Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spot the Control Freak

From a comment by Chris Biffle on the Whole Brain Teaching Forum:

Short talk/long talk is a strategy we use to reduce the potential for argument when we have to have a one-on-one talk with students about their behavior. We introduce the strategy in class by saying something like the following, "Someday I may have to take you aside and have a talk with you about how you're behaving in class. When we are alone, I'll give you the option of having a short talk or a long talk. You can choose! But I strongly advise you to pick 'short talk' because if we have a long talk, I'll be the one doing all the talking and you may not enjoy what I have to say."

Then, we have students explain short talk/long talk to each other.

When the day comes when you have to take a student aside, you say, "short talk or long talk?" Kids appreciate being given the choice ... so, make your point briefly and the one on one conversation is over. What we want to avoid is a back and forth confrontation that may raise your student's or your! emotional temperature.

I first tried short talk/long talk years ago when I was coaching a girls middle school basketball team ... and it worked wonderfully. It's a great way for you to make the point you need to make ... and then move back in to your normal teaching routine.


  1. PsychMom says:

    "What we want to avoid is a back and forth confrontation"

    What we want to avoid is teaching children how to express themselves, how to argue effectively, or to ever have their own opinion about anything.

    And what's wrong with a little emotion...aside from the permasmile I envision on a Whole Brain teacher's face.

  2. I've rarely found that children have a problem having opinions or expressing themselves. I have seen problems in HOW they express those opinins.

    It's true that children need to have several different ways to express themselves. However, it's also necessary that they learn when and how to do so. Many are taught at home that whatever they want is what should happen right that moment and that doesn't work so well for learning -- at home or in school.

  3. Heh. An epistle for the marginal. Short talk/Long talk - "Doublespeak for Dummies"