Open Discussion Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

  • 1.  What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-21-2020 04:57 PM

    "I like that Mai is listening." "I like that Sami is waiting her turn." Using "I like" can result in children taking certain actions not because they know it's the right action but because they want to make their teacher happy or to get praise/recognition. What alternatives do you use to avoid this?



    ------------------------------
    Monica
    Pre-K Teacher
    Bay Area, CA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-23-2020 12:18 AM

    You're right that this phrasing can have negative impacts. What I recommend is a simple description of the behavior, usually focused on what the child is doing that matches the directions: "Jose is walking." "Isabelle is using a whisper voice." The format is "_student_ is ___ing"

    Then if you want to, you can add a description of why this is a notable behavior: "Jose is walking. That is safe." "Isabelle is using a whisper voice so her friends can concentrate." 

    This format helps children notice what they are doing well, and builds their inner voice with the positive impacts of their behavior. 



    ------------------------------
    Stephanie Thai
    POP Ed Consulting
    Erie CO
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-23-2020 07:08 AM

    If you substitute "I see" for "I like" you will be providing positive descriptive feedback to children who exhibit the behaviors or expectations you want to see. It removes the element of doing this to please the teacher, and sends the message that the child's efforts are seen and valued by the adults. You can make the statement even more powerful if you add a label such as "I see Amy waiting for her turn with the hole puncher, that's showing friendship skills!" or "I see Carlos sitting and looking at me, that's being a great listener!" State what you see (that you like or that you've taught), and add a label (the value or characteristic you hope to instill in the children). I hope this helps!



    ------------------------------
    Janice Stockman
    Brattleboro VT
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 28 days ago

    I will definitely apply this more in my interactions with children when "I see" they are taking the right actions.  



    ------------------------------
    Katherinne Dardon
    Newark CA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-23-2020 07:32 AM

    Conscious Discipline teaches the skill of noticing.  You can simply change your wording to "I noticed that Mai is listening" or "I see that Sami is waiting her turn."  This allows the children to recognize what they are doing without associating it with making their teacher like them.  



    ------------------------------
    Elizabeth Weller
    Director
    Park Place Children's Center
    Anderson IN
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-23-2020 09:32 AM
      |   view attached

    Elizabeth's comment about noticing in Conscious Discipline is so close! But it needs a couple of simple changes to make it truly the Conscious Discipline approach. CD teaches that "I talk" becomes "You talk" in the child's brain. When I say "I notice..." it becomes "You notice me when I..." The focus is still on the adult and not the child! It can lead to "I'll do this more so that you will notice me" rather than doing it out of intrinsic motivation. Also, when you use the child's name in the third person ("Mai is..."), your are basically announcing to the class that Mai is listening. This implies that Mai should listen to get the attention of her peers, There is also an underlying message that Mai is being good while others are being bad. Always begin noticing statements with "YOU."

    The full CD formula for noticing positive acts (called "Language of Encouragement') is: "You [describe the behavior] so {describe how it benefits others]. That was {add a positive label]. The statement becomes: "You are listening quietly so everyone can hear. That is helpful." This translates in Mai's brain to "I am listening quietly so everyone can hear. I am helpful." This is the way to build intrinsic motivation, and also her belief that she is a helpful person. When she believes she is a helpful person, she is more likely to act in a helpful way!

    I uploaded a poster (4 version: classroom English and Spanish plus home English and Spanish) that shows the Language of Encouragement formula  and gives examples. I hope this is helpful!



    ------------------------------
    Susan Kay
    Social-Emotional Trainer & Coach
    Denver's Early Childhood Council
    Denver CO
    ------------------------------

    Attachment(s)



  • 7.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 28 days ago

    An added benefit of Conscious Discipline's "Language of Encouragement" is that connecting the outcomes associated with the child's behavior helps children recognize cause-and-effect associated with their actions. Connecting cause and effect is key cognitive skill essential for developing self-regulation/executive function and conceptual understanding of the learning they are experiencing.



    ------------------------------
    Jared Lisonbee, Ph. D.
    Preschool Education Specialist
    Salt Lake City, UT
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 23 days ago
    I would say what do you think and then I agree with how you went about it.





