Take Notes with Jen Rafferty

How positive language in the classroom elevates learning and support systems with Shauna F. King

February 22, 2024 Jen Rafferty Season 3 Episode 18
How positive language in the classroom elevates learning and support systems with Shauna F. King
Take Notes with Jen Rafferty
More Info
Take Notes with Jen Rafferty
How positive language in the classroom elevates learning and support systems with Shauna F. King
Feb 22, 2024 Season 3 Episode 18
Jen Rafferty

Ever wondered how much impact your words have on those listening?

It can be easy to forget the big role that language plays in education. Language affects the students’ behavior, self-confidence, and overall engagement.

To state it directly: words can make or break a student.

In today's episode, I am joined by Shauna King to tackle this very issue. Shauna, once known as the "yelling teacher," has transformed her approach and now uses the power of words to uplift and motivate her students. 

Together, we'll dive into the importance of intentional communication, revealing how the right words can set the tone for a hopeful and fair classroom. We'll share classroom management techniques and how educators can lead by example, promoting positive behavior that resonates with them to improve student engagement.

You’ll learn practical strategies to improve teacher-parent communication and create a better support system for the students.

Tune in to learn how to transform your teaching through positive language and join us in shaping a brighter, more inclusive future in education.

Stay empowered,
Jen


Let’s keep the conversation going! Find me at:
Jen Rafferty | Instagram, YouTube, Facebook | Linktree
Instagram: @jenrafferty_
Facebook: Empowered Educator Faculty Room


About Shauna:

Shauna F. King has a talent and passion for connecting with adults who have chosen to serve children. Her energy and experience have led to opportunities to present to national and international audiences. As an education specialist, she has facilitated hundreds of presentations and workshops for schools, churches, and conferences. A self-proclaimed "Yelling Teacher In Recovery," Shauna shares practical and research-based strategies to improve teacher, parent, and student engagement. Her professional experience includes roles as a school climate coach for the University of Maryland Positive Schools Center, school principal, student services specialist, and classroom teacher. Her areas of expertise and passion are fostering student engagement, creating equitable learning environments, and promoting positive student behavior. She has partnered with over 150 schools to improve school climate, student behavior, and student engagement. Through high-impact training and coaching, Shauna assists schools in creating "Classrooms of HOPE," where students are given the will, skill and opportunity to make a difference in the world. 


Shauna F. King is the author of Children are Listening: What We Say Matters which offers practical strategies and advice for educators and parents. Her articles, What We Say Matters: The Power of Positive Talk and Transitions with the Brain in Mind, are featured in the Association for Middle-Level Education magazine.


Connect with Shauna:
Website: https://shaunafking.com/
IG: @shaunafking

Show Notes Transcript

Ever wondered how much impact your words have on those listening?

It can be easy to forget the big role that language plays in education. Language affects the students’ behavior, self-confidence, and overall engagement.

To state it directly: words can make or break a student.

In today's episode, I am joined by Shauna King to tackle this very issue. Shauna, once known as the "yelling teacher," has transformed her approach and now uses the power of words to uplift and motivate her students. 

Together, we'll dive into the importance of intentional communication, revealing how the right words can set the tone for a hopeful and fair classroom. We'll share classroom management techniques and how educators can lead by example, promoting positive behavior that resonates with them to improve student engagement.

You’ll learn practical strategies to improve teacher-parent communication and create a better support system for the students.

Tune in to learn how to transform your teaching through positive language and join us in shaping a brighter, more inclusive future in education.

