Assertive vs. Accusative Statements

When problem behavior shows up, it can be challenging to express ourselves in a manner that will encourage students to change their behavior, particularly in the moment.  When we express our words in the form of an accusation, typically, we are met with resistance.  Try instead, to simply state your message as an “I need” statement, ending with an expression of thanks.  Here are some examples:

Shift From:

Shift To:

“You are being too noisy!” 

“I need to concentrate.  Can we talk later?  Thanks!”

“You are blocking the aisle and I move through.”  

“I need to navigate the room so that I can help other students.  Could you slide your legs under the chair?  Thanks!”

Source:  Kristen Stuart Valdes, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility