Uplifting Children

When children feel honored as a part of a community, they learn. How to speak to our students in a way that uplifts?

It is so simple. First, we must of course speak so slowly to them that they understand effortlessly, effortlessness being one of the key words found in Chomsky and Krashen’s research.

We know that we are speaking slowly enough when it is painful for us to speak that slowly – because when we speak so slowly that it is painful for us, then it is not painful for them to listen. The opposite is true – if it is not painful for us to speak at such a slow rate, then it will be painful for our students because they won’t understand.

We must also learn to speak to our students in a way that conveys two messages to them simultaneously, that (1) they are safe, and (2) that they are sitting in a classroom where everyone around them considers them to be important.

Creating this kind of inclusive and safe feeling in our classrooms is no small task, because many of us think that teaching involves a command voice and a stellar, engaging teaching style. Rather, we must bring kindness, not harshness and a rushed feeling, to our instruction. We don’t have to try as hard as we think we do.

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