I recently read a very interesting article on how Inuit parents raise their children. Entitled, “How to discipline your kids without yelling”, the article describes the attitude that Inuit parents have towards young children and teaching them self-control. The use of yelling and shouting on the part of the parent is seen as a weakness. Rather, storytelling, empathy and nurturing form the modus operandi.
The basis of this approach lies in what Laura Markham, clinical psychologist says about how children mirror our behaviour: “When we yell at a child – or even threaten with something like, ‘I’m starting to get angry, we’re training the child to yell...We’re training them to yell when they get upset and that yelling solves problems.”
Children mirror us
Although the article relates to parents and their parenting strategies, the principles apply to what happens in the classroom. The pupils in our classes mirror our behaviour patterns and attitudes. This can range from the most subtle imitation of “I really don’t feel like teaching today” or “I can’t face another day of X talking through my lesson” to “I really love teaching fractions”.