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Inclusion Column

Language That Builds Community

By: Victoria Torres

Interactions rewire our brains. Eye contact activates self-awareness. Words and actions release chemicals. Thoughts and perspectives can be modified by others. Language has a significant impact on our reality.

The Responsive Classroom Approach, which stands for diversity, equity and inclusion,  aims that positive teacher language it’s necessary to build a positive community and to foster a sense of belonging and significance.

Student’s spend a lot of their time at school. Their classroom climate impacts highly on their development, learning, achievement and health. We as teachers have a vision of the ideal classroom climate that thrives for successful and happy human beings.

Helping students feel secure comes through a variation of actions that are in our hands to create a safe and joyful environment in which students feel comfortable and loved. Shared positive language starts with us.

In¨The Power of Our Words¨, a Responsive Classroom book, Paula Denton and Lora M.Hodges share about tools that help ensure transformative learning in students such as:

  • Really listening involves being intentional and interested in the speaker’s intended meaning. Listening will get students to get to know each other and better when as teachers we reflect on what they just said about how they think or how they’re feeling.
  • Being aware of an equal use of language between boys and girls to avoid favoritism and show equal opportunities.
  • Matching our words with our body language it’s important to provide a clear message and be consistent in what we model and what we ask of our students.

When we choose the right words, tone, phrases and pace, we lay the foundation for positive behavior in order to contribute to a school climate in which students choose a behavior of respect for everyone.  What we say, how we say it, listening and speaking in ways that lead each student to envision success, encourages cooperation, respect and empathy.

We are in constant interaction with hearts and minds, and we are a daily example of how children use language to express themselves towards each other and to be good listeners.
Let’s be truly conscious about what we create in each other's minds, how we impact their identity, perspectives, how they see others and their self-esteem with an inclusive mindset, choosing the right actions, choosing the right language.