Derwin Gray, former NFL player and founder of One Heart at a Time Ministries (http://www.oneheartatatime. org), explains the impact of negative words. He points out that when we say something negative to another person, it’s like hammering a nail into them. And even when we say we are sorry, which pulls the nail out, it still leaves a hole. Unfortunately, most students leave school each day with many holes in their hearts. Is that true for the students you teach?
The most visible shift you can make in your classroom is to increase the amount of praise you use with students. However, this doesn’t mean to make random affirmative comments. I was in one classroom where the teacher said, “Good job!” every three seconds. Her students rolled their eyes and made faces each time. Saying good things just to say them is like doing 50 practice problems just so you can say you did them. The kids see right through you. There’s a huge difference between mere catch phrases and true praise
P Personally meaningful
R Respectful of the individual