Hacks For Keeping Classroom Staff Positive

As the special education teacher in the classroom, it is our job to make sure that everyone is staying positive with the students and that the learning environment is a positive place where students feel comfortable enough to take risks and learn. Here are 2 hacks to help you create a positive place for students.


As the special education teacher in the classroom, it is our job to make sure that everyone is staying positive with the students and that the learning environment is a positive place where students feel comfortable enough to take risks and learn. Here are 2 hacks to help you create a positive place for students.

Outlaw The Word "No"

My students come to me with a bi repertoire of behaviors to get attention and escape demands. It is easy to fall into a pattern where you say "no" or a variation of it. When I notice that my paras or I am veering to the negative side, I outlaw the word no and it's variation.

As the special education teacher in the classroom, it is our job to make sure that everyone is staying positive with the students and that the learning environment is a positive place where students feel comfortable enough to take risks and learn. Here are 2 hacks to help you create a positive place for students.

Make sure you review with your paras and therapists exactly what you mean and why you are doing making this change. For example, I tell my staff that I have noticed that we have ALL gotten out of the habit of being positive with our students. It is hard to keep a positive classroom when you have students with a boatload of behaviors BUT our students need us to in order for them to learn more appropriate behaviors and feel safe enough to take risks in learning.

I go over the phrases that I have been hearing that are included in the No band such as "Don't do that." and "Stop that." We talk about what to say instead. Here are a few of the examples I give them:

As the special education teacher in the classroom, it is our job to make sure that everyone is staying positive with the students and that the learning environment is a positive place where students feel comfortable enough to take risks and learn. Here are 2 hacks to help you create a positive place for students.


Use A Signal To Increase Praise

Another way to get staff (and you!) to focus on giving more positive reinforcement is to have a signal that goes off randomly. Every time the signal is heard, every adult in the room has to verbally praise a student near them. Again, give staff some examples of what you are looking for them to do. Examples I give are:

"Wow! I love the way you are working so quietly."

"Great job keeping your hands to yourself."

"You are doing a super job on that file folder!"

The praise should be quick and specific. I also emphasize that adults need to praise the student nearest to them. This encourages them to be thinking positively about all of the students... even the student who is misbehaving! 


Do you have another idea for keeping the classroom a positive place for students? Please leave your idea in the comments so we can all learn!

As the special education teacher in the classroom, it is our job to make sure that everyone is staying positive with the students and that the learning environment is a positive place where students feel comfortable enough to take risks and learn. Here are 2 hacks to help you create a positive place for students.




2 comments

  1. Great tips! I love the chart... it makes it very clear what you mean by staying positive! I've had some problems with paras in the past who were extremely negative and got into regular power struggles with kids, going as far as to call them brats or argue that they do not really have a disability. I have a hard time correcting paras, when they are so helpful with so many other things and just seem to get overwhelmed. Having something like this to pass along just to make sure we're all "on the same page" might help.

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    1. It can be helpful to role play what staff should say in different situations, too. It's awkward at times, but it's worth it!
      If your staff do better with visuals, check out this post: http://www.mrspspecialties.com/2016/05/cue-staff-with-visualsadults-need.html?m=1
      Thanks,
      Pam

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