7 Effective Love and Logic Strategies for the Classroom

We all have those students who love to argue, push our buttons or just be temperamental in general. Without the right management tools, it is difficult not to take these students’ actions personally. My first year of teaching, I sought out any and all courses in classroom management. At the time, I wasn’t confident in my teaching and management philosophy. I took a course on “Teaching With Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom” by Jim Fay and David Funk. You can read about how it changed my teaching, along with other great resources, here.

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The philosophy of Love and Logic is to regain control, reduce your stress level, equalize emotions and build more harmonious relationships. The keys to implementation are empathy and communicating that you care for and value the other person. I subscribe to their emails, and the website contains a treasure trove of helpful resources. Because I only see my students once a week, it seems silly to waste time arguing or engaging in negative conflict.

Below are 7 of my favorite Love and Logic strategies for the art room.

love and logic

1. Go brain dead and become a broken record.

These one-liners have neutralized many tantrums and arguments over the past two years. The key is to repeat the phrase with as little emotion as possible. If a student is trying to engage you in conflict, you can try the following:

“I respect you too much to argue.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, but what did I say?” (In response to a direction).

“Thanks for sharing.”

2. Use the word, “bummer.”

I use this word when I observe a student making a poor choice or after I listen to a complaint or tattle. I also usually also pair it with an “ugh, man” sort of sound effect. You can avoid arguing, lectures, and drawn out conversations by using this one word, but be VERY careful to not sound sarcastic.

3. Walk away.

Avoid further conflict that has the potential to escalate. This technique is usually paired with one of the following statements:

“I’ll check on you when you’re calm.”

“I’ll speak with you when we’re both calm.”

4. Delay consequences.

This strategy is similar to walking away. It allows both you and the student to cool down and think clearly. Students also do more thinking and reflecting as they await a consequence. You can say something like the phrase below and then follow up with the student later.

“Bummer, I’m going to have to do something about this. I need to think about it though. Try not to worry.”


Love and Logic is a great tool for your classroom. If you’re looking to get a more comprehensive look at managing your art room, we have some great resources for you. In AOE’s course Managing the Art Room, you’ll identify the 15 keys that make the greatest difference in the classroom, and develop a comprehensive classroom management action plan that can be implemented right away.

We also have two great learning packs that directly address classroom management: Managing the Classroom and Managing Middle Schoolers.


5. Provide choices for a solution.

If you have students that are having a difficult time dealing with tough situations or making good decisions, you can help them out by offering a few solutions they can choose to pursue. In this way, you allow them to take charge of their own problems and learn to build healthy relationships with others. A phrase you might consider is:

“I’m sorry to hear that. Would you like to hear some ideas about what other people have done (or might do) in your situation?”

6. Place responsibility on the student.

This is what Love and Logic is all about. You remove yourself and your emotions. You also help your students to gain responsibility, autonomy, and problem-solving skills. You can say things like:

“I’m sorry you made that choice.”

“And what are you going to do about it?”

7. Turn your words into gold.

It’s amazing to see the difference in student responses to a phrase like, “I’ll begin when it’s quiet,” versus, “Be quiet!” Tweaking the way you word things can make a huge impact.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all that the Love and Logic philosophy has to offer. These are just my most frequently used phrases that are applicable in a variety of situations. It is important to make the phrases your own to avoid sounding fake or scripted. Do what feels natural. It may seem like a conscious effort at first, but soon things like “bummer” will become as natural as breathing!

Do you use the Love and Logic approach at school or at home? What is your go-to phrase for neutralizing an argument?

What other behavior management strategies do you use?

Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek

Subscriber

Alecia is an elementary art teacher in central Iowa who is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.

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  • Pick_Art

    Great simple tips. I work with grades 3-5, I will most definitely be exploring these techniques and phrases. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessica

    When I was in my freshman year of college, I had to do 80 hours in a classroom before being admitted to the teacher education program at my university. I was placed in an inner city school, that was try this approach. I started reading the book but I never did finish it as it was the teacher’s copy not mine. As I reflect back I wish I had read the book cover to cover but with required reading I had to do, it got put on bottom of the list. I will have to see if I can find it and try to read it this summer. It had have some helpful advice I was thinking at 19 and having never been in a classroom as a “teacher” before.

