Guess what! I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more Psycho-Social.

“In the everyday world, the psycho-social use of language abounds. It is so woven into how we interact, we don’t even think about it.”

-Bill VanPatten, Communication and Skill, p. 7

Psycho-social communication is what BVP calls it when we’re communicating with the purpose of establishing, building, nurturing relationships. If this is true that the psycho-social purpose of communication is essentially omnipresent in our daily lives, it must be a pretty important aspect of human communication. And if it is and we do not intentionally incorporate genuine psycho-social interactions into our class time but rather fill the time with cognitive-informational communicative tasks that focus on obtaining information, then can we say we are teaching communicatively?

The psycho-social communication is what bonds the members of my classes. And those relationships make it possible for us to work together. They help students respect and protect our Spanish-speaking environment. They’re absolutely critical to teaching in a collaborative classroom. Our classes don’t need more cowbell, but they sure need more Psycho-Social.

When you greet students, don’t greet them all uniformly. Hover with one or two students and take the conversation further.

Take time to say, “Class, Yasmine was absent yesterday, but today she’s here. Yasmine, I’m so glad you’re here. Were you sick?”

Be on the look out for new shoes, concert t-shirts, sports uniforms. Engage kids in a short conversation about:

  • how much the shoes cost, where they were bought, what size they are?
  • Where was the concert, who did you go with, did you sing and dance?
  • Do you have a game today? Where do you play? What time is the game?

When you check in with students like this, it validates who they are and what they value. It sends the message you care about them, notice them and truly believe they are part of the classroom community. And these messages are received by EVERYONE, not just the student you’re interacting with in the moment.

This kind of connection can’t be faked and pays huge dividends.

Add more Psycho-Social to your classroom today.

I Gotta Have More Psycho-Social, Baby
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