One of the first questions families ask us when they are considering educational options is, “How do you handle conflicts with students? What is your strategy for working through behavioral issues?” Fortunately, Rivendell School takes a proactive approach of Love and Logic that helps prevent conflicts from occurring and deters conflicts from escalating.
Love and Logic is a philosophy with strategies to assist staff in creating a healthy, safe school environment for everyone. Rivendell teachers and staff encourage students to be advocates for themselves and to understand that the choices they make affect others. Love and Logic allows teachers the opportunity to use common language to help kids become problem solvers.
4 Basic Principles of the Love and Logic Approach that Rivendell Staff uses:
1- Maintain the dignity of both the adult and the student.
Love and Logic educators believe that it’s their job to provide the model for mutual respect and dignity. For example, if a student makes a choice to throw sand and it gets in another child’s eyes, the teacher would ask the child to observe how it affected their friend. They would have a back-and-forth discussion about why throwing sand can be harmful and how it’s important to keep everyone safe. The teacher might say, “Moving forward, what do you think would help keep everyone safe?” The student may be provided choices, or they might come up with their own. “I think I will apologize to my friend and make sure they’re ok. I will play on the swings instead until next recess.” The teacher might respond, “I am proud of you making a safe choice. I can’t wait to see how you do playing with your friend next recess!”
2- Share the control.
When offering children healthy control it allows kids to make choices frequently. Choices are important and it is crucial that their choice does not negatively affect the welfare of others. For example, a child might be playing during art class and accidentally knock over paint on the floor. Rather than the teacher forcing the student to clean it up, they would provide options. “Do you want me to help you clean it up? Do you want to finish the section of your painting and then clean it up with a friend?” Students feel respected and supported when a teacher allows them to take control of their actions and reactions.
3- Share the thinking.
Students should do most of the thinking whenever possible. Teachers realize that questions are more powerful than statements. Rivendell teachers ask questions constantly! This gives the students opportunities to critically think and assess the many ways they can handle or respond to situations. If a student takes the last red crayon and three other students are hoping to use it, the teacher might say, “I am noticing the red crayon is very popular for this project. How can we make sure everyone gets a turn to use the red crayon?” This could be a great opportunity for students to not only think, but to discuss amongst eachother how to resolve the situation. “Let’s go in a circle taking turns who uses the red crayon,” one child might say. “Or we could borrow a red crayon from another table!” another child might chime in. What an impactful opportunity for students to expand their thinking and work together!
4- Use empathy and natural consequences.
Leading a statement with empathy raises the odds that students will not see the adult as the source of their problems. Natural consequences teach kids so much more than our words. Teachers listen to students when they express their concerns and emotions. They respond with caring words like, “I am sorry for what you are going through. That must be very difficult. I can hear that you are struggling and I know that must be hard.” Students are comforted knowing that they are not alone and there are teachers and staff here who will always care about them and listen. Even if a child made a poor decision that led them to being upset, there is still empathy. For example, a child might run through the hallway when a teacher has asked them to please walk. They trip, fall, and begin to become upset. The teacher would say, “That looks like it really hurt! I am sorry that happened.” After comforting the child, the teacher would ask them, “What will help keep you more safe in the future?” Again, it is so important to have empathy… and ask questions!
Love and Logic cultivates a positive classroom environment and helps build relationships. Students are happiest when they are provided with support and are listened to. We see each and every conflict as an opportunity to learn and grow! Students are capable of solving problems and they should be given opportunities to critically think and make decisions. Want to learn more about Love and Logic? There are webinars and in-person conferences available throughout the year. Visit this link to learn more.