ERIC Number: ED313117
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
How Teachers Inadvertently Reinforce Negative Behavior of Elementary School Students through Negative Communications.
This paper reviews ways in which teachers inadvertently reinforce negative behavior of elementary school students through negative verbal or nonverbal communication. Discussion first points out differences between nonverbal and verbal communication, and then focuses on consequences of negative communication for children. Special attention is given to teachers' use of judgmental vocabulary and demeaning labels, discourtesy, discouragement of verbal interaction, orders, demands, questions for which no real answer is expected, personal names as synonyms for commands, and domination of verbal exchanges. All of these forms of communication convey to children attitudes of aloofness, disrespect, lack of acceptance, and insensitivity. Also discussed are teachers' creation of a continually authoritarian classroom climate, use of mass punishment, assignment of blame for every discipline problem, use of threats for problem students, use of rejection and punitive behavior in response to student misbehavior that is threatening, and use of negative procedural feedback. Also addressed are the problems of teachers' structuring of emotional distance in the classroom, the impact of negative communication environments on students' self-esteem, and the "false fronts" of students who are depressed and have low self-esteem. (RH)
Descriptors: Behavior Problems, Classroom Communication, Communication Skills, Educational Practices, Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Nonverbal Communication, Teacher Behavior, Teacher Characteristics, Teacher Responsibility, Teacher Role, Teacher Student Relationship, Verbal Communication
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Research Colloquia, "Issues in Education" (Murray, KY, August 1989).