Stay empowered,
Jen


Let’s keep the conversation going! Find me at:
Jen Rafferty | Instagram, YouTube, Facebook | Linktree
Instagram: @jenrafferty_
Facebook: Empowered Educator Faculty Room


About Shauna:

Shauna F. King has a talent and passion for connecting with adults who have chosen to serve children. Her energy and experience have led to opportunities to present to national and international audiences. As an education specialist, she has facilitated hundreds of presentations and workshops for schools, churches, and conferences. A self-proclaimed "Yelling Teacher In Recovery," Shauna shares practical and research-based strategies to improve teacher, parent, and student engagement. Her professional experience includes roles as a school climate coach for the University of Maryland Positive Schools Center, school principal, student services specialist, and classroom teacher. Her areas of expertise and passion are fostering student engagement, creating equitable learning environments, and promoting positive student behavior. She has partnered with over 150 schools to improve school climate, student behavior, and student engagement. Through high-impact training and coaching, Shauna assists schools in creating "Classrooms of HOPE," where students are given the will, skill and opportunity to make a difference in the world. 


Shauna F. King is the author of Children are Listening: What We Say Matters which offers practical strategies and advice for educators and parents. Her articles, What We Say Matters: The Power of Positive Talk and Transitions with the Brain in Mind, are featured in the Association for Middle-Level Education magazine.


Connect with Shauna:
Website: https://shaunafking.com/
IG: @shaunafking

Jen Rafferty  
Are you caught in the whirlwind of overwhelming responsibilities, and as the very thought of Monday morning sent chills down your spine? Well, it's time to toss those feelings out the window. Welcome to Season 3 of the Take Notes podcast, where you get to make yourself a priority in order to show up as your best self. I'm your host Jen Rafferty, former music teacher, emotional intelligence practitioner, mom of two, and founder of Empowered Educator and I've been where you are. In this season, we're not just talking about surviving, we are diving deep into thriving. Are you ready to take the lead in your life? Well, let's do this.

Jen Rafferty  
Hello, and welcome back to another fabulous episode of Take Notes. I am here with the incredible Shauna King who has a talent and passion for connecting with adults who have chosen to serve children. Her energy and experience have led to opportunities to present to national and international audiences. A self-proclaimed yelling teacher in recovery, Shauna shares practical and research based strategies to improve teacher, parent, and student engagement. Her professional experiences include roles as a school climate coach for the University of Maryland Positive School Center, a school principal, student services specialist, and a classroom teacher. And her areas of expertise and passion are fostering student engagement, creating equitable learning environments, and promoting positive student behavior. Shauna has partnered with over 150 schools to improve school climate, student behavior, and of course, student engagement. Through high impact training and coaching Shauna assists schools in creating classrooms of hope, where students are given the will, skill, and opportunity to make a difference in this world. Thank you Shauna so much for being here with me in Take Notes!

Shauna King  
Thank you so much, Jen, for having me. I'm excited to be here to talk with you. I'm a big fan of your show.

Jen Rafferty  
I am a big fan of you. So for those of you listening, I met Shauna at the AMLE Conference, the Association for Mid-level Education. And these people were totally my people. I was a middle school teacher, as most of you know, most of my career. I loved every minute of it, even when it was hard and crazy and weird. And so being in a space with all of these middle school people were my people. And Shauna, I went to your session. And it was like a 15 minute little, little mini session. And I was like, I need to know more. I need to know her. So I'm so glad that we're continuing our conversation.

Shauna King  
Jen, I think there's something special about folks who not just teach middle school, but enjoy middle school students, right? There's a unique crazy about us all that, and that was majority of my career was in middle school. I always tell people, I did good time in middle school, I loved it. So yes, it was exciting to meet you and connect with you there.

Jen Rafferty  
Yeah. And I can't wait to continue this conversation that we started to have. So, one of the things that drew me to the content that you were sharing at that time. And since then, we've talked quite a lot about this, is the power of our language, and how that affects the way that we show up in our schools and the way that our students perceive us, the way we engage with our school community. So can you talk a little bit about setting the stage for what language can do for us both, in hurting us and in helping us.

