skill is the most important, for you and the child in question. This is a difficult technique to develop and goes against the natural instinct to immediately correct the child or person with which you have an issue but it has many benefits.
* It allows the child to get back on track without conflict.
*It allows you to avoid getting stressed and burnt out with poor behaviour because you constantly focus on the good.
*It gives the children a clear frame of reference for good behaviour from the positive role models in the class without comparing them to each other and belittling them.
Here’s one way that it could be done. Positive directing.
Child misbehaves in some way.
“Do you notice what we are doing right now? You can do that can’t you? O.k then, let’s go.”
If at this stage the child continues to play up, I don’t ignore it, but calmly give them another chance to fix it before going down the route of sanctions. The minute I see the child doing what I asked, I get another reminder in.
“That’s exactly what I was looking for. Now keep that up.”
It works, and leads to positive dialogue in the classroom. When this isn’t going so well, the atmosphere in the room changes and there can be a tendency to single a pupil out for not doing what they should be. We want to break the loop of the child expecting to be in trouble with the teacher and the rest expecting the ‘naughty child’ to be in trouble. How the child sees themselves has to change, and then the behaviour can develop from there.
This can also work internally.
Question: When you make a mistake, how do you react and what do you say to yourself?
If you are negative, what value will this have for you? Will it really encourage you to become better, or will the effort to create change not be worth it?
Can you see how positively talking to yourself will allow you to be kinder with yourself and start seeing yourself in a different way.
I am speaking from lots of experience here. Negative talk leads to exasperation, anxiety, anger, disappointment and limited thinking. Positive talk leads to encouragement, hope, seeing things differently and eventually positive change.
None of us are perfect and so this does take lots of work, but it is worth it.
Listen to how you speak to yourself and others and think. Am I really as positive as I think I am? Or am I horrible and nasty to myself in my own head.
Realising that you could be far kinder to yourself is a great way to start changing this dangerous habit.
I wish you the best.
Shaun

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