  • Rosanne

    Great suggestions! Will work with all ages in most situations. Good advice for beginning teachers, as well as a reminder for those who have been in the classroom for years.

  • Dawn Kruger

    When students are arguing just to waste time, annoy, or entertain, I respond with “I’d be happy to discuss this further with you after class.” That usually shuts them down.

    • Alecia Eggers

      That’s a great one Dawn!

  • Ms. C

    Love and Logic was one of the best things I ever read as a teacher (going on 35 years now). I originally used it in my K-5 art room, but it is just as helpful in my current high school position. I do not have “classroom rules” and have not since reading this book. Instead I have something far more honest posted in the room (from Love and Logic): I think it’s the most useful thing from that book. I’ve used it for so long, I have it memorized:

    How I run my (art) classroom:
    Do what ever you want as long as you don’t cause a problem for anyone else.
    If you cause a problem, I will ask you to fix it.
    If you cannot fix it, or choose not to, I will do something.
    What I do, depends on the special person and the special situation.
    If you feel something is unfair, whisper to me “let’s talk” and we will talk.

    Naturally, how this is presented/explained to the students is key, but what I love about this is how honest it is. No more “1, 2, 3 strikes” B.S., because we all know dynamic behavior situations don’t always follow the sequence of escalation. It leaves the control with the student for most of the time (I point this out when reviewing with them at the beginning of the semester.) This, in addition to having students collectively design their own classroom climate agreement has me in the fortunate position where I rarely deal with negative behavior, and get to TEACH ART.

  • connie b.

    When I was a stay at home mom of 5 young children Love and Logic saved my life. I began to enjoy being a mom again because it put the responsibility where it really belonged. Fast forward 14 years when I became a teacher it was natural to bring these philosophies into my classroom.

    One of my favorite lines to use when children tell me they don’t know what to draw is, “I don’t know either, but I trust you’ll come up with something good.” And when they do, which they most often do, I smile and tell them I knew they could do it.

    I also tell all my art classes (k-6) that I can be whatever kind of teacher they need. I’ll know by their behavior if they want a strict teacher or a relaxed one.

  • sam

    That’s nice. Informative blog posted.

    Sildenafil Citrate

  • Michele Ziemke

    I have not heard of this book, but I love the concepts! In my own experience I have found that having genuine love and empathy can not be faked! I also teach with the philosophy that all children should feel valued and enjoy the creative process as their own unique journey. I have been practicing these techniques for 20 years and recently had a former student approach me with a big hug! I told her I was surprised she remembered me as I was her elementary art teacher many years ago. Her response, “you were my favorite teacher, everyone thought felt that way about you!” I cried going to my car knowing that a little bit of love had such an impact! I’m excited to read the book, thanks for sharing!

  • Andrew

    This is great. I read the book a few months ago and made me rethink everything I’m doing, whether it was positive or negative. The most challenging thing about that book is it is hard to translate everything to my own experience. Even though a lot of this repeats elements from the book, this helps a lot.

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  • Melissa Jarecki

    Does anyone have a L&L response/strategy for dealing with students who continually talk about their video gaming experiences from the night before with peers instead of staying on topic? One student in particular is pulling other students off task with these discussions.

    • Gayle Perry

      Ask them to write a story about it!

      • Melissa Jarecki

        I’ve done that but it hasn’t limited the interruptions in class.

  • Honrun

    I’m going through the book again, BUT I am not sure about how to take care of the one sticking issue in my classroom. How do I, With Love and Logic, stop chatty students. There’s got to be a ‘three in a row’ type of solution like – do this…if this doesn’t work then this….if this doesn’t work then this. ??ideas??

    • Shannon Shelton

      Feel free to chat now, we’ll continue the lesson during your recess time. (or res time or after school…..whatever works for you.)

      I’ll be glad to start the lesson when it is quiet. (Then watch the clock and have them make up the time during their free time.

      Try to avoid the if….then…..focus on what you will do.