Category Archives for How To Teach

The Amazing Power of I-Statements

Blog Post

“I-statements?!” Not again! Honestly, if I knew the theme for the study group was going to be “I Statements” that evening, I probably would have skipped it. I have heard many trainers teach participants how to form “I-statements”, and I completely understand how to create one. “I-statements” are used when you want to broach a serious subject that might be upsetting to a person. This way the person you are talking to might not get defensive and shut you out.

This trainer was different. She explained that “I-statements” could be used for setting limits or making requests. For example, if a kid is upsetting you and you want him/her to stop making the sound that reminds you of fingers on a chalkboard, instead of saying “Stop!” or “Cut it out!”, you could say, “I feel anxious when you make that sound, please stop.”

Examples from home:

  • I feel frustrated when the living room gets messy.
  • I feel worried when you are out past curfew.
  • I feel stressed out when music is too loud.
  • I feel disappointed when dishes aren’t rinsed off before they go in the sink.

Shocked, I say! I can’t begin to tell you how shocked I was to see these “I-statements” work in my own life. Working with a particularly challenging group of students, I used “I would appreciate it if everyone would sit down in their seats.” They all sat down! Not only did they all sit, but they stopped talking and looked up at me, ready to listen! It was amazing! Before I used “I statements”, it was about a 50-50 chance that the students would respond appropriately.

I know. This probably sounds a bit silly, but using “I-statements” has great potential. Try it out! Let me know how it goes. I would love to hear from you!

I Love Teaching: Never Stop Learning

Becoming a lifelong learner is admirable in my book. Learning a new skill, concept, or way of thinking can be exhilarating and play a big role in defining who we are. Yet often we are not certain where to start or how to best explore our interests, our ideas, and our passions.

Learning how to learn may not always be easy, but the rewards can be bountiful. Recently I was working with an adult who was reading an important passage from a book. He said, “I know there’s more to this. I know there is a deeper meaning. I just don’t know how to figure it out.”

This caused me to reflect on the ways in which I analyze for a deeper understanding of what I am reading.  At first, I thought, “I don’t know how I do it. I just do it.”  Finally, I had to read the passage for myself to gain insight into my methodology. In order to teach this skill set, I had to break the process up into small, clear pieces:

  1. Read the passage.
  2. Determine the main idea.
  3. Read the first sentence.
  4. Underline any words you believe are important in the first sentence.
  5. Ask yourself:
    1. Why was this word chosen?
    2. What other meanings could it have?
    3. How does this word impact the meaning of the sentence?
  6. Connect the sentence with yourself:
    1. Does the sentence make sense to you?
    2. Do you agree or disagree with what was said?
    3. Does the statement remind you of anything from your own experiences and your own life?
    4. How can I apply or use this information?
  7. Repeat for the last sentence.

The first and last sentences are key because they often introduce and summarize the paragraph. You can then choose anything that interests you from the middle.

The person I was working with tested out this procedure with me. He was very happy to have a tool for helping him to analyze text that is important to him. Now he can do this on his own.

I love teaching!