Shauna King  
Yeah, absolutely. And so as you read, I call and joke myself as a yelling teacher in recovery, because when I first started teaching, much of the tone of my connection with these students was loud, in correcting behavior, and even sometimes just getting my point across at head, I had a sense of that I was mad all day long. And just carrying this chip on my shoulder about what I was doing. Now, I really did love middle school, I love my years in the classroom. But I think from an outsider, they wouldn't have been able to tell it. And much of it had to do with the language that I use. But I always think back to language that adults use with us when we were kids. If you think about with children hear from adults, growing up in a lot of my workshops, I asked them, I said what are the messages you remember hearing from adults? And while many adults will say to me, oh, I remember my parents or teachers saying, I'm proud of you, I love you, you can do whatever you put your mind to. Often I get a lot of adults who remember harsher words, harsher language. And that's what sticks out in their mind. 

Shauna King  
And so I like to ask teachers, how would you just go but if some of your students and say, hey, what's something that your teacher always said? What would it be? And to be honest, for me, my students probably would have been like, "Don't play with me," "Stop that," a lot of No's, a lot of correcting behavior tones. And is that really what I want them to remember? And of course, we've got to do those things too. But I think language or words are seeds, and they're seeds that we're planting in our children, and they actually are planting even our own hearts. And so I'm really passionate about how we can use the words that we use every day to make a difference in the lives of the children that we serve. And even in our own lives, because language is power. 

Jen Rafferty  
Yeah, it sure is. And it's so interesting, isn't it the way our brains work with this negativity bias, that it doesn't matter how many wonderful things you might say to someone, but that one negative thing sticks out. And that's the thing that we start to remember. And the words that we use can be powerful. And even hearing what you're saying, right now, I'm reflecting not just on my own teaching career, but also in my parenting, right? How many times do we share with our own kids? No, stop, don't, slow down. And it's not as if we can't obviously correct behaviors that needs to be corrected. But there's tone and there's I'm sure, so many different ways you can say the same thing. So can we talk a little bit about maybe shifting the way that we talked about corrective behaviors or correcting behaviors in a way that can be more empowering? 

Shauna King  
Absolutely. And just you saying that, I think when you become more reflective, because even whether it's a teacher workshop, or I do parent workshops, as well, sometimes they'll just come to me saying, you know, I just hadn't thought about it, if you had a little ticker tape of every time you said something positive in time, you said something negative, whether it was to your students, or to your children, or I'll go there to a spouse, right? I mean, this is even in relationships. You think that, of course, I'm positive, and I tell them these things. Of course, my children know I love them. Of course, my students know I'm proud of them and want them to be and I believe in them, and that I have this growth mindset for them with them, you know, of course, they have that. But does that really match up with what they're hearing? Every single day? 

Shauna King  
And there's research that says that we should really do five to one some, say four to one with positive to negative feedback? And are we really doing that? I think many of us and I'm going to speak for myself, believe we're doing it, want to do it. But more often, the negative comes out. And so being intentional. And I had to start doing that. Being intentional about what am I going to say when I see this behavior or what am I going to say at the beginning of my class. And then at the end of the day, what are those structures I'm going to put in place, whether it's a call and response that's positive, what are some of those things that I'm going to put in place that can become rote, so that my brain can remember to go down that neural pathway of okay, do the positive. Because just saying, oh, yeah, believe it doesn't always change the behavior, if it's something that we've always been doing differently. So I try to be real cautious, because like I said, this is the old dumbing game for me. Because I joke with my kids, sometimes I'm like, I have two teenagers. So pray for me. Okay, I'm trying to be more positive, I just did a workshop on trying to be more positive. And you're not making this easy for me. So I'm not trying to be hard on anybody, but something we should be aware of.

Jen Rafferty  
Absolutely. Well, a couple of things you said that I want to kind of highlight here. I just had a conversation actually with somebody on the podcast last week about believing something is very different than doing something because a lot of us believe we're doing it. But are we actually doing it? And then we talked about doing it is another thing, but then doing it when it's hard is a totally different thing, too. So can we just pause there for a second? And what kind of things can we speak on about what happens when it does get hard, our kids are activated, our kids are dysregulated and we're triggered. We're feeling dysregulated that's oftentimes when the reactive language comes out, what can we start to do or think about in those moments to navigate that maybe a little bit more gracefully.

