Adapting the Practices of Successful Teachers at Home

This blog series is aimed at helping educators with virtual teaching in a time of uncertainty and challenge.

At CT3, we train teachers to achieve true student engagement by embedding the No-Nonsense Nurturer approach into all of teachers’ interactions with students each day. By utilizing the four steps of the No-Nonsense Nurturer model, teachers provide a consistent and positive classroom environment where every minute of class time is used for learning.

In our current situation, where most families are isolated at home due to mandatory COVID-19 stay-at-home guidelines, we recognize that families are both enjoying and grappling with long hours together. The demands to both parent and educate can be overwhelming and relentless. Parents are now responsible for not only working from home but also providing a safe, consistent learning and play environment for their child(ren) 24/7. We offer these adaptations of the No-Nonsense Nurturer model in hopes to support harmony and order for families during this unprecedented time.

First, what is No-Nonsense Nurturer?

The No-Nonsense Nurturer model was developed over several years by observing highly successful teachers in action, then creating a coaching system to support teachers in adopting these effective strategies in their classrooms. No-Nonsense Nurturers change lives because they believe all students deserve a classroom in which their voices are heard and their intellects are developed. No-Nonsense Nurturers consistently:

  • Provide clear and precise directions for behaviors, as well as the “how” and the “what” of learning.
  • Utilize positive narration, or language that is specific and reinforces how to learn. For example, a teacher might verbally recognize students who are including evidence in their writing to support their claim.
  • Employ accountability systems so students can be celebrated for their efforts to meet high expectations and understand the drawbacks of not following directions.
  • Build life-altering relationships with students and their families and create a safe environment where students feel safe, and are comfortable to take academic risks (Hammond, 2015).

How might parents employ the No-Nonsense Nurturer model at home?

  • Precise Directions. When asking our children to follow our requests for behaviors or tasks we can:
    • Stick to a regular visual schedule. Post it, communicate it, stick to it.
    • Give a time check before transitions: “You have 10 minutes left of screen time before you start your writing worksheets.” Use songs (if age appropriate)- to indicate transitions.
    • Provide specificity for behaviors as well as the “how” and the “what” of our request. For example, if a parent’s request is that their children start their academic work, then it is most effective if the request is in direct language and includes details. Instead of, “Complete your worksheets,” try, “I expect you to use complete sentences in your responses, use your best handwriting and complete pages 1-3 silently within 20 minutes. The timer starts now.”
  • Positive Narration. To recognize and reinforce our children, we can:
    • Consistently use positive language that is specific and reinforces requested behavior. For example, a parent might notice, aloud, his child writing in complete sentences, or on page 2 of her worksheet. For littles, narrate what you are doing to make teachable moments out of the mundane, “Now I’m filling up the sink with water and soap to wash dishes.”
  • Accountability Systems (Incentives and Consequences).
    • Incentives: Develop a family point system so your children can work collaboratively towards a meaningful family goal. The idea of working together to earn a pre-determined incentive (e.g., free and short rewards such as a family board game, a family movie or a favorite meal) promotes connection and teamwork. Track points with tally marks on a whiteboard or piece of paper tacked to the fridge. “You two got off of your screens before the timer went off. That’s a family point. We are three points away from getting to watch Frozen 2!”
    • Consequences: Develop a hierarchy of non-severe consequences that your kids know will happen if they don’t comply with requests. Post your hierarchy so your children know that each time they don’t comply they will earn a consequence. Communicate that you care too much about them to allow them to not be their most responsible and best selves. An example might be: 1) warning, 2) 5-minutes of independent reflection (this time can change depending on your child’s age), and finally 3) loss of a privilege such as screen time. Whatever you decide, stick to it and do it the same way every time. As child development expert Janet Lansbury says, “Our boundaries mean we see you, we love you, we care enough to make an effort, an effort that children always sense and appreciate.”
  • Build Life-Altering Relationships. To nurture authentic relationships parents can:
    • Designate one-on-one time (20 minutes) with each child with no agenda.
      • The child can lead the way of what you both can do together.
      • This may include simply observing the child as he/she plays, cooking together, reading together, or watching their current favorite videos on TikTok.
    • Apologize if you lose your temper.
    • Spend 10 minutes just listening to their child, resisting the urge to “fix” them. Use open-ended questions such as:
      • What are you feeling?
      • What do you really wish for right now?
      • What would you really like to say and to whom?
      • What is a major complaint you have right now?
      • What is one thing you are really proud of right now?

The cornerstone of being a No-Nonsense Nurturer is building meaningful relationships with students. This public health crisis has brought stress to all of us, and family units feel this acutely, which can strain relationships. We hope applying No-Nonsense Nurturer practices at home can help to alleviate some of the emotional toll on parents and children and boost and support structure for families during this time of uncertainty.

By Heidi Towne and Leah Pearson, Associates, CT3 Education

Our self-paced No-Nonsense Nurturer online course is taken by thousands of educators every year. Click here to access hours of content, classroom resources, and hundreds of videos, including interviews with real teachers on how they build relationships.
Check out CT3 Education programs such as No-Nonsense Nurturer, Real Time Teacher Coaching, and Real Time Leadership Coaching to find out more about Professional Development for Teachers and Leaders, classroom management strategies, and building relationships with students and their families.
Category: No-Nonsense Nurturer, Teaching