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Ginott Theory. By: Susan Kirby Elizabeth ( Shelbi ) Tuttle Kori Robertson and Rachel Thompson.

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Ginott Theory

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ginott theory
Ginott Theory

By: Susan Kirby

Elizabeth (Shelbi) Tuttle

Kori Robertson

and Rachel Thompson


“I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized.”

- HaimGinott

haim ginott
  • Theories differ from foundational theorists
  • 3 degrees from Columbia University
  • Clinical psychologist, professor of psychology and psychotherapy
  • Books: Between Parent and Teenager (1969) and Teacher and Child (1972)
  • Ginott believes the teacher is the influential element in the classroom
key concepts
Key Concepts
  • Use congruent communication
  • Promote self-discipline for both teachers and students
  • Accept and acknowledge students and their actions without belittling the individual
  • Avoid evaluative praise, and use appreciative praise
  • Avoid sending you messages and use I messages to describe how a behavior makes the someone feel
  • Demonstrate their best behaviors or those that contribute to a classroom environment
application 1
Application 1
  • Teachers should use clear communication
  • Teachers clearly communicate their expectations in a manner that helps students feel accepted
  • This open communication promotes autonomy among the students
application 2
Application 2
  • Teachers should use sane messages
  • Teachers should be in control of their emotions when addressing a discipline problem
  • Should not let the problem become a “teacher vs. student” situation
application 3
Application 3
  • Teachers should refrain from using punishment
  • Punishment often relieves guilt too easily
  • Punishment rarely serves as a means of teaching discipline
application 4
Application 4
  • Profanity should be ignored rather than addressed
  • Addressing the four-letter word can be more problematic, causing a major issue witnessed by other students
  • Teachers must follow school mandates dealing with the usage of profanity but should also try to follow Ginott’s advice
application 5
Application 5
  • Teachers should use guidance instead of criticism
  • Negative criticism can lead to the lowering of a child’s self-esteem and increase self-doubt
  • Criticism should be used constructively for improvement
  • Negative remarks should not be made about a child’s personality (i.e. character should not be attacked, embarrassment should be avoided)
application 6
Application 6
  • Everyone gets angry, even good teachers
  • No yelling, convey your feelings with a simple statement (i.e. “I feel annoyed.”)
  • Ginott suggests 3 steps to surviving anger:
  • Accept the fact that the actions of students will make us angry
  • Realize that we are entitled to our anger without guilt or shame
  • “Except for one safeguard, we are entitled to express what we feel. We can express our angry feelings provided we do not attack the child’s personality or character” (pp. 50-51).
application 7
Application 7
  • Teachers should show acceptance and acknowledgement with uncritical messages
  • Uncritical messages encourage cooperation
  • Use I messages rather than You messages
application 8
Application 8
  • Teachers should avoid name-calling and labeling students
  • Teachers should avoid diagnosis and prognosis
  • What a teacher says has serious consequences, such as:
  • Resentment
  • Students begin to believe what the teacher says is true
application 9
Application 9
  • Teachers should avoid sarcasm and ridicule because these kinds of communication destroy self-confidence
  • May not affect all students, but may affect one
application 10
Application 10
  • Teachers should strive for brevity when disciplining students
  • Correct the students and then move on
application 11
Application 11
  • Avoid personal attacks
  • Use Imessages instead of Youmessages
  • Teacher says “I don’t like it when people run in our classroom because it is breaking our classroom rules.”
  • Rather than saying “Kori, stop running. You know it is classroom rules so don’t do it.”
  • Ask politely
application 12
Application 12
  • Teachers should provide students with a face-saving exit
  • Teachers should not embarrass or humiliate students
  • Teachers should create an opportunity to agree to “not let it happen again”.
application 13
Application 13
  • Teachers should respect students privacy
  • Avoid asking prying questions
  • Ask discretely and succinctly
  • Let students know you are concerned and ready to help
application 14
Application 14
  • Use appreciative praise about effort and accomplishment; “I appreciate your good behavior today.”
  • Avoid evaluative praise about character and personality; “You are such a grown up young lady. Your parents would be proud of your good behavior.”



  • Fosters positive communication
  • Fosters positive behaviors
  • Fosters positive relationships
  • Absolutely does not work in violent situations
  • Theory not molded into a model of its own
  • Manning, M. L., & Bucher, K. T. (2007). Classroom Management: Models, Applications, and Cases (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
  • Image of Ginott from www.
  • Each table will be given a handout with scenarios.
  • Take a few minutes to plan your scene.
  • Discuss with the class how your table would handle the scenario using Ginott’s theory.