Be Inclusive, Inspire Acceptance & Self-Love: Wise Word Choice

Please see: Inclusive & Accepting Word Choice

Speak Directly & In the Positive

Active vs. Passive Language

  • It’s advisable to use action-oriented directions rather than relying on “ing” words
  • If you are concerned about being inclusive and using invitational language, that’s wonderful and you can do those things while also using the clarity of active verbs. See more in Creating a Welcoming & Inclusive Space and Inclusive & Accepting Word Choice.
  • Example: Inhale the arms up. vs.  Inhaling the arms up.
Passive Language Can Cause Student to Mentally Check Out

When we slip into those long, sing-songy, run-on sentences with a seemingly never-ending string of “ing” endings, it’s easy for students to mentally check out. Perhaps because when we use passive language like this, it doesn’t seem so much like we’re talking to students as just, well, talking. I suspect that many of us use passive language because we want to come across as nurturing, inviting, and non-forceful… Directness doesn’t preclude respect and kindness, rather it simply means speaking to your students. – Kat Heagberg

Positive vs. Negative Instruction

Consider the effects of teaching what to do rather than what not to do. For example:

  • Release the shoulders down away from the ears. vs. Don’t tense the shoulders.
  • Take a slow breath in and a complete breath out. vs. Don’t hold your breath.
  • Keep a softness in the knees. vs. Don’t lock the knees.