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Main page » Non-Fiction » Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning

Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning


If words are power, then according to Peter Johnstons Choice Words, teachers words are a super power. Using a variety of interspersed narratives from various classrooms, narratives that include student-teacher dialogue, Johnston shows how the words that teachers use express a variety of both conscious and subconscious opinions of students. And, as I think everyone agrees, what teachers think about their students has significant implications on the opportunities and achievements of those students. But Johnston does not stop there. While Johnston includes what he would call both positive and negative interactions, he does not judge the teacher as being bad solely on the basis of the interaction. The teacher may not realize the hidden suggestions his or her words possess; similarly the teacher whose dialogue is "good" may not be expressly trying to suggest something positive to the students. Some teachers are just naturals when it comes to this. Equally, any teacher can learn to create this atmosphere through his or her dialogue with students. This is exactly what the author is attempting to initiate by writing his text Breaking the dialogues down to show the meaning, and including a break-down of the consequences of both positive and negative dialogues, allows the reader to train him or herself to behave in this manner. Teachers can use this book as a guide to enhancing the climates in their classrooms, and encourage their students to develop agency. Although the book is written with the intended audience to be language arts and English teachers, any teacher can benefit from understanding the power of his or her words. In a time when teachers are repeatedly scrutinized for their work, here teachers are provided a blameless opportunity to engage in a journey (with travel guide in hand) to enhance their classroom communities and the opportunities and lives of their students.

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Tags: words, teacher, students, teachers, think