Every class has a student or two (or five) that aren’t quite on board with your classroom agenda. They disrupt class, cause trouble, and, in general, make teaching difficult.
At times, you may feel like avoiding these students. But truth be told, intentionally connecting with them can make all the difference.
Have you heard of the “2 x 10 Challenge”?
It’s incredibly simple.
First, identify a challenging student with whom you need to build rapport. Then, talk with them for two minutes a day for the next ten school days. That’s it! You can talk about anything and everything, not just classroom-related topics. In fact, the less the conversations focus on your class, the better.
It sounds crazy simple, but it makes such a difference because you are showing the student that you see him or her as more than just a behavior problem. You are helping the student get to know you and see that you are more than just an enforcer of rules. You are also a parent, a friend, a basketball guru—whatever it is. Most importantly, you are letting that student know that you care about him or her!
Through these small, unassuming conversations, real rapport can emerge. And that rapport can make all the difference in that student’s attitude and actions.
Now, if two minutes a day feels unrealistic (and if you are juggling 110 different students, it just might be), you can use the “One Sentence Intervention” (created by Love and Logic) instead. Using this modification, rather than talking for two minutes, you simply share one sentence with the student—something you noticed about him or her. For example, you might tell the student, “I noticed you love drawing,” or “I noticed you always wear cool shoes.”
Repeat the one-sentence intervention at least four to five times over a week or two, noticing something different each time. The point isn’t even necessarily to compliment the student, but simply to demonstrate that you see him or her and notice his or her interests.
So many incredible turnarounds have happened after teachers use the 2 x 10 Challenge or the One Sentence Intervention. But, even if you don’t see a miraculous change, you will still be laying important groundwork, and you can build on that connection in the future.
You truly have nothing to lose and everything to gain by connecting with your students. So why not identify one student to begin with and start right away!
Linda Kardamis taught middle school math before founding Teach 4 the Heart. She is the author of Create Your Dream Classroom and Take Heart and Teach and the creator of Classroom Management 101. She and her husband are raising their four kids in Northeast Ohio.
The Teach 4 the Heart podcast provides ideas and inspiration to help you overcome your teaching challenges and make a lasting difference in your students’ hearts and lives. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or at teach4theheart.com/podcast.
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