Please or Thanks?

Bill Rogers (2007)- Education Consultant and Author of Behaviour Management-A Whole School Approach and Mark Davidson (2009)- Manager of the classroom profiling program-Education Qld, believe that saying 'thanks' instead of 'please' provides students with the belief that you aren't asking them to do something but have already thanked them for doing it......confused?

Here is an example:-

"John, ...(pause), looking here, Thanks"

This does three things:-

1. You have already gained John's attention by addressing him by name.

2. By saying 'thanks' instead of 'please' you have already given him the expectation that he will do as you have asked, as you have already thanked him for complying.

3. Rogers (2006, p.4) believes that 'The tactical pause' is one of the most effective strategies you can use:- The effect of the pause is important, as John will have to take a couple of seconds to realise you have called his name, and so by pausing it allows him to hear the next few words that you are saying.

Here is another example:-

"Mary...(pause) that paper needs to go in the bin, thanks.

Mary can't argue with you because you haven't given her the opportunity to respond. You are not 'asking' her to pick up the paper, you are expecting her to pick up the paper and you have already thanked her for doing so.

Try this one:-

"Greg...(pause) here thanks."

Again you are not asking Greg to come to you, you expect him to come to you, and by already thanking him he really doesn't have a choice.

By saying please you are asking (pleading) him to do something, this gives the student many opportunities to say no or simply not comply.

Let's look at the same examples as above but saying please.

"John, please look here"

Saying it like this, John can simply ignore you ( and probably will). You are asking him to look at you and this gives him the choice to comply or not.

"Mary, could you please pick that paper up and put in the bin."

Mary will probably argue that the paper isn't hers, that she didn't put it there, or she will simply ignore you. This will lead to         " Mary, I told you to pick up that paper!" and Mary retaliating with an argument.

"Greg, could you come here please."

This gives Greg the chance to say No! ( or possibly even worse). If Greg thinks he is already in trouble with you, then he is already less likely to comply to your pleading.

Good luck, I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised at how effective this is.

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