5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 1, 2009 9:06 AM by sandee

    The Power of Our Words


      I just reviewed another great resource from my ASCD RSS Feed,  and the book of choice today is called "The Power of Our Words ~ Teacher Language That Helps Children Learn"  Have any of you read this?  Here is the overview of the book:


      "Language may be a teacher's most powerful tool, for words do more than deliver content. They also play a huge part in whether children develop self-control, build a sense of belonging, and gain academic and social skills and knowledge. This warm and thought-provoking book shows how you can use words, tone, and pacing to build a classroom where students feel safe, respected, appreciated, and excited about learning. Denton, an educator with over twenty years of experience teaching children and adults, offers practical tips (including language to avoid and language to adopt), real-life anecdotes, and concrete examples. Topics include:

      • using language to help children envision success
      • open-ended questions that stretch children's thinking
      • listening and using silence skillfully
      • the 3 Rs of teacher language: reinforcing, reminding, and redirecting
      • saying what you mean and meaning what you say
      • giving brief, concrete instructions
      • offering meaningful, specific encouragement

      The sensible approach this book advocates is backed by research and proven through decades of successful practice in elementary classrooms nationwide. It offers ideas beginners can try immediately and a wealth of guidance and support for those farther along in the process of changing their language." http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/bookstore/ascdpowerofwords.html


      When I reviewed this book- I also thought how appropriate for when we work with adult learners when introducing them to integrating technology into their curriculum.  It is by our "choice words" as trainers and how we present a training scenario that truly does make a difference with the educators we work with, and how they are willing to accept a new technology situation, solution or content we are exposing them to.  I see the excerpt above can run parallel to our teaching and training we do for Intel Education.  Some of our learners are reluctant and sometimes resistant to change, but it is all in the delivery style, positive room environment, the differentiated instruction approaches, and our "choice words" that can make a lasting change and impression with our 21st century educators.



      Here is a peak of the inside table of contents from the book:


      Acknowledgement and               Dedication
      Chapter               1  General Guidelines for               Teacher Language
      Chapter               2  Envisioning: Language as a               Spyglass
      Chapter               3  Open-Ended Questions:               Stretching Children's Academic and Social               Learning
      Chapter               4  Listening: Understanding the               Message in the Words
      Chapter               5  Reinforcing Language: Seeing               Children and Naming Their Strengths
      Chapter               6  Reminding Language: Helping               Students Remember Expectations
      Chapter 7  Redirecting Language: Giving Clear Commands When Children Have Gone Off Track
      Epilogue                  Putting It All Together
      Appendix               A  Examples of Effective               Teacher Language

      Appendix B  The Process of Developing More Effective Teacher Language 


      Naomi Harm

        • Re: The Power of Our Words
          Bonnie Feather

          I haven't yet read this book, but it sounds like a wonderful resource for PLC groups to read and discuss.  We know in our guts that our language matters, and this sounds like a fine study that proves it.

          • Re: The Power of Our Words


            It was funny that as I was reading the bulleted list you mentioned, I immediately thought of our trainings with adults.  And, as I read further, you mentioned just that.  You are so on target here.  Adult learners can be motivated or squashed by our choice words used during delivery of the Intel Teach courses.  As trainers, we must model an environment that will foster success, stretch participant thinking, and offer encourgement to those beginning to integrate technology through project based learning.  I also believe we need to create professional learning communities with our training groups to continue supporting them when they return to their respective LEAs.  I've seen many teachers leave an Intel Teach course motivated and eager to teach their Intel projects but to later find out this practice didn't transfer to other units of instruction for them.  I think mostly because they lack the support from their peers.


            In my 3-5 school, 96% of our certified staff have completed Intel Essentials and will recieve Thinking with Technology this summer.  Because most of our staff has been trained, including our administrator, its a mind set in our school that this is how we shoud be teaching.  The support is there for teachers as they implement new practices.  We encourage and support each other. 


            I am most assuredly going to check out this book and reccommend it for our professional learning teams.  Thanks for sharing another great resource with us.

            • Re: The Power of Our Words

              That book is put out by Responsive Classroom and they are a big proponent of using appropriate language. They also discuss a lot about making sure we don't use manipulative language to get students to do what we would like them to do. They don't single out individual children that are doing what they are supposed to do to get other people to also perform that behavior. I also believe that language is so important no matter if it is students or adults.  They also do specific training to get teachers to think about the language they use and to practice using different language and the motive behind the language used.

              • Re: The Power of Our Words

                Interesting. I was reading some management books over the thanksgiving holiday and studies show that you have to give employees praise 6 time more often than constructive feedback to be perceived as a positive manager. That seemed like a correct ratio to me.....

                  • Re: The Power of Our Words

                    Years ago, I read "The One Minute Manager" and it does say that to be a positive manager and motivator, you need to provide at least positive statements about the person to every one issue.  I would think that it has increased since we have so many people who do not always get the appreciation necessary to keep them motivated.