My heartbeat quickened when I saw the 70 percent off advertisement, because I have had my eye on an enameled cast iron pan for quite a while. After going right to the website, I was disappointed to find that the item I have been wanting was not discounted enough for me to afford it. Confused, I looked back at the ad. That is when I saw it . . . the words Up to . . . Ugh! When I initially read it, all that registered in my brain was 70 percent off.
Many of you are shaking your heads, thinking it was obvious from the beginning. And some of you would have internalized the words the same way I did.
The same thing happens in our schools. It is why we are so careful when choosing our words with students. Although 98 percent of our students will hear the whole directive when we say, “Please don’t run in the halls,” 2 percent will hear “run in the halls” and think it is a great idea because they’ll get where they are going much faster.
If we want everyone to hear the message clearly and correctly, we will phrase things in such a way that if they attend only to the end, they will still be successful.
Don’t sit by your friends.Find a successful spot. Don’t walk around.Stay in one place. Get started without wasting time.Get started right away. Don’t talk to your friends.Read quietly the whole time. Don’t quit.Build stamina. Don’t pay attention to distractions.Ignore distractions.
Tune in to your written and verbal language this week. See if there are phrases you can tweak so that students, no matter how they hear you, will understand and perform the expectation with accuracy and independence.