Narrate the Positive

I taught for a number of years in a remarkable middle school where student trust and cooperation were earned. Put another way, classroom management was a constant challenge.

One of the most effective classroom management techniques is to “narrate the positive”. That is, to verbally recognize the excellence and effort that you see. Even if it is only one or two students, calling out these positive exemplars can transform a classroom.

I see Mr. Smith has closed his Chromebook and is thoughtfully annotating the text.

I see Mr. Johnson is carefully editing his partner’s story according to the rubric. Outstanding.

Soon, the whole class is caught in the virtuous cycle.

What if we chose to do this more in public life?

I appreciate your generous risk-taking when you…

And what if we did this in the church?  

I appreciate how you vulnerably live your vocation because…

Let’s commit to imaginatively narrate the positive more often.