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In Honor Of...Brian Mendler


I am so excited to share that on Monday, September 21st, I am the guest on the Brian Mendler Show podcast!

I met Brian 7 years ago when he came to Buffalo to deliver PD called, "Motivating and Managing Hard to Reach, Uninterested, and Disruptive Students." At the time, I was working at a school where 97% of our students lived in poverty. The students were not difficult, but the circumstances in their lives often were. What's more, not all of our teachers had the background, experiences, or training to best meet our students' needs. As a result, sometimes there were 1-2 students in each class or grade level who needed more of our attention and skill than we knew how to give. Brian's session was genuinely inspirational and I wanted to share his knowledge with others. However, if you've ever heard Brian speak, you know that sharing your notes from his sessions doesn't hold a candle to hearing him directly.

It was wonderful that we were able to have Brian come in to meet with the teachers and do on-site PD. We also developed a continued relationship for on-site 1:1 coaching with some of our teachers who needed support as they struggled to support their students. That time was instrumental in helping the adults in the school form better relationships and responses to our students.

One of the things that I learned from him seven years ago was the idea of "In honor of..." or the notion that many students do not want to draw attention to themselves--both those who are misbehaving, but also those who are doing well behaviorally and/or academically. Brian recommended that rather than having an Honor Roll assembly, as an example, where only a select few get acknowledged (singled out), to instead have an "In Honor Of..." assembly where all students are able to participate in honor of those students who did well. Yes, you are allowing students who didn't "earn it" to participate, but the point of acknowledging some should not come at the expense of publicly dishonoring others. I am happy to share that we changed the way we had assemblies from that point forward. What's more, it made the students who didn't earn the honor grateful to those who did. Thanks to Juan, we're able to have a class party! That's a lot better than students saying, Juan, you think you're so smart, don't you?

In my book, Engagement is Not a Unicorn (It's a Narwhal), I include another strategy I learned from Brian that I call, "Make Me an Offer I Can't Refuse." I'm including it in this post in case you want to check it out. There are some other files in earlier posts if you want to read more segments from the book. Or, of course, I'd love it if you bought it so you can read it all!


Mendler Strategy
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