Preschool through IB Middle School

Responsive Classroom: Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting Language

Paige Paradis, 2nd Grade Teacher
This week we will wrap up our discussion of "Teacher Language" with an article revisiting the three types of language that we can use with our children: Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting.  As we've noticed, our language, both as teachers and as parents, is one of our most powerful tools in creating a positive and constructive environment.  Responsive Classroom teaches that there are three main types of language, and there is an appropriate time and place to use each, although we should aim to use Reinforcing language when possible while communicating with our children throughout the day.  In this article, you will find wonderful examples of common phrases or discussions that we have with our children on a daily basis coupled with an RC variation that will send a more clear, concise, and overall positive message.  You will also find several key ideas to keep in mind when using these three types of language when communicating with your children that will lead to a calmer, more positive experience on both sides:

Goals when using Reinforcing Language:
  • "Name concrete and specific behaviors."
  • "De-emphasize your personal approval."
  • "Avoid holding one student up as an example for others."
  • "Find positives to reinforce in all students."
Goals when using Reminding Language:
  • "Prompt children to remember for themselves."
  • "Use neutral tone and body language."
  • "Be brief."
  • "Watch for follow-through."
Goals when using Redirecting Language:
  • "Be direct and specific."
  • "Say what to do."
  • "State a redirection as a statement."
  • "Follow up with action if necessary."

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Boulder Country Day School, where academic distinction meets education with character. BCD is a top rated, accredited private school in Boulder, Colorado where every child has the opportunity to discover his or her own unique excellence. Distinguished by small class sizes, outstanding faculty, engaging academics and a focus on community, our preschool, elementary and IB middle school teachers strive to create a well-rounded educational environment that balances traditional subjects with the arts, world languages, athletics and project-based learning.