Teacher Modeling Mindset

Modeling Attitudes, Modeling Positive Behaviors

UDL 3.3 UDL 5.3

Teacher Modeling Mindset is social emotional development support strategy in which teachers use modeling rather than telling to illustrate appropriate attitudes, problem-solving and behavior. To effectively facilitate Teacher Modeling Mindset, the teacher acts as a keen observer, attentive to students’ interactions, while monitoring students’ behaviors and exchanges. As opportunities arise, the teacher responds to students’ needs and intervenes to model appropriate dialogue, behavior and provide feedback (e.g., “I sometimes feel overwhelmed, too. When I feel this way I take a big breath and count to three. Let’s try it together!”). By acknowledging students’ needs and responding calmly through modeling, students are able to internalize and transfer increasingly sophisticated mindsets to future situations, bolstering social emotional development, particularly emotional intelligence.

Implementation Tips

Identifying Trends
Observe students’ interactions and behaviors to identify trends and inform modeling. For instance, when students inappropriately express frustration during independent work, say "When I feel stuck, I raise my hand high in the air like this to show I need help."
Thinking Aloud
Think aloud to show students how to effectively approach challenging situations (e.g., “Hmm, I forgot where I put that book. Let me take a minute to think about where I left it.” or “Oops, I spilled water on my desk. It’s OK, I will take a paper towel and clean it up.”).
Using Specific Language
Be specific in word choices when facilitating dialogue to support appropriate behavior and problem solving (e.g., “Layla, I see that you are very excited to speak. I will not listen when you are interrupting. If you raise your hand and wait quietly, I will be sure to call on you.”).
Physical Modeling
Use physical modeling to demonstrate appropriate approaches (e.g., Teacher says, “I noticed that you got upset when the drinking fountain wouldn't work. Using the fountain is tricky. Stay calm and watch how I rotate the handle." Then, teacher models correct technique.).
Providing Feedback
Provide feedback to students, modeling specifics and details in language (e.g., “Ben, I like how you put all your belongings in your cubby. Use the hook inside the cubby to hang up your jacket. This way it is easy to find when we go outside.”).
Explicit Instruction
Direct students’ behaviors by acknowledging and addressing conflict through explicit instruction (e.g., “Sam, I see that you are getting frustrated because you can’t zip your coat. If you need help, raise your hand like this and I will come over to help you.”).
Scaffolding Support
Determine how much support to offer when modeling mindsets. Some students may require significant modeling and guidance (e.g., those engaged in conflict), while others may benefit from a quick comment (e.g., maintaining persistence with a challenging task).


Working Through Frustration
During the transition from snack time to outdoor play time, a teacher observes that a couple of students have become frustrated while unsuccessfully attempting basic tasks. One student has become upset after dropping snack supplies while walking to the trash can. The teacher approaches and says, “Wow. You are carrying a lot of things. It is hard to carry a lot of things and walk. Try putting your napkin inside the cup before getting up to throw it away, like this.” Another student is angrily stomping his feet when unable to zip his coat. The teacher approaches and says, “Jessie, I can tell that you are frustrated because you have been trying to zip your coat and it is challenging. Try taking your gloves off to zip your coat. When I’m having a hard time doing something, I try to look around and see if I can find someone to ask for help. If you need help, raise your hand and I will come to you.”
Modeling Resolving Conflict
During free play, a teacher observes that many students are frequently engaged in conflict in the dramatic play and block areas of the classroom. Students argue over toys and props and struggle to resolve their problems. To support students in independent problem-solving, the teacher uses two puppets to role play a situation in which the puppets argue over a toy. Then, the teacher pauses, sets the puppets down and says, “I see that our Piggy puppet wants to play with the toy. She is mad because Bear puppet is not sharing the toy. Let me think about what I do when I want someone to share. One thing that I do is ask to take turns. I can also ask to trade. I wonder if either of my ideas would work for Piggy.” The teacher then models the new solutions between the puppets. After the puppet performance, the teacher talks to the class about the scenario and asks for feedback regarding additional prospective solutions to involve students in the strategy.

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