Mike Anderson WHAT WE SAY AND HOW WE SAY IT MATTER—Teacher Talk That Improves Student Learning and Behavior
Words Matter! A lot! Especially with students. We know when students walk through our doors, our most important priorities for us as educators are to make them feel safe and valued. Mike Anderson is the author of What We Say And How We Say It Matter: Teacher Talk That Improves Student Learning and Behavior. In his book, he captures the “Why” the language we use sends a message to our students that may or may not have clear intentions. Anderson stated, “...specifically, this is a look about the intersection of our positive intentions and our language habits--and working to better align the two” (p. 4).
Anderson shares critical insights for educators to become even more mindful of engaging students in their learning process with careful consideration of the language we use. “Students must assume more power and control of their learning, cocreating rich learning experiences with their teachers. And when it comes to discipline, being obedient rule-followers is no longer enough. Students need to learn to think and act in ethical and responsible ways, so they are ready to be independent and deep thinkers, not simply compliant workers” (p. 5).
Being more mindful of the words we use and the messages they can convey can empower all of us. Here are a few of my favorite take-aways from Anderson’s book that I plan on sharing with staff this year. It should be a great on-going conversation to allow us to continue to prioritize why the words we use with our students matter.
Big Idea: You are always modeling.
Bid Idea: Humor is funny. Sarcasm is hurtful.
Big Idea: Yep, we all make mistakes. Own it.
Big Idea: Take the “you” out and make it about them.
Big Idea: Learning should be meaningful and engaging for each of our learners.
Big Idea: Don’t ever, and I mean ever say, ”After ___ we will do something fun.”
Big Idea: Practice doesn’t mean perfect, but it does allow you to get better.
Big Idea: Let students talk more!
Big Idea: Small bites of formative coaching before, during and after learning.