  • 9.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-23-2020 07:36 AM

    Have you heard of Enterprise Talk? https://tomdrummond.com/leading-and-caring-for-children/enterprise-talk/
    The beginning explains the philosophy and that's followed by a guide for ways to interact with children to let them know you truly see them without telling them what to do or using old fashioned positive reinforcement. I was a little skeptical before I tried it but ultimately it changed my practice all together. 



    ------------------------------
    Lauren Stauble
    Consultant/Faculty/ECE Admin
    Boston, MA
    feelthinkconnect.com
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-24-2020 11:33 AM

    Thanks for this resource Lauren, it is really interesting and well worth looking at. It helped answer some of the nagging thoughts I had about this rich topic. While neutral sounding narrative comments may seem better than "I like" statements, a few problems jumped out at me, based on my own teaching experience. 

    Narrating what a child is doing always made me feel self-conscious. I have no issue with making a spectacle of myself, as in singing, dancing and acting things out- with very little native talent- but the narration method rubbed me the wrong way.

    On one hand this narration can be annoying chatter, just adding to the noise of the room, and pulling the child's focus away from what they are actually doing, to pay attention to me! On the other hand, kids are as smart as we are, they can sniff out the similarity to the "I like" phrase, in that we are still calling out behaviors we value, indicating to the whole class that the kids exhibiting those behaviors are on the right track.

    I think back to my early teaching days with the one kid who would not join circle, basically ever, for a whole year, but instead liked to run around and grab as much attention as possible. In a flash of brilliance, I realized that circle time was not for them, so my goal became to get them to do whatever else, but quietly so as not to disrupt the other kids in circle. You know how that went: other kids decided they would also like to leave circle. Poor me and my well-planned circles. No amount of guiding statements was changing that situation. I had to conclude that if doing stuff in the room was more compelling than my circle, then my format was simply not meeting the kids' needs. Even the "compliant" kids might not be getting much value out of the circle, when you stop to think about it. 

    I am glad to say, that over the years I found many ways to meet students where they were, have so much fun together, and even have circles that were highly participatory and made sense in the context of our learning process. Drummond's Enterprise Talk could have made the path shorter.



    ------------------------------
    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-24-2020 12:15 PM

    Karen, I really appreciate your thoughts on circle time being for the teachers rather than the children. At a lab school I taught at at the beginning of my career our director had us do a retreat to watch videos of our circle times. We noted that assistant teacher time was spent mostly redirecting children to pay attention, and that it seemed like the times when most students were intrinsically engaged was during movement and song. We started a ritual called Spontaneous Gatherings, which would be a time when a teacher would initiate an investigation, song, game, etc. that children might be truly interested in. Whoever came over came over and that was so much more satisfying as a teacher! 



    ------------------------------
    Lauren Stauble
    Consultant/Faculty/ECE Admin
    Boston, MA
    feelthinkconnect.com
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-25-2020 09:28 AM

    Karen:

    I agree about the imposition of adult chatter. Thank you for pointing that out.  I think narration needs to be used judiciously.  Often, less really is more in the classroom.  The loudest voices, and the voices that are heard most frequently, should be the children's.  It's their classroom as much or more than it is ours.  If they have a sense of ownership they have less of a need to seek approval and attention.  That's when they blossom.



    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 26 days ago

    Lauren, Enterprise Talk by Tom Drummond is another helpful practice for teachers of young children!   Excellent advice for building and repairing most relationships in life, too!



    ------------------------------
    Linda Smith
    Central Georgia Technical College
    Warner Robins GA
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 25 days ago
    Children are happy when you notice what they are doing and making without "I like that..."
    Acknowledging what they are doing- "You worked hard on... or  just "Tell me about....
    really meets their needs.  I like makes it feel like they need to please you when you really want them to do things because it is appropriate or it pleases them.





  • 15.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-23-2020 09:16 AM

    Naming behaviors, actions, ideas by using "I see" statements or "I notice" statements provide the child with feedback that you are seeing them engage in an appropriate behavior like taking turns, (I see first you used the stapler then you gave it to Mia for her turn"), or find a place to sit in the circle, share materials, or be kind to another child to another child. These statements also can also  identify and add language/vocabulary to the child's play, "I see you balanced the long rectangle blocks on top of those cylinders...you made a bridge." "I see you are mixing colors with the dropper, or "figured out how to line up the sticks shortest to tallest", etc. Naming, labeling and identifying effort, thinking, and actions expands the child's play experience and lets them be recognized for what they have done.  They do not need to wait for the teacher to "like it" - the child takes all the "credit". 



