Engagement: INVITE vs Direct
How the words we choose make a difference
During this past week, I have had many life-giving teaching conversations.
We are piloting a new curriculum for literacy and it is the most excited I have ever been for a program. Immersion is the word that comes to mind when I think of all the experiences which are created.
Students are immersed in a reading writing workshop where the pace is quick but not hurried. Every time I visit a classroom I forget about the time. Late last week I was in a 7th grade room where the students were working with character related to the setting in a novel.
In the debrief with the teacher I made the observation that students do not have a problem discussing what they are supposed to during the turn and talk portions of the lessons. Traditionally, if the routines are not clearly established students will go rogue with their conversations and talk about lunch or the neighborhood instead of what they are supposed to. It is often a struggle for teachers. In this program, I have not seen that at all. There might be a side comment but it is always AFTER they have discussed their point in relation to the materials. I asked the teacher why she thought that might be.
After a moment of thinking, she said in the directions the word INVITE is used often. It states “invite the students to pair up” and “invite the students to share their thoughts…” Her conclusion was the emotion the teacher feels when you invite is different than when you direct so the mindset and the way the teacher feels in their body makes a difference and changes the culture of the room. I think she is right.
I challenge you — what will you invite people to join you in today? A read-aloud? A writing activity? A conversation? Feel the emotion in your body when you say the words. Try it — I think you will be amazed at the difference.