How Love and Logic Changed Me (& my students) for the Better
My first years in the classroom I used a standard behavior chart. You know the one- Each student was given a number, and had 4 different colored apples with their number in our pocket chart. For each infraction, they got a warning, and then consequences that progressed as the color of their apple changed. The same kids kept their apples red day after day. And the same kids had their apples change color day after day. The chart was ineffective in improving behaviors, and I quickly tired of giving warnings, and consequences that didn't work. I left school feeling frustrated, tired, and disappointed.
Then, I learned about Love and Logic. And everything changed.
Love and Logic is a philosophy that was developed by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, MD. It is an approach that is built around strong relationships, logical consequences and healthy decision making. They have curriculum for parents and educators. I was fortunate that our school social worker was holding the Teaching with Love and Logic class in our school. Immediately I knew that THIS was how I wanted to be as a teacher, and that this was who I was as a person.
Love and Logic has several skills that they use in their teaching curriculum. I began to implement them right away, and the results were drastic!
One of the first skills I used was neutralizing arguing. All too often I was getting hooked into an argument with a student, and no one would win! We would just wind up frustrated with each other! I started using Love and Logic one liners when a student would try to hook me into an argument and it worked! I was able to stay calm and not engage with the argument, and they quickly learned that I couldn't be hooked. My favorites were the sympathetic "oooooh", "I know." and "What did I say?" delivered in a calm voice, and without sarcasm.
Another skill that was easy to implement right away was building relationships with my students. I made sure to take the time to get to know my students, laugh and play with them and share with them about me. By developing a strong relationship with my students, they were able to trust me and want to do their best for me. I take 10 minutes out of each morning to work on relationships with my kids. (read about it here) I know that my relationships I have built with even the toughest kids have saved me from many misbehaviors and minimized so many issues!
Love and Logic also teaches about giving choices when things are going well, so we can share control with our kids. Then when we need to we can make the choice, and kids won't fight us since their need for control has been met. It was so simple to add choices into our day- Do you want to read this book or that book? Would you like to write in pencil or pen? Do you want to do evens or odds? Do you want 5 minutes or 7 minutes of computer time? Lots of little choices throughout our day, allowed my students to feel in control. This allowed them to feel safe in our classroom, and they knew they could trust me.
Lastly, I started telling my students what I would do or allow, rather than telling them what to do. Using enforceable statements, I took control of my actions, rather than trying to control my students' actions. "I take quiet lines to lunch." "I allow kids who finish their work to have computer time." "I'm happy to send kids to recess who clean up their work." I could control what happened, rather than telling my students what to do. This was life changing!
As I tried out my new strategies, my students responded. Behaviors improved, arguing decreased, and I was able to leave at the end of the day knowing that I had handled things in a respectful and loving way that allowed me to have more fun with my students. My students knew the limits, and knew what was expected. And after sometime, used some of my tricks on each other! (They got pretty good at my one liners!)
To this day, I don't use a behavior chart, and stray from strict reward systems. I use the tenets of Love and Logic to guide my behavior management, and am able to have fun while doing it!
Have you tried any Love and Logic strategies with your class?