Shauna King  
Yeah. A couple of things I do. One, I share the power of the pause. Just the power of the pause. Sometimes, and when you begin to become more aware of when I say my emotional pressure gauge begins to go up. And I have these drawings that I'll show to say, where are you feeling? Are you on the low level? Is your temperature gauge getting high? Or are you blowing that thermostat? And when you feel that happening, just pause to learn the power of just being able to take a moment on mindful breath. Because sometimes I think as educators, we think especially when it comes to behavior, we have to respond immediately. And no, we don't. Now, if there's an issue of safety or security of that type of thing. But I'm talking about verbally with things. Sometimes it doesn't have to be addressed at that exact same moment. Because if you're a dysregulated, how can you regulate a student who is dealing with that same type of dysregulation? You can't do that. So one taking the power of the pause. 

Shauna King  
Two, Daniel Kahneman has a book called Thinking, Fast and Slow. So I didn't realize that there's some automatic snap judgments that we make. So I give this example and I say if as a kid, if I said to my mom, "this isn't fair." It was automatic, she was gonna say, "life's not fair." And some people could probably already hear in their head, those types of things. There's almost statements that if someone says it, we know the response, it's almost call them response. Those may be almost in that fast track system. And if we want to be able to respond to whatever it is, whether its behavior and negative statements like that, in a way that's much more thoughtful, you've got to engage that slow track, and to engage that slow track, that means creating ahead of time. 

Shauna King  
Okay, the next time someone says, this is what I'm going to do and say, and practicing those types of things, I'm gonna give you one example real quick. My button pusher when I call it a button pusher, this was something a student would say, that would push my button. So taught middle school, students would say, "Ms. King, this is boring." Oh, my gosh, that was like, Are you kidding me? What do you mean this is boring? That will push my buttons. As opposed to flying off the handle, I had to find, what am I going to say. And I created just a couple of statements in there called "graceful exits" that can acknowledge the statement, and then exit out that situation. 

Shauna King  
Now, they have to be said without sarcasm. So I would say something like, I'm sorry, you feel that way. Let's talk about it later. And I actually, Jen, I'm telling you, I had to stand in a mirror and practice that phrase. I'm sorry, you feel about this. Sorry, you feel that way, let's talk about it later. And to make sure it didn't come out like I'm sorry, you feel that way. You have to get out. 

Jen Rafferty  
That's a totally different methods, right? 

Shauna King  
Totally different methods. And to be able to come with how do I want to respectfully, responsibly, and professionally respond to some things even when the student or colleague may have said something that may have been less respectful or responsible, so practicing and engaging that closed system of the brain.

Jen Rafferty  
Yeah, that practice is essential. Because what we're doing, as you mentioned before, we're creating new neural pathways, we are creating new systems of being. We're literally reprogramming the brain when we do this, so it doesn't become trigger-response or comments-response, there is a conscious awareness of what's going on. So you can actually redesign what's going to happen instead of just going by that default autopilot, which is going to keep you the same and in those low level disempowering stories that are then reaffirmed and reiterated by your language. And you know, you've shared this quote with me, which I absolutely love. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. And I think that's one of the things that's so powerful about what we do. Truly, the reason why Empowered Educator exists, is because if we ourselves are not modeling these behaviors, how can we possibly expect our students to do the same? It doesn't matter what we say. It matters what we do. So can you speak a little bit about that? I know you are also the author of this incredible book, Children are Listening, What We Say Matters. Can you speak on that a little bit as to how we can show up better regarding the language that we use?

Shauna King  
Yeah, so I'd love to take credit for the quote, but that belongs to James Baldwin, but it's one of my favorites, because it is absolutely true that they model. They do. And so I love to tell, I love to tell teachers, remember, you are a model, the classroom is your runway, and they are watching. I joke about it. But if you think about anybody who's been in the classroom for a little bit knows that kids pay attention to everything. If it's a loose earring, your shoe or anything, they pay attention to everything. And then they also hear us. And so while sometimes we can complain to say, you know what, I don't think kids pay attention to us. Yes, they do. And it's so important that we take that role seriously. 

