Practice Nine – Practice Nine Introduction

Practice #9
The Magic Triad, a positive and caring environment, and discipline with dignity and logic are evident.

Contents include
Printable materials, Ready-to-use Strategies, and Web links in the following sections:

Implementation Basics
Ideas for Implementation
Implementation Evaluation and Goal Setting
Life Principle
Hand Signs
Practice Connections
Practice Characteristics
Evidence of Practice
Music & Video Links
Learning Strategies
Mind Map

Goal Setting Process with Individual and Class Forms and Examples

Introduction to Practice #9

The Magic Triad, a positive and caring environment, and discipline with dignity and logic are evident.

The WHY? of Practice #9!

Implementation supports a Culture of Respect and Academic Excellence :

  • The Magic Triad includes a touch, a smile and kind words. Appropriate touches of a hand shake, high fives, or even eye contact give a number of benefits. Feelings of security, safety, and easiness are amplified. Touching builds closeness and fosters communication. Touching gives a person a sense of being cared about and cared for. Rigby, J. “The Importance of Touch.” Available online: Also Gilmore, J. V., and Gilmore, E. C. (1982). Give Your Child a Future. Columbus, OH: Prentice Hall.
  • According to Psychologist Robert Zajonc: "There is now compelling evidence that smiling causes people to feel happy. Requiring people to smile, no matter how they really feel at first, results in increased positive feelings; frowning conversely decreases positive feelings." Zajonc, R. B., Murphy, S. T., and Inglehart, M. (1989). "Feeling and Facial Efference: Implications of the Vascular Theory of Emotion." Psychological Review, 96 : 395-416.
  • Genuinely caring about students is the best way to build teacher-student relationships and ensure student success. Building rapport and empathy with students should include providing both nurturing and structure in the classroom, developing emotional intelligence and sensitivity to students' emotions and needs, and responding positively to students' efforts at relationship building. Respect for the teacher is not sufficient; students must perceive that teachers care, and even that teachers like them deep down, as people. Mendes, E. (2003). “What Empathy Can Do.” Educational Leadership, September
  • Sometimes problem behavior occurs because students simply don't know how to act appropriately. Based on their studies, researchers urge administrators to regard disciplinary referrals as opportunities to teach students valuable social skills that will promote success in future employment as well as in school. They recommend logical procedures for "de-escalating disruptive behavior, obtaining and maintaining instructional control, teaching alternative behaviors, and preparing students for classroom re-entry." Black, D. D., and Downs, J.C. (1992). Administrative Intervention: A Discipline Handbook for Effective School Administrators. Longmont, CO: Sopris West, Inc.
  • In his work and studies, Combs has considered how teachers can develop self-guidance in their students. He has delineated four basic principles that enhance a person's understanding of self-discipline: (a) perceptions determine self-discipline; (b) persons who are self-disciplined view themselves positively; (c) success reinforces self-concept and self-discipline; and (d) belongingness is a requisite for self-discipline. Combs, A. W. (1985). “Achieving Self-Discipline: Some Basic Principles.” Theory into Practice, 24(4), 260- 264.
  • Being able to address others by name and speak in complete sentences provides a foundation for good communication skills. Barrett, Julie, “Communicating in Style.” Practice Two -Educators and learners speak in complete sentences and address one another by name, demonstrating mutual respect and common courtesy.

For Research: see Rationale for 17 Practices Practice #9 – pages 20-21

on Great Expectations website.


The WHERE? EVERYWHERE learners are engaged in the instructional process.

The WHEN? - Daily use of the elements of Practice #9 will:

  • Set a positive tone for the day or class by meeting and greeting learners as they enter the learning environment.
  • Build confidence and self-esteem through improved communication and clear expectations.
  • Develop a climate of respect and success through effective procedures that includes student input and choice.
  • Use dialog from quotes, creed, and wisdom literature to develop a clear standard of the desired behaviors and attitudes.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” - Leo Buscaglia

(Printable Poster)

Main objection: "This takes too much time!" Response: What are the goals for all learners?


  • To model and develop a acceptance and support in a community of learners by beginning each day/class with a positive approach.
  • To respect all learners and to challenge them to be good communicators and life-long learners.
  • To develop procedures and processes within the learning environment that provides clear standards and expectations for behaviors and attitudes.
  • To build confidence, rapport, and empathy among the members of the learning community.
  • To increase academic success and social involvement among the members of the learning community.
  • To create a threat-free environment that encourages individuals to ask questions and share ideas.
  • To address the uniqueness and multiple styles of all learners by encouraging them to make educational decision and to give input into their individual vocabulary development.


  • “Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.” -- Russell Bertrand (1872-1970), British Philosophe
  • In a recent meta-analysis of more than 100 studies, Robert and Jane Marzano found that the quality of teacher-student relationships is the keystone for all other aspects of classroom management. In fact, their meta-analysis indicates that on average, teachers who had high-quality relationships with their students had 31 percent fewer discipline problems, poor conduct choices, and related problems over a year's time than did teachers who did not have high-quality relationships with their students. Marzano, R. J., and Marzano, J.S. (2005). “The Key to Classroom Management.” Educational Leadership, 62(1), 6-13.

Application to Employment Skills:

  • Orderly schools usually balance clearly established and communicated expectations with a climate of concern for students as individuals. Duke, D. L. "School Organization, Leadership, and Student Behavior." Strategies to Reduce Student Misbehavior. Available online: http.//
  • Studies show that students who dislike school, do poorly academically, and have limited career objectives are more likely to be disruptive. Researcher Gottfredson recommends that schools work to increase academic success for low-achievers and increase students' social involvement and attachment to school. Gottfredson, D. G., et al.(1989). ”Reducing Disorderly Behavior in Middle Schools.” Report No. 37. Baltimore, Maryland: Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools, 26 pages. ED 320 654.
  • Practice #9 supports the Personal Values, Relations with Others, and Communication Skills listed under The 8 Keys to Employability:
Key #2: Problem-solving and Decision-making Skills 

  • Creative & Innovative
  • Flexible
  • Adapt to change
  • Plan & organize work
  • Reason & make objective decisions


Key #4: Communication Skills Valued Workers:

  • Ask questions and listen well
  • Express themselves clearly
  • Seek help when needed
  • Communicate with supervisor and coworkers
Key # 5: Task-related skills

  • Complete work on time
  • Follow oral, written and visual instructions
  • Not distracting or distractible
  • Work neatly
  • Stick with a task & keep busy

Developing Employability Skills - School Improvement Research

© 2018 Great Expectations