13 Common Sayings to Avoid in the Classroom and at Home

It might make me Captain Obvious to say that the language we use in the classroom is integral to the environment we seek to create.  This is so important that I believe that this is the theme of our first in-service a week from this Friday.

This list, from the esteemed Edutopia blog, reminds teachers and parents alike of a baker’s dozen of really unhelpful and downright toxic statements to make to our students or children:

  1. “You have potential, but don’t use it.”
  2. “I’m disappointed in you.”
  3. “What did you say?”
  4. “If I do that for you, I’ll have to do it for everyone”
  5. “It’s against the rules.”
  6. “Your brother/sister was better than you.”
  7. “I like the way n is sitting”
  8. “You’ll never amount to anything”
  9. “Who do you think you are?”
  10. “Don’t you ever stop talking?”
  11. “I’m busy now.”
  12. “The whole class will miss unless someone admits to y
  13. “What is wrong with you?”

The author’s conclusion is thoughtful:

If a teacher loses his [or her] temper or gets frustrated and says one of these things once or even twice during the year, it’s understandable. For most students, a rare mishap makes no difference with a teacher who they respect and like. But if trust hasn’t been established, students are less forgiving when they feel insulted or wronged. On the other hand, we can say something nice or neutral that might be heard by a student as an insult. These instances are hard to avoid. What we can avoid is saying things that we know in advance are hurtful.

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