Broken Record: Improved

by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

 

Most parents and educators are familiar with the verbal skill referred to as Broken Record. It goes like this.

"Claudia, I need you in your seat now."

"I'll go there in a minute."

"Claudia, I need you in your seat now."

"I want to finish this first."

"I need you in your seat now."

"I just want a few seconds."

"I need you in your seat now."

"Oh, ok."

"Thank you."

Yes, Broken Record is repeating the same thing over and over again just like a broken record used to do thirty years ago before tape, CDs and iTunes. The intent is to communicate to students that you are serious about your request and that you are going to stay focused on it until they realize you mean it and respond affirmatively.

Broken Record can be improved. It can be strengthened with words that let the student you know you heard them while not moving you off your focus of repeating your request. Consider using the words, "To you….. To me…."

Example 1:

"Edmundo, I want you to bring your notebook tomorrow."

"The notebook isn't that important."

"To you the notebook seems unimportant. To me it is important and I want you to bring it tomorrow. Thank you."

The "to you" part of this verbal skill demonstrates to the student that you heard them. It says, "I get it that you don't value the notebook." The "to me" segment gets you back on track repeating the desire while communicating the value the notebook has for you.

Saying "thank you" at the end announces to the student you expect them to do it. Physically move away immediately after saying "thank you." This brings closure to the verbal exchange and again communicates your positive expectation.

Other examples follow.

Example 2:

"Frederick, I want you to raise your hand and wait to be called on before announcing your answer."

"You never call on me."

"To you it seems like I never call on you." "To me it feels like I call on you regularly when you raise your hand. I want you to raise your hand and wait to be called on before announcing your answer. Thank you."

Example 3:

"Robyn, I'd like it if you were silent during the morning announcements."

"I wasn't bothering anybody."

"To you, talking during the announcements is not a bother." "To me, it interferes with others ability to hear them. I'd like it if you were silent during the morning announcements. Thank you."

Example 4:

"Felicia, I'd like you be here when the bell rings."

"I was only a couple of minutes late. It's no big deal."

"To you the first few minutes of class aren't a big deal. To me they are a big deal because important instructions are given then. I'd like you to be here when the bell rings. Thank you."

 

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