The Choice is Yours

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By Wayne Russell

Love and Logic principles have been used in countless American classrooms. Have you used them in a classroom outside the United States?  Any success stories? Have you found you needed to adapt any of the principles due to cultural differences?  We would love to hear your stories and perspectives.

Here is one of my stories using a love and logic principle. The principle could be described as sharing control by giving students choices.

I had a student that was having a difficult time beginning his independent work.  He had zero motivation to even write his name on the page.  I decided to move him to a new desk. "Do you want to sit here on this small chair or this big chair?"  Not surprisingly, he chose the big chair.

When I walked past his desk three minutes later, I was still not satisfied with his level of effort.  I decided to continue with giving him choices. "Do you want to stand and do your work or sit and do your work?" His response initially caught me off guard, "Stand on the chair and do my work." With a calm and neutral tone I replied, "That was not a choice. Do you want to stand and do your work or sit and do your work?" Again he responded that he wanted to stand on the chair.  I then went into 'broken record' mode: "That was not a choice. Do you want to stand and do your work or sit and do your work?"

Finally after asking him my stand or sit question five times, he decided he would like to sit on the chair and do his work. Yes, this was a little mental and emotional workout, trying not to look frustrated and annoyed.  But the payoff was worth it.

On my walk past this student five minutes later, he was actively working on his independent work.

Try giving your students choices. Give them some control.  Remember, your choices should both be good for you so no matter what they choose, you get the result you want.  I like using the following simple example during training sessions.  When our two-year old daughter is fussing over getting dressed, we simply give her a choice.  "Do you want to put your shorts on first, or your shirt on first?" No matter which one she chooses, the end result is the same: she gets dressed.

Remember, share a Love and Logic story with us.