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Effective and Affective

In our contemporary restorative model (we call it RP2.0), one of the simplest and most effective changes we encourage teachers to make is the use of Affective Language.


Affective Statements are absurdly simple. All you do is say what you were about to say … and chuck an accurate feelings word in there.


So, instead of saying “Hey, don’t push in line,” we might say, “It frustrates me to see you push in. Go to the back please.” It never takes more than about a breath more to make a statement affective, which means teachers can take its deployment to scale easily.


Many teachers tell me they could use hundreds of Affective Statements daily if it became an effortless habit. And there’s significant cultural and behavioural impacts across a school when the staff collectively commit to this tiny linguistic shift.


Affective Statements work quite well in the short-term because the use of these words activates higher proportions of the human brain when heard, including the neo-cortex (where our vocab is stored) and our limbic system (our emotional centre).


In other words, students hear our words more loudly when they’re Affective.


But it’s the long-term game that’s best served by Affective Language. Each Affective Statement is a deposit of valuable information in the brain of any young person who hears it. It helps them learn how to navigate other people.


With enough information feeding their emotional intelligence, young people require less of your rules, reminders and consequences. They learn to self-regulate.


Can you imagine how much easier your work gets when your students don’t need your supervision to make decent social decisions?

Can you imagine slowly becoming obsolete in terms of behaviour in your school because the kids think before they act? I like imagining a teaching future like that.


All you need to do is authentically inform the next kid you encounter that their conduct made you and others feel excited, disappointed, proud, confused or delighted.


Ok, then tell the next kid … and then the next one.



Keep fighting that good fight,



P.S. Know any teachers doing great work across the ditch in New Zealand? I’m heading that way shortly to learn and share my experiences about RP with our Kiwi colleagues.


I’d love you to hit forward and share Home Truths with your NZ colleagues and help spread the RP2.0 word!

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