Which Words Invite Students to Learn?

Teacher langauge can powerfully influence how students see themselves as learners. ASCD author Jenny Edwards shared several tips from her book, Inviting Students to Learn: 100 Tips for Talking Effectively with Your Students, during her Fall Conference session this weekend.

For example, putting challenges in the past by saying things like, “You used to think you couldn’t do that,” or “You had that problem.” Edwards added using “that” instead of “this” puts even more distance between the student and former struggles.

Pointing out growth is another way to recognize effort and help students identify as learners. “Do you remember when you were first learning to write your name? Now look at how you are writing it! Bet you feel good about that.”

Even when your language conveys your belief in your students’ abilities, they may not always believe you. Edwards recommends citing another source, i.e., “Your math teacher says you’re really good with fractions,” or “Your coach said you’re a really hard worker.”

Which words or phrases do you use to invite students to learn?

Get more tips like these in the Conference Daily, where you’ll find practical content from several sessions at last week’s conference, including habits of mind, teacher leadership, and a student’s perspective on engagement.


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