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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Teaching Tip: Low Profile Intervention

Here's a tip that I learned from my Grandma that works extremely well in the classroom. Growing up, when my grandmother would talk to my brother and I, she would finish sentences with the phase "Do you know what I mean?" or "Do you know what that is?" Constantly, confirming that my brother and I understood what she was saying.

In truth, my brother and I, who were teenagers, found these verbal confirmations almost silly at time. I remember one time when she told us about her trip to New York. I clearly remember her saying "We visited the Statue of Liberty" then added "Do you know what that is?" Of course, my brother and I were teenagers and rolled our eyes as we said "Yes, Grandma, I know what the Statue of Liberty is."



Years later, I realized that my grandmother was a genius in communicating to us teenagers. The main reason for her making that statement was to draw our attention back to the conversation.

When our focus started to drift as often happens to teenagers, she would ask her infamous question of "Do you know what I mean?" Since it required a response, we are instantly drawn back to the present moment.

Teachers call this classroom management technique, the low profile intervention.

How I use the low profile intervention in the classroom


I started using this and similar catch phrases in my karate classes with great success. Here's how it works. When I am explaining a technique or giving a mat chat, I stop every once in a while and say "Danny, do you know what I mean?" Then I prompt them to reply "Yes, sir!" Also, when lecture, I drop the students name into a statement like "You see, Johnny, we throw the punch straight toward the target."

I purposely phrase the questions so that the answer is always "Yes Sir." The objective is not to stump the student. It's to bring the students attention back to the class. When you get good at it, I noticed that the whole class snaps back into the present and it keeps them on their toes.

Some other good questions:
* "Isn't that correct, Suzie?"
* "Johnny, do you see how I snap the kick?"
* "Right, Chris?"

I found that this quick intervention really snaps the children back to reality. This simple trick in combination with other classroom management techniques creates a healthy learning environment and inspires a positive discipline in children. This tip not only works for teachers for teaching but parent's can enjoy the same benefits by using it on your children at home.

Do you know what I mean?


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