School Climate & Safety Opinion

The Effect of Teachers’ Responses on Students’ Responses

By David Ginsburg — January 29, 2011 1 min read
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Here’s a scenario I present at new teacher induction workshops: Teacher A and Teacher B are reading a book with their classes. After a few days, students in both classes complain that the book is boring. And here’s how both teachers respond:

Teacher A: Well, not everything in life is going to be interesting or exciting, but sometimes you’re going to have to do it anyway. Next reader.

Teacher B: I’ve read my share of boring books, so I know how you feel. On the bright side, some books get better as you move along. Let’s see if that’s the case with this one. Either way, I’d welcome your suggestions for books to read in the future.

I then ask inductees--just as I’m now asking you--the following questions, with the stipulation that both teachers’ responses in this scenario are indicative of how they respond to students in general:

  • Which teacher is more likely to have discipline problems?
  • Which teacher is more likely to elicit students’ cooperation?
  • All else being equal, which teacher’s students are more likely to learn to their potential?

Just one more question: Which teacher are you?

Image provided by GECC, LLC with permission

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