Starting Lesson on a Positive Note.

Starting lesson on a positive note requires more than simply saying the right words (although verbal comments will form a strong basis for the effectiveness of your strategies).

No matter what atmosphere exists in the room when you enter / approach, or whatever the overall behaviour of the students is, focus on the positive.

Make an effort to spot the pupil(s) who are on task / behaving appropriately / following your expectations. When you spot a student complying:

  • Use their name;
  • Make a positive comment;
  • Highlight the behaviour.

By highlighting the behaviour you expect from your class , you not only rewards the individual pupil, but also reinforces your expectations to the others in the group. For example:

“Good morning, everyone; great; well done Ali, you are looking this way. Excellent Wani, you’ve got your books out”.

Comments such as the above, when accompanied by an encouraging look / smile and even physical contact with the student’s desk / table (not body, please) is a very powerful tactic to reward the on-task students, together with a positive reminder to all the rest.

To link the positive comments and body language is the need to move closer to the students. Trying to deliver a “positive start” message from behind your desk, or while standing at the door, is unlikely to be as successful as delivering the comment in close proximity to the named students. The added technique of proximity – praise will be equally powerful for the off-task students; that is naming the student and labeling their appropriate behaviour will also have a positive effect on the behaviour of those around him / her.

Other possible “props” to focus on the “positive start” are”:

  • Tone of voice;
  • Volume of voice;
  • Knowledge of students;
  • Use of planned approach.

Using a “positive start” to the lesson / day gives you the best possible opportunity to turn around any negativity you may be feeling and provide you with a means to reward, reinforce and build relationships with all the students, while setting a firm foundation in making good behaviour choices for the rest of the lesson / day.

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