Chapter 7 – Building Character and Trust

Technique #43 – Positive Framing – Make corrections consistently and positively. Narrate the world you want your students to see even while you are relentlessly improving it.

  • Live it now
  • Assume the best
  • Allow plausible anonymity
  • Build momentum
  • Narrate the positive
  • Challenge
  • Talk expectations and aspirations

Technique #44 – Precise Praise – Positive reinforcement is one of the most powerful tools in every classroom, if it is used well and according to the following rules of thumb for positive praise:

  • Differentiate acknowledgment and praise
  • Praise loud; fix soft
  • Praise must be genuine

Technique #45 – Warm/Strict – You must be caring, funny, warm, concerned and nurturing- and also strict, by the book, relentless and sometimes inflexible.

Technique #46 – The J-Factor – Finding joy in the work of learning (the J-Factor) is a key driver not just of being a happy classroom, but also of a high achieving classroom.

Five categories of J-Factor activities that champion teachers use include:

  • Fun and games
  • Us (and them)
  • Drama, skits, and dance
  • Humor
  • Suspense

Technique #47 – Emotional Constancy – Tread cautiously around much of the language that other teachers use as a habit, thinking carefully about what they imply the goal of student decisions to be. For example, notice the difference between “I am disappointed in you.” and “I expect better of you.”  Emotional constancy is about consistently framing our response to student actions in a way that elevates, inspires and challenges toward excellence in a positive manner.

Technique #48 – Explain Everything – Constantly remind students why you do what you do and ground the explanations in the mission: this will help you get to college; this will help you understand how to be responsible.

Technique #49 – Normalize Error – Error followed by correction and instruction is the fundamental process of schooling. You get it wrong, and then you get it right. Teachers must respond to this process as if it were totally and completely normal.

  • Wrong Answers: Don’t chasten; don’t excuse
  • Right Answers: Don’t flatter; don’t fuss.

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