Shauna King  
For example, I remember being in a classroom, and I was coaching a teacher. And she was in the middle of her lesson, and she was actually teaching some SEL lesson was going over respect and how we treat people. And the afternoon announcements came on a little bit early, until the principal comes over the PA system and says, I'm jumping in early for our afternoon announcements. And the teacher at that time, oh my gosh, it gets on my nerves, butter rolling their eyes. I was like, so, here was this wonderful lesson on respect and those types of things. And then the kids saw how she was disrespecting the announcements. Now don't get me wrong. I understood because I used to teach directly to those announcements at the end of the day, and that was a little bit frustrating. But as adults with hopefully fully developed frontal lobes, we want to use that impulse control that we've been given that we have to be able to say even when internally we want to deal with something in a negative way that we remember we're on stage and kids are watching cheering and kids see us now, I'm not saying we pretend all the time. But I do think as best as possible, it makes a big difference when kids see us do the right things, even when it's hard. Even when it's challenging, how are we dealing with conflict? How do we deal with it when we're having that tough day? That says so much to our kids because they are watching and they do imitate what we do.

Jen Rafferty  
They sure do. And it matters, I think, even especially when it's hard. And I think this really ties in to everything we talked about usually comes back to this one thing is this alignment and congruence, You nodded to that earlier in our conversation. But if we are not walking the walk, as these adults in these spaces, it really doesn't matter what we say. And this embodiment of it is everything, because that SEL story is just gold. Because I think one of the most important messages in all of this is the way that we speak not just to our students and our colleagues and our parents and our spouses, but to ourselves. Because that's really where this all stems from right. It's if we are not being kind and gracious and forgiving, and loving to ourselves, how can we possibly give that in a really genuine sort of way? Because otherwise, it turns into that story of the SEL lesson and the announcements, because we're talking about focusing outward instead of holding up the mirror and focusing inward. And sometimes that is profoundly uncomfortable. So can you talk a little bit about how you walk your clients and the educators you work with through that discomfort? 

Shauna King  
Yeah. And so one of the things that I like to do is, I always start with me in most workshops, because one of the things I say an engine, I honor the work that you do, because you're honest about it. And so I come in honest, and I say on some level, I need you guys to be better than I was because I made a lot of mistakes. And my mistakes started with some of my internal thoughts about what I said to myself. And the biggest one I know you've said this before, please don't ever say I'm just a teacher. No, you are a life changer. You're a neuroplastician. Right? That deserves a raise right there. 

Shauna King  
And thinking about the importance of the role that you have, first of all, going into the most noble profession of education, regardless of what others may say, you've got to know that yourself, you are changing lives and brains every day. And so reminding yourself of that, but then also reminding yourself that you're human, which means you will make mistakes. And so when you look back and reflect on each day, and I used in I like to talk about at the end of each day, we shouldn't have a moment of reflection of, what did I do well? And what areas can I still grow? You know, your successes and your struggles, areas of growth. We all know how to do those types of things. 

Shauna King  
As educators we need to do that. But the big G word is to show yourself some grace. To say you know what, today, Shauna gonna needs my skin and I was a little short with her. But what can I do tomorrow? To maybe reconnect that relationship. What's funny, half the time Shauna had forgotten about especially the middle school kids, but if even I hadn't, still think how can I correct that? But I think as educators, we are often perfectionist, and there is no such thing. And so being able to say can I do better tomorrow than I did today? That's all. Gonna do better tomorrow than I did today. That's all. Just one step. Learn one new thing, do one thing better. But guess what, there's going to be a mistake made tomorrow too, it's part of my day and it's okay. 

Shauna King  
And so the same grace that we ask teachers to show students, we have to be able to show ourselves and I'm gonna say that even for administrators, when sometimes you have that teacher who you've seen saying something that quite too well to kids, give them the opportunity what was going on with you that day? That's not normally like you. Showing grace from the beginning and some people say that your listeners can't see me but I have on red-colored, red glasses people tell me I have rose-colored glasses a lot, that I see the world through rose-colored glasses. I want to and I think everybody should. Let's see the best in people. Let's see the best in our students and let's see the best in ourselves. I see no harm in that, still see no harm in that and I'm gonna I'm gonna stand on that corner.

