My approach to teaching is based on the assumption that every person is unique, capable and precious.
Because each is unique, I incorporate many styles, many approaches and tolerate quite a lot. Understanding learning styles in children and adults can prevent a lot of conflict. I find that most often “bad behaviour” from children (and parents) is not done in malice but comes from a disconnect between my teaching and their learning style. If you’ve done any reading on “Love Languages” this can apply similarly. Usually behaviour that’s not appropriate comes from misdirected energy and unclear expectations. By communicating respectfully and discussing everyone’s needs and expectations we can improve the situation.
Because each is capable, I look forward to what each child can bring to the class and believe that only effort stands in the way of each child acquiring any skill. Of course, each of us is unique with different strengths and struggles so I expect that each skill will require a different amount of effort from each person. For some reason, our children struggle in a huge way with not being fantastic at skills the first time they try. I’m not sure when it happens. Babies try and fail and try again to walk and talk but before our kids are in school they feel less confident when they are not immediately successful. My goal is to communicate to all students that they are capable of learning each skill and although they may be fortunate enough to have some skills come naturally, some skills will require considerable effort and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, the effort is valuable and praised because it makes them strong and brave and shows what they’re really made of.
Because each is precious, that is, immeasurably valuable, I strive to create an environment where everyone is treated with respect and is free to express themselves safely. To this end I will not accept unkind talk between any members of the class. I know we all get frustrated with each other at times, parents find that children are not paying attention or are making silly mistakes, children find that parents are chatting with each other or forgot an item on the homework. We all make mistakes and unkind talk only increases the frustration. I have found Barbara Coloroso’s book “Kids are Worth it” really helpful myself in this regard (and many other parenting issues!) Non-violent communication is another resource to look into.