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ENVoY Training Part 2

by Candis Parrish

In my last post, I emphasized the importance of non-verbal communication and outlined some of the factors the go into the way teachers present themselves in the classroom. This post will cover some practical things you can do in the classroom to improve your non-verbal communication.

Getting Student Attention with "Above/Pause/Whisper"

Try this technique to get the students focused on you:

  • Speak louder than students
  • Pause for a second
  • Whisper a few words

Teacher voice should be two steps above student voices to start.  Then pause.  Then whisper a few words, or can stair step volume down. 

In the classrom, the teacher controls the volume: should go up and down in a wave-like pattern


Ride the Wave

When your kids explode in banter, Teacher needs to stand still, listen for wave to come down, then do "Above/Pause/Whisper"

Start-stop-repeat (Like you are interrupting yourself).  Also make sure you freeze body and breathe.


Levels of strategies

Management: (90%) Anything the teacher does that is proactive to reduce misbehavior and increase the appropriate behavior.  Key is that it doesn’t interrupt curriculum.

Discipline: (10%) What you do when management doesn’t work.  It’s the consequence.  Need to exhaust management options first.  Discipline is the back up.

Counseling: (This is part of the discipline 10%) Re-teaching.  Educate one student or a small group about their behavior.  Should only reteach a student a behavior two times.  When you teach the whole group the first time around, use a ton of visuals.

Intervention: Scaffolding strategies that guide a child to success.  Ex: post-its.  Put 5 post-its on the board.  Any time kid calls out (or whatever behavior is) take one away.  Add back when kid is focused.  No consequence or reward either way, this is just an awareness system.  Interventions work if the management of the group is tight.  If the group is not managed well, kids will start imitating/etc. the one kid’s behavior. 

When a kid calls out even though you’ve said raise hand, ride the wave.  To do this: change location and stand still.  Don’t look at distracting kid.  Ignore distraction and kids will learn to ignore distraction. When ready to teach, go back to spot. Begin again with "above (pause) whisper" with amnesia.  Sends a non-verbal message to other students that the calling out kids aren’t going to interrupt their learning.

Format of Student interaction







“Listen up”

“My turn”

T points to self, and other hand in stop gesture, or palm out and down




“Raise your hand if…”

T models a raised hand




T gestures from class to self with palms up

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