Positive Behavior Intervention and Support: Words of Encouragement

Your school is full of at-risk students. In fact, every single student in your class is at-risk. The misbehaving student, the apathetic student, the confused student, the gifted student—they each have unique challenges that confront them on a daily basis and put them at risk of not reaching their potential. That’s where encouragement comes in. We all need encouragement! An effective Positive Behavior Support and Intervention (PBIS) program offers students encouragement when they face academic challenges, struggle with tough choices, or feel insecure about what to do.

21What Best Practice Language (BPL) can teachers use to encourage their students?  Teachers should consider using Words of Encouragement. Words of Encouragement are specific and supportive words that rally students with the courage to overcome challenges, obstacles, barriers, failures, defeats, fears, apathy, etc. They encourage students to overcome fears and failure and to try—try again. These words inspire students with the desire, courage and confidence to do the right thing for themselves and others. They are words that convey “I believe in you!” The following BPL examples demonstrate an awareness of student needs and offer students genuine encouragement based on those needs.

“I know that you are still struggling with your reading, but every day you are working harder and harder and you are improving. We will continue to work together and by the end of the year I believe you will be caught up with the skills you need to be successful next year.”

“You’ve been working so hard to improve your behavior in the classroom. I realize it takes so much concentration and it’s not an easy task. In fact I am going to call your parents and tell them what a great job you are doing!”

37Encouraging students and helping students overcome their insecurities is key to their academic and social success. What might not appear to be a big deal to some students—like asking a question, answering a question or sharing ideas—seems like a huge risk for insecure students. Insecure students feel vulnerable and the fear of being embarrassed inhibits their actions and limits their ability to do the right thing.  The following Words of Encouragement promote a classroom environment where students are encouraged and feel safe to offer their best.

“Whenever learning becomes difficult for you don’t allow yourself to feel stupid or embarrassed because then you might become discouraged and give up. It is my job to help you avoid those feelings by answering all of your questions and teaching you how to learn new information.”

“I know you might be afraid to speak out in class, but I promise that I want to hear what you have to say, what you believe, and the questions you have.”

“There are no dumb questions! The best way to learn from each other is by asking questions.  Your questions can help us all understand things better.”

“I heard how you handled that situation with your classmate. It took a lot of courage to do the right thing, and I am really thankful that you did that for your classmate.”

This post is part four in a series of posts on what Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) “sounds like” in the classroom. The original post can be found at: eyeoneducation.com