Jen Rafferty  
My heart is exploding. My eyes got all teary because Shauna, I literally say the same thing. I unapologetically wear rose-colored glasses on my face all the time. I have to. That is a choice that I get to make every day because while that might not be capital T truth, it allows the space for everybody to grow, it allows me the space to grow and do better. Because looking through that cynical lens creates so much constriction and limitations, that is not the world that I want to live in, especially as educators. We owe it to our profession, to be in a space of hope. 

Jen Rafferty  
And for me, hope and grace are BFFs. They hang out together. And I think there's something to be said about this perfectionism, where I'm going to take it to this macro level, right where so many of us became educators, because we either did really well in school, or because we didn't do well in school. And we want to have a different experience for the next generation kind of thing. And so it's this idea, we have to do everything right, filters into the school structures and systems that exist for our kids. And so this is really what I mean, when I'm talking about embodiment, if the kids are actually watching us say, hey, I made a mistake. And guess what, I didn't die. And it's cool. We're going to correct it today. And I'm going to try better tomorrow, then they have an opportunity to learn how to give them selves grace. It's not because you're telling them, it's okay to mess up. It's because they're watching you mess up and go through the process of realignment. And that's powerful. That's everything.

Shauna King  
That absolutely is, Jen, you've hit it right on the head. And that's what, when I say that children are listening, and that they're watching, that's what they're going to stick with, they're going to see how did you handle that situation. It may not have been what they read from you, or what that lesson was from you. It's what they see. And that's in the adults, whether it's the parents or teachers, because life is tough, life is tough. And they know we have challenges and there are days when we may not feel like it, but what are we showing them in spite? Where's that resilience that we have? 

Shauna King  
And again, resilience is not just saying, you know what, I'm denying that this is hard. It's not. You know, what I can say? This is hard. And yet I can do hard things. And it might be a struggle, and I might need to take a break through the hard things. And okay, then I'm gonna come back. And I might not get through all of it, because it's, but still I keep going. And teaching is hard. I always joke to say, teaching is hard. Anybody who says as easy as doing it wrong, it's work even for those of us who may be doing it for years and love the work that we're doing. I don't know if easy is ever the right word to use for teaching. And so to congratulate yourselves and acknowledge yourself for what you do each and every day is something that we shouldn't always look outward. Because we know we don't always get the acknowledgement from others for the work that we do. So I think as educators, we've got to acknowledge ourselves.

Jen Rafferty  
Yeah. So let's take a moment right now, for those of you who are listening and celebrate yourself, please think of something that you did that is big or small, doesn't matter. Bring a smile to your face and say, you know, I'm awesome. Like, say it out loud, because it matters. Our language matters. Say it out loud, celebrate yourself. You don't have to wait for somebody else to say good job. You give yourself a gold star.

Shauna King  
Yes. You teachers rock, educators rock, principals rock, and we are, you can't see it but we are cheering you on for the work that you do. The lives that you change. You rock and thank you for all that you do. 

Jen Rafferty  
Yes, yes. You gotta go, star. You gotta go, star. You gotta go, star. Yes. And you know that we have to bring some levity to it, we have to have these moments of self celebration, because this is the stuff that's going to fuel us when it's hard.

Shauna King  
Yes, we got to bring our own joy. And we know we're doing this each every day. So yes, I love that. And I think people need to, somebody starts your morning with it, lunchtime break in the teachers lounge or end of the day just yes, I did that. 

Jen Rafferty  
Yes. So let's talk a little bit now about how do we then bridge the gap between what happens at school to what happens at home. Because I think especially now, post COVID, this type of conversation has gotten louder. So in regards to the work that you do, what kind of strategies are you talking about in your work that really help build that bridge?

