All of the No-Nonsense Nurturers I know, and I know many, use please and thank you in their classrooms often. At CT3, we encourage and coach teachers to model the use of mainstream cultural norms—which include please and thank you amongst others. We also encourage teachers to use please and thank you when communicating to students that a request is a choice and to recognize when students are demonstrating courtesy.
A key distinction for No-Nonsense Nurturers is for teachers to limit please and thank you when giving precise directions to students. We do this because we do not want directions to seem optional in the classroom, but rather to set high expectations for all students to be successful. Directions are essential in every classroom and for some students, they are the “GPS” to success – often communicating the what, how and urgency of student success.
Acknowledgement and praise are important and powerful tools in a classroom. As such, we feel they should be used when students show grit, resilience, perseverance or achieve academic goals they have set for themselves. No-Nonsense Nurturers build growth mindsets in all students so they can see perceived failures as opportunities to learn and challenge themselves. We have seen that permission-seeking language, such as “please”, when inserted into directions can often undercut a teacher’s communication of urgency and high expectations for students. This nuance is one of a myriad of practices we recommend to ensure educators are successful in supporting their students.
It is important to note that we developed No-Nonsense Nurturer® by observing some of the highest performing teachers across the country. We are extremely proud of many of the results, whether it is supporting teachers to improve their on task engagement by 55% (or more), or supporting the leaders at East Tech in Cleveland to raise their graduation rate from 46% to 73% and scoring in the top 1% nationally for growth on the NWEA, or working with teachers unions to support their teachers with quality professional development to support new evaluations systems. I think we do have an interesting story at CT3—a story that is not about using please or thank you-but is about standing with educators and supporting them in good teaching practices to ensure all students succeed.
For additional information/research, you might find these resources helpful:
“Creating Environments of Success and Resilience: Culturally Responsive Classroom Management and More” by Bondy et. Al. from Urban Education
“Please and thank you: Stop saying them so much. Please!” by Jeremy Sherman in Psychology Today
“The Teacher as Warm Demander” by Elizabeth Bondy and Dorene D. Ross from Educational Leadership
by Kristyn Klei Borrero, Ed.D., CEO and Co-Founder of CT3
Kristyn is a consummate educator who has an unparalleled ability to make a profound and positive difference in the professional lives of the educators with whom she works. For the last twenty years she has committed herself to improving the education of students in traditionally disenfranchised communities as a classroom teacher, principal, area superintendent, and as the co-founder of CT3.
To hear more information on No-Nonsense Nurturer and Real Time Teacher Coaching, check out this live interview from Kristyn on Soundcloud from January 2016: