Don’t just get down, get way down!

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It is often said that getting down to students’ eye level is important when delivering praise or sanctions to students. This can often be interpreted as leaning over a student rather than standing above them or sitting down next to them. I often observe teachers who think they are at the student’s eye level but are actually still demanding that the student looks up at them. I prefer the student to be looking down at me; teachers who do this know that crouching down lower than eye level is not weak but assertive and confident physical language. When you are delivering sanctions there is less chance of a defensive/aggressive reaction, and when praising, you create a more private space in the room. If you are teaching in an open space or would prefer to speak to students standing at the side of the room, double the personal space that you allow the student or stand side by side with him (or her) and it will have a similar effect.