Shauna King  
Yeah, one of the things that I've been doing, you're right, especially since the pandemic and even during the pandemic, I started doing more workshops, bridging the home in school because we were at home and at school at the same time. And I remember my first workshop was how to do virtual learning without losing your mind. And I was doing it for teachers. But then parents came on the Zoom. And I was like, oh, yeah, they were like we're trying to figure out how to not lose their minds too. And so since then I've been trying to, and I have been connecting with teachers and with parents, because I think we all know that the kids need us, we can't just have them doing this by themselves. 

Shauna King  
And so I've become very passionate about working with parents who are often very hungry to help their children, sometimes who are struggling in school academically, or sometimes behaviorally. And I think without an intentional reach out from the school, sometimes there can be the, we're working against each other. And I love our little ones. But sometimes they don't always know how to communicate what's happening in school and to the parents like what the teacher did, such as such, and they're using the child as the go between. And the same way, I always tell if parents are divorcing, that's not a good idea to use the child as the person who has the information. But schools and parents should have direct communication and remind each other of our common goals, we want the best for your child, we are on your side, there should be some explicit things that we say together. Otherwise, sometimes I think there can be an assumption on either side that you're working against me. 

Shauna King  
And so once I have a workshop that say what schools want from you, and what you want from your school, and find that they are the same thing, you want to be able to have your schools, to have what I call classrooms of hope, where you help develop kids have the will, they develop the skills, and they're given the opportunity to thrive, that's regardless of their race, gender, or current level of functioning. That's what parents want, to be able to have a school where they're getting the best place where their child is able to develop into their best selves. That's what schools want to. We are on the same page. But we talk about testing, sometimes parents will think, Oh, you're just trying to do this, or teachers can think, Oh, you're just sending us to send your child to us, and you're not supporting us, those types of things. There has to be intentional communication. 

Shauna King  
So my workshops often do circle work, where we come together in the circle, teachers and parents and we talk, finding our common desires. We talk about brain knowledge a lot. I talk about working memory, what are some strategies for building executive skills that can be done in schools and can be reinforced at home. Because once we see, it's like a tag team approach, you're in school, and you're in home, and we're all working to develop the child in the best way, I think it works to bridge that gap a little bit more when we're saying, hey, we're on the same team, between eight and three, you're over here, between three and the next day, you're over here. But we are working to help you develop with its character development, reading skills, and literacy, math, whatever it is, we all have a role to play in this. And yeah, I love bringing teachers and parents together to be on what I call. We're coaching the same kid on the same team.

Jen Rafferty  
A hundred percent. And again, you know, when they have the reinforcement of the language, and all the places and spaces where they're at, that allows them to reinforce that for themselves even more. And so it's not like you said, mom said, and then dad said, it's this, we're all in alignment here, which is really again, for the best interests of the kids. One other thing before we have to close out this interview already, I want to ask you more about your book. Can you share a little bit more about the message of this book?

Shauna King  
Well, I'm glad you asked that. And I have actually an exciting update that just happened with the book. And I'll tell you about that, too. So the book was published in 2022. And it's called Children are Listening: What We Say Matters. And it was based off of the workshop that I've actually been doing probably for the last 8 to 10 years. And in the book, what I talk about is I do a little bit of the examining the language that you currently use. And again, it's for parents and/or teachers, and just being doing some reflective activities. And then seeing what are some of the goals that we want to have with our language. So we talk about late a little bit about labels, because sometimes we use words to label and put kids in boxes, right? And we don't want to do that. 

Shauna King  
We also talk about the source of our words. Often it comes from things that we are thinking. It starts in the brain. Words don't just form, there's some thoughts that we're having. So it does a little bit of activities and say, what do you think about the students that you serve? What do you think about your child when you first wake up in the morning? For parents, it's like, are you thinking, Oh, my goodness, I just gotta get to school on time. We got to get the lunch, all those freshing things. Are we saying thinking, it's another day and I want my child to have a great day at school. What can I say to them to help facilitate that? And so we're intentional about creating some plans around those things. 

