“A generous man will prosper: he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
– Proverbs 11:25 NIV
One strategy I employed more returning to the classroom was the use of post-it notes to communicate to my students and express affirmation & correction without the use of my voice.
Consider the amount of post-it notes that begin to build up in our desks as the school year progresses. Besides leaving notes for ourselves, is it possible we can make use of our post-it notes to leave words of acceptance, affirmation, and correction with our students? As they enter the classroom and while class is in session what do you think would happen to the atmosphere and function of your classroom, if they anticipated receiving notes that affirmed their cooperation and messages of correction to motivate their consistent participation without the discomfort of confrontational verbal disagreements?
There are students who are motivated by hearing about their positive progress. Not all students are motivated internally, or intrinsically, so how can I employ strategies that promote participation without spending money on treats?
Positive recognition stimulates the motivation to repeat the behavior to continue to experience the positive reinforcement that builds confidence, competence and a positive connection within the classroom community. I have had students say to me, ‘Thank you,’ upon the receipt of their post-it note and watch students who received post-it notes with warnings demonstrate better effort towards self-efficacy. Proverbs says that a gentle word can break a bone which tells me I can be effective and influential without the use of verbal words if I can be specific and clear consistently with the words I choose to use to communicate the message I need the students to receive.
The words you use on each post-it note can be general words, specific to the assignment, or phrases to communicate directives, or encouragement:
- Good job!
- Stay on task.
- Thank you for being on task!
- Remain focused to complete assignment.
- Thank you for working quietly!
- Remain seated and on task for the next 15 minutes please.
- I like the way this group is working together!
- Respect others by listening when we review the assignment.
- You are improving!
- Please raise your hand when you participate to answer a question.
- Keep up the good work!
- Thank you for participating in class!
- I appreciate your effort!
- I appreciate your leadership!
When you consider some students never hear anything positive in the course of a school day; or in some classrooms, all they hear are directives being yelled at them as they are being criticized more for doing wrong than being recognized for what they do right, what impact would this have in my room if I employed this strategy? On the subject of respect, I tell my students now, ‘I need you to respect yourself, because I cannot expect you to respect me if you cannot respect yourself. And if you do have respect for yourself, then we would not have to address consistently my concern about misconduct.’ This past school year was a very positive, productive experience for me. I had the privilege of assisting a new teacher by providing strategies for classroom management and they could see their own progress, development and success as the school year progressed. Learning to affirm and correct my students in a manner that is positive and respectful consistently allows me to have more days teaching consistently that are positive and productive. Be generous with being positive and productive and watch what it does to the atmosphere of your classroom and the attitude of your students.
May God bless you and help you to make use of post-it notes to affirm and correct students consistently in a way that is positive and productive to influence positive behavior, inspire learning and instill self-efficacy within your students.