    ------------------------------
    Marilyn Brink
    Education and Program Consultant
    Mary Crane Center
    Saint Charles IL
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 12-23-2020 09:51 AM

    Monica--this is a great question.  Saying "I like how..." is problematic for several reasons.  You cited important ones--children acting the way they know their teachers like because they want (need) attention, or to make the adults happy.  Children aren't responsible for our happiness and it's a burden for them when we indicate that they are.  I wouldn't substitute "I see" or "I notice" as that still makes the statement about you.

    Simple narration might work, taking yourself out of it, because we, the adults, aren't the point.  "Mai is listening.  Sami is waiting for their turn." "So many children are getting ready to go outside."  Hearing their actions narrated back to them lets them know they're being seen and that you are paying attention, but is about them rather than about what you like.  

    It also might help to make sure that yours is a classroom where each child feels recognized throughout the day, to alleviate some of the need for their doing whatever they can to get your praise.   

    Monica wrote:  "I like that Mai is listening." "I like that Sami is waiting her turn." Using "I like" can result in children taking certain actions not because they know it's the right action but because they want to make their teacher happy or to get praise/recognition. What alternatives do you use to avoid this?"



    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 28 days ago

    Hi Monica,

    I was listening to this podcast from www.prekteachandplay.com (Pre-K Teach and Play) that talks about "I like that..." and how it affects children.  Podcast 48:  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly When it Comes to Praise, Rewards and Punishment.  It also ties praise & rewards to race and equity.  I've tried to link it into this and it doesn't seem to ever work.  

    Kim



    ------------------------------
    Kim Rosholt, TOSA
    (pronouns: she, her, hers)
    Preschool Education Coordinator
    Kids Place
    St. Louis Park Public Schools

     "In the rush to NORMAL use this time to consider, which parts of normal are worth rushing back to."
     -Dave Hollis
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 28 days ago

    Hi Kim,

    Wow, that podcast was incredibly relevant to my question. I just finished listening to it. It contained a wealth of knowledge. Now, I'm going to explore the links and resources that were referenced in the podcast. Thank you for sharing! 



    ------------------------------
    Monica
    Pre-K Teacher
    Bay Area, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 18 days ago
    Kimberly, I just looked up this podcast and realized that my colleague, Alyssa is one of the guests - small world in ECE! She and I created a method called Collaborative Emotion Processing. Implicit Bias is a huge component of CEP. We just put out our own pictorial cue cards, called the CEP Deck a few weeks ago.

    ------------------------------
    Lauren Stauble
    Consultant/Faculty/ECE Admin
    Boston, MA
    feelthinkconnect.com
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 18 days ago
    Lauren,

    Sounds great.  Any chance you could share where to get those CEP cards?  I would love to see them.

    Kim

    ------------------------------
    Kim Rosholt, TOSA
    (pronouns: she, her, hers)
    Preschool Education Coordinator
    Kids Place
    St. Louis Park Public Schools

     "In the rush to NORMAL use this time to consider, which parts of normal are worth rushing back to."
     -Dave Hollis
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: What are intrinsically motivating alternatives to "I like that..."?

    Posted 26 days ago

    One thing I learned over my 29 years of experience with children of all ages is that when you use intrinsic motivation correctly children feel a since of self discipline, appreciation, and regulation. The words you did it work a lot better. Especially when you help them learn to say "I did it". 

    Teaching children to recognize their behaviors and successes help them realize that they are capable of doing the best they can do. Role model the "I did it!" By saying when you succeed, and even when you need to do better next time. The best words, Oops time to practice.  Pointing out the, " you did it." And having them repeat I did it, as well as their oops.

    Success an failures are a normal part of growth at all ages, so teaching the children to recognize both is important in their growth and development of self.



    ------------------------------
    Suzanne Hoyt
    Sparks NV
    ------------------------------