Shauna King  
We also we examine good job. Good job is easy to say, what does that mean? What does good job mean? And we talk about how to praise our students and give them words that kind of build confidence. They know what they're going to mean. I even delve a little bit into some topics around bias and how some of the words that we use may have inherited some things that we're using bias or stereotype language. And we didn't even realize. I'm very transparent in the book and giving some examples of how even I've been on stage and said things that people at the end of it said, did you hear what you just said? And I had no idea and being willing to learn and adjust our language, because if we're offending someone, we've got to stop.

Jen Rafferty  
Yeah, but we don't know if you don't know. 

Shauna King  
But what I always say it's  impact of our words, not the intent of our words that matter. Yeah, and even if I say, you know, oh, my gosh, I didn't mean to do that. I'm so sorry. I have to realize that the impact of my words cause harm, I apologize. And I'm going to stop. That's really what the book is about. It's really about giving, whether it's words of gratitude or optimism, or as you said, hope, we want our students to have, our children to have hope, and to be able to see the world in a positive way. And pour these words into them that they can continue to feel and fuel them for their future, when they're thinking about themselves that they can say, affirmations to themselves and then to others. And I think that will really fuel a much better, not just students, but world. If our children are speaking positively about themselves and about others, we need that, don't we? 

Jen Rafferty  
We need that. That's the whole thing, right? I mean, that's what we're doing. We're changing the world by empowering people to discover what's possible for them. And if we're stuck in these traps of old stories of labels and limitations, and disempowering language, we're never actually going to wake up to what's possible for us.

Shauna King  
Yeah, and I'd love to give the listeners just a homework assignment. 

Jen Rafferty  
Please, we'd love homework. 

Shauna King  
Yeah, I'm sure everybody loves homework, right? This was fun. I think it just goes to intentionality. And some people may say, I do this already. But tomorrow, whether you're at your workplace, whether you're at home, I want you to be intentional to give at least five words of affirmation, or compliments to people. Or it can be a someone at the target, who you say, Oh, my goodness, I love that hat, something just be intentional, to say at least five positive things to others and see if it changes your mood. See if it changes who you are. I think when we just begin to go through the world, looking for the positive and speaking the positive, it makes a huge change.

Jen Rafferty  
A hundred percent. So this might tie in now to my question that I asked everybody on the show, based on our conversation that we've had, based on your work and all of the wonderful things you're putting out into the world, what is your dream for the future of education?

Shauna King  
That's a great question, Jen. My dream for the future of education is that every student, no matter their background, race, culture, gender, family background, has the opportunity to develop the skills that can help them to thrive in to be the best that they can be in society. To be happy, and to create a happy world. That might sound Pollyanna, but I'm gonna stick with it. 

Jen Rafferty  
And you're talking to someone who also wears rose-colored glasses on her face. So I love it. More of that, please. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you so much for being here, Shauna, I always enjoy talking to you. And before you go, I would love for you to share with the listeners ways for people to learn more about your work, how to get in touch with you, and of course, where they can find the book.

Shauna King  
Awesome. So I am Shauna F. King, and everything. So my website is Shauna, S H A U N A F king.com. Or you can just do classroomsofhope.com Social media is the same Shauna F king on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn X, you can find me there and love partnering and connecting with schools and educators who are interested in creating better classrooms of hope.

Jen Rafferty  
Thank you so much. All of those links are going to be in the show notes. Make it super easy for people to get in touch. Thank you for your time and your talents. And for all of the beautiful things you're doing in this world. It is so cool to know you and I cannot wait to continue these beautiful conversations.

Shauna King  
Absolutely. Jen, it's been a pleasure to talk with you. And I'm sure we'll talk again soon.

Jen Rafferty  
I can't wait. And for those of you listening, you love the episode. Go ahead and write a five star review, share with a friend. And we'll see you next time on Take Notes. 

Jen Rafferty  
Incredible, right? Together, we can revolutionize the face of education. It's all possible. And it's all here for you right now. Let's keep the conversation going on Empowered Educator Faculty Room on Facebook.