The Progression

January 2016

How to Counsel a Student (Instead of Just Giving Out Consequences)

Sometimes just saying “stop doing that” doesn't really cut it. How, as a teacher, are you supposed to go about having a meaningful conversation that would make a real difference and produce lasting change? Let Habit #5 help you. Check out the tips below:

1. Seek first to understand. Sure, we can plan out a speech and deliver it perfectly, but if we really want to make a difference, we have to first understand where the student is coming from and what they are thinking. So before you start talking, try to understand their point of view. Then once you understand the underlying reason behind their behavior or decision, you can actually deal with the heart of the issue instead of just the surface problems.

2. Ask questions and wait quietly for their response. In order to understand a student’s point of view, you have to ask them questions. And if they hesitate to answer them, you just have to wait. Too often we want to jump in to fill the silence, but it’s okay to let the silence sit there for awhile. Normally the student will speak up eventually if we wait patiently. When they do start talking, try the phrase, “tell me more about that.”

3. Tell them what they need to hear (not what they want to hear). The essence of wise counseling is telling students the truth that they need to hear, even if they don’t like it. Please don’t think you’re sparing the student’s feelings by leaving out the hard truth or telling them what they want to hear. You’re actually doing them a huge disservice.

4. Speak the truth in love. If we truly care, we will tell them the truth. But at the same time, we must speak with love and kindness for our words to have any impact. The student needs to be focused on the truth being spoken and not distracted by a teacher’s demeaning attitude. Yelling at the student will likely cause him to disregard your message and will just result a hilarious story for him to tell his friends. Instead, speak calmly and kindly so that the student must honestly evaluate his own actions and not yours.

5. Seek wisdom and advice. When you don’t know what to do, ask for help.

Getting "Appy" With It

The Great Pencil Challenge

Here are some ideas to keep pencils in your student's hands:


1. Label each student's pencil with their name or number. Assign the next "check in" date. If they still have their pencil on the check in date, reward them!

2. Give each student a lead pencil with enough lead to last a set amount of time. If they break, lose their pencil, or run out of lead before a specific date, then they have to use the "old" yellow pencils.

3. Buy a really good sharpener and have a leader that is the only one allowed to use the sharpener. All of the pencils are shared by all of the students. If students had a "special pencil" that they want to use, ask them to take it home to use on homework.

4. Accidents do happen and pencil tips to break in the middle of your lessons. Keep a cup of sharpened pencils that students may borrow if this happens during a lesson. Put a small piece of duct tape at the top of the pencil near the eraser so you can easily identify your pencil. If students need to borrow a pencil during a lesson, they leave their pencil next to the Teacher's Pencil Cup and borrow one from the cup.