Thursday, October 21, 2010

positive praise

Last night I headed home from my grad class on the metro. I was completely zoned out, as one does on the metro after a long day, when I realized the announcement wasn't your typical difficult to understand metro information. A woman's voice came on, clearly announced the next station, and then, with even more clarity said, "For those of you who just joined us at Rosslyn or at Foggy Bottom I'd like to thank you from standing back on the platform before boarding. You kept us all safe. Thank you." 

For those of you who ride metro you may be as confused as I was by this message. Metro, thanking us? I've heard messages yelling at us, I've heard messages taunting or ridiculing us, I've heard the occasional chipper announcer instructing us to have a nice day (but even then that seems rare), but thanking us?

Of course, positive praise is the secret to surviving in kindergarten. Many classroom management techniques focus on using positive praise to prevent bad behavior before it starts. I feel like my days can be full of thanking students for doing what I wanted them to do, knowing that they need this positive praise or they'll head in the other direction.

Tuesday a little boy popped out of his reading center and ran across the room.
"What are you doing??" I asked, "You'd been sitting there so nicely reading!"
"Those kids aren't sitting nicely" he pointed to a group of children currently being redirected by my partner in crime. 
"Yes, but look at partner-in-crime. She's not happy. They are getting in trouble."
"She looks happy to me."
"Mrs. Partner-in-Crime" I called, "Look at our friend. Isn't he doing a great job sitting quietly, reading at his center?"
"Wow, yes," she quickly picked up on our friend's need for positive praise. "I'm so impressed. Look how he keeps the book in his lab and quietly turns the pages without getting out of his seat."
Our friend beamed and remained at his center.

Has one metro announcer discovered the secret to positive classroom management? 

1 comment:

magpie said...

I too am getting worried that too many Kindergarten teachers are resigning and seeking new careers.

I had a Policewoman praise me anyone who cared... for picking up someone elses rubbish. Very embarassment:-)