We’ve all heard of a win-win situation, where both sides win, right? Well, I was observing an intern the other day in a three-to-six Montessori early childhood classroom and I saw a win-win-win situation unfold. It was a win for the child, a win for the teacher and a win for the remainder of the class.
A somewhat rowdy young boy was asked by his teacher to come and sit by her during circle time. He verbally refused. The teacher repeated the request and explained why. He again refused. She repeated the request and told him that he could come using his own two feet or she could help him. He got up and started to run. She remained very calm and did not raise her voice or the visible emotion level even a little bit.
She remained unmoved and stated her request once again, repeating that he could come with his own two feet or she would help him. He slowed down a bit and then she said the words that turned the situation around. “You know that all the class is waiting for you and I know you will make a good decision.”
Our little friend listened to what she said and quietly went to sit next to her. Not another word was spoken on the subject and within a few minutes he was participating and the whole potential disaster had been averted. He came out the winner by being allowed to make his own good decision. The teacher won by keeping her cool and having the child follow her instructions. The entire classroom won by seeing that the teacher does not back down and a child in the throes of momentary defiance does not rule the roost.
They key was the quiet certainty of this young teacher who simply stated what needed to happen and allowed the child to make a choice, keeping his own ego intact as he obeyed.