Meet Me

Hi all! I'm a self-contained special education teacher from sunny Arizona! I teach k-3rd grade students with Down Syndrome, Developmental Delays, Cerebral Palsy and everything in between. I have a passion for organization, lists, and creating hands on activities for my learners!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Need for Positive Narratives in Young Special Needs Classrooms

What is a positive narrative?
Positive narration is a classroom management technique where the teacher highlights appropriate behavior out loud during instruction therefore minimizing inappropriate behavior. For example, "Marissa is doing a great job keeping her eyes on the teacher." or "Wow! I love how Lexi is cleaning up so quickly." The teacher ONLY highlights the positive behavior. Think of it as an extension of the old adage "praise in public and punish in private." These statements can be easily woven into instruction and, if used consistently, weave naturally into conversation.

Why use positive narratives?
For the most part, our students want to please us but every teacher knows that not every student knows the appropriate way to show it... especially in the special education classes. For many students, appropriate behavior in any setting doesn't come naturally. They need explicit instruction on how to act, where to stand, what to say, etc. By consistently narrating the appropriate behavior, you are helping your students learn what they should be doing. Students may still need explicit instruction on appropriate school behavior, but highlighting good behavior in context is incredibly meaningful. When students not showing appropriate behaviors listen to their peers get acknowledged for great behavior, their natural inclination is to observe and copy. 

Benefits of positive narration:
  • creates a positive atmosphere
  • builds student moral- students love getting their name called for good behavior
  • teaches appropriate behavior in real life context
  • negative behaviors become less frequent