This past weekend I attended the ASCD Conference in Boston. One session that had an impact on me was facilitated by Randy Sprick, founder of the organization called Safe and Civil Schools. It had an impact on me because my take away wasn’t a new, improved way of doing something. Instead, it was a humble reminder that sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. The topic of the session was responding to student misbehavior and my take away message was the reminder of the 3:1 ratio in managing student behavior. If you’re not familiar with that ratio, it basically refers to three positive interactions for every one negative interaction. The twist I found on it was that I had always interpreted it as it applied in situations where you are specifically trying to change an individual students’ behavior. What I realized in the session was that a teacher trying to establish a positive classroom culture can also use this ratio to monitor their interactions with the whole class. In other words, your comments do not all have to be directed at the same student as you are publicly commenting to your class. As you are interacting with your class three positive public comments to each corrective comment can help build the positive trusting classroom environments we all strive for.
This is a basic concept that we all know but at this time of year, I found it an effective reminder. This week I am going to keep this in mind as I am walking the halls, greeting students in the morning and covering the cafeteria or recess duty.