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Theories of Congruent Communication

Haim G. Ginott (19221973) School teacher Child psychologist Psychotherapist Parent educator

Communication?
Refers to speaking with others in ways that foster goodwill.

Strengthening Communication?
Speaking in ways that show consideration Support Validates them as individuals

Why?
Pupils get along better Cooperate with you and each other

Congruent Communication
Saying things that are helpful to students while harmonious with their feelings about situations and themselves.
Addresses misbehaviour & accidents WITHOUT embarrassing students or putting them on the defensive.

Teachers at their best...


Do NOT
Preach Moralise Impose guilt Demand promises

Confer dignity by treating them as social equals capable of making good decisions

Teachers at their worst...


Label students Belittle them Denigrate their character
Do these inadvertently, unaware of the detrimental effect on students

How Congruent Communication Works?


What are the examples?

Why Questions
Makes no use of why questions that carry blame!
Examples:
Why didnt you finish this work? Why am I having to tell you again?

Alternative?
Example:
When do you think you can have the work completed?

Moralistic Lectures
Avoid this type of lecture!
Examples:
Youre not making any efforts... You will never get anywhere in life...

It should be...
Example:
Have another try. Lets see what you can do

Caustic @ Sarcastic Remarks


DO NOT USE these remarks!
Example:
Thats odd...thats the fourth time youve lost your exercise book.

Congruent statement should be... Example: It is important that this work be done well. When do you think you will have it?

Students Feelings
Does not deny students feelings with these statements...
Examples:
You are too big to cry. You have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Alternative...
Example:
I can see this is troubling you quite a bit.

Student Cooperation
Does not demand student cooperation by saying...
Example:
Get back in your seat and get to work. Its time you carried your end of the load.

It should be...
Example:
I could really use your help

Patience!
Never lose your temper @ self-control
Example:
Sit down and shut your mouth!

You should... Take a deep breath Say nothing for a few seconds...
Example:
Lets think for a moment about this.

I-messages VS you-messages
The best way to correct behaviour is simply to remind students how to behave properly. Use I-messages instead of you-messages.
I-messages: Tell you how you feel personally I feel the noise level is a bit too high. you-messages: Attack or blame the student You are so noisy nobody can think.

Remember...
Never deny or ignore a child's feelings. Only behavior is treated as unacceptable, not the child. Depersonalize negative interactions by mentioning only the problem. "I see a messy room." Attach rules to things, e.g., "Little sisters are not for hitting."

Dependence breeds hostility. Let children do for themselves what they can. Children need to learn to choose, but within the safety of limits. "Would you like to wear this blue shirt or this red one?" Limit criticism to a specific eventdon't say "never", "always", as in: "You never listen," "You always manage to spill things", etc. Refrain from using words that you would not want the child to repeat.

Quotes from Teacher and Child


I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized.