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 Classroom Language: Naming Positive Identities

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Nutchanon010
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Join date : 2015-09-06
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PostSubject: Classroom Language: Naming Positive Identities   2nd December 2015, 11:19 pm

Here are some tips to help you name positive identities in a way that recognizes where students are and where, with their effort and your support, they can go.

Believe your own words

Naming students as good thinkers, or offering them any other positive identity, works only if your words are backed by deep conviction—if, in the preceding example, you truly believe that all children are good thinkers in different ways and begin school eager to succeed as learners.

Avoid naming negative identities

Sometimes, without thinking, we name a negative identity along with a positive one, like this: "I’m hoping for hard workers instead of lazy workers." That statement could imply that we currently see students as lazy. And once students hear a negative identity, they may have a hard time imagining themselves with the positive one. Or they may become resentful and unwilling to work toward the positive vision.

A straightforward positive statement works much better: "I know that you can all work hard and learn a lot, and I’m here to help you do that."

Be inclusive

Imagine a fifth grade teacher who shares a vision of gym class as "Boys and girls, skaters and jocks, all being friendly to each other." The intention—to reassure students that everyone has an equal place in the school community—is positive, but the words reinforce the very divisions and stereotypes the teacher wants to overcome.

Far more effective is a simple sentence such as "In this class and in this school, everybody will feel welcomed and included by everybody else."

Keep trying

Learning how to name positive identities for students takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself and persist, even when you make mistakes—just as you encourage students to do. You’ll soon find yourself using these envisioning statements fluently and frequently.



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