Words of Grace demonstrate love, patience, and respect for students in spite of what they do. These words help us acknowledge that “we all make mistakes,” and “nobody’s perfect.” Words of Grace are not antagonistic, and they do not harbor ill feelings. They demonstrate forgiveness and offer students another chance! When teachers use Words of Grace, they convey the promise of second chances and students feel rejuvenated. Students gain confidence and the assurance that “in spite of what I’ve done, my teacher still believes that I can do this!”
A Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program is strengthened when educators use Words of Grace. Antagonistic words are destructive; they build walls and cause students to act out in ways that are negative. Words of Grace are constructive; they build relationships and cause students to act in ways that are more positive and uplifting. Educators and students experience and practice the power of forgiveness—when they use Words of Grace. Students benefit the most when Words of Grace are also connected with Words of Accountability and Words of High Expectations. The following Best Practice Language (BPL) examples highlight how Words of Grace are used to transform the classroom culture into a place where students are supported and encouraged to be their best, in spite of what they do.
Student returns from an out of school suspension for a defiant act towards you.
“We missed you—I am glad you are back.”
“It looks like you need a chance to redo this assignment. I know you can do better than this, and I want to help you get there.”
“You might be accustomed to people responding to your anger with their own anger. I’m not going to do that. In fact, I’m going to stay calm and focused on how to help you work through this.”
“The ‘not so good’ things you did in the past don’t have to affect what you do this year… we are all going to get off to a fresh start!”
Words of Grace…daily reminders
Remember…If the circumstances around a discipline issue are unclear, get as close to the truth of the matter, discuss the inappropriateness of the behavior and potential consequences, and then offer students the benefit of the doubt to defuse the situation rather than have it escalate.
Remember…Rather than harboring ill feelings for misbehaving students like the class clown, the attention seeker, the social butterfly or the constant talker—grant them grace and dig deep to get at the root of the problem.
Remember…There aren’t really any bad kids; there are just bad behaviors.
Remember…Grace is a powerful way to show patience and love for others.
This post is part nine 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