The Dos and Dont’s of Classroom Rules [SLIDE]

Poking around my feed reader the other day, I stumbled across a great Smartblogs bit titled Build Your Desired Culture with Do Messages written by S. Chris Edmonds. 

The author's central contention was one that I've heard before — norms for professional teams should always be written as positive instead of negative statements. 

What I hadn't heard before was the rationale behind that choice. 

Turns out your brain can process positive messages — do statements — faster than it can process negative messages.

That pesky "don't" that we put at the beginning of so many of the statements that we make to govern behavior just plain gets in the brain's way — and the consequences can be pretty severe:

(click to enlarge)


Download Slide_DosandDonts


Pretty interesting stuff, huh? It's already making me rethink the words and phrases that I use in my classroom with my middle school students. 

If Edmonds is right, one simple language change could save me a whole BUNCH of frustrating moments and help me to create a learning environment where my students will be more successful by default. 


3 thoughts on “The Dos and Dont’s of Classroom Rules [SLIDE]

  1. Bill Ferriter

    Michelle wrote:
    I love how the kids are holding each other accountable because of them
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Thats cool, isnt it Michelle! I think thats another one of the powerful reminders/advantages in do statements: They make it easier for students to recognize what expected behaviors look like — and they get kids looking for examples of positive behaviors in action instead of negative behaviors.
    Its like a constant circle of reinforcement….
    Glad you dug this…

  2. Michelle Baldwin (@michellek107)

    Love this, my friend!
    In our class (and our entire school), we spent time with our kids creating our Code of Conduct… built entirely of what we WILL do. Those “DO” messages are indeed powerful, and I love how the kids are holding each other accountable because of them.
    Thanks for sharing!

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