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Practical Invitational Theory

Trust. Respect. Besides the 5Ps, we believe in the four important elements of IE. We call it TRIO. T stands for Trust, R stands for Respect, I stands for intentionality, and O stands for Optimism. In order to be successful, we have to implement these four core elements within our school, especially working towards people, for people make the difference. As Dr. Betty Siegel says, ‘All children are able, valuable and responsible and should be treated accordingly.’ Intentionality. Optimism.

Another great way to start the day is by our tone, that helps up be a great impacting teacher!

Educating should be a collaborative, cooperative activity to offer something beneficial for consideration. By being able, valuable, and responsible; yet firm. We all should model and in response students, so all are treated accordingly. By doing so, they realize their limitless potential that can grow through participation.

Invitational education is creating a school environment that is welcoming, encouraging and “intentionally” calls students in school to realize their “boundless potential.” This will help awaken healthy dreams and productive desires and the gumption to work for them and their future. The five fundamentals of Invitational Theory are: care, trust, respect, optimism, and intentionality. These are the areas we can help navigate students who all are wondering, “Who am I and how do I fit in the world?”

There are five basic statements that represent a good Invitational Education according to Purkey*:

  • First, care, your students are valuable, and responsible and should be treated with respect and care.
  • Second, trust, teaching is more than Standards, it is a collaborative, cooperative activity.
  • Third, respect, be aware of the process and tone, teachers are creating the product, students are in the process of becoming.
  • Forth, optimism, students possess almost an unlimited potential in all areas of personal growth, socialization and effort.
  • Fifth, intentionality, the student’s potential can be brought out from good processes, places, policies, and programs, that invites advancement and by teachers who are intentionally inviting to them.

This offers a constant “stance” that sees students as valuable, so we can create and maintain an optimistic appealing environment. Our attitude is what makes this work. Thus, our healthy desires will be about the care about oneself and others with mutual respect, optimism that sees the student’s potential for the class and their future with consistently and dependably. This is what helps make a great impacting teacher!

An invitational tone will counter most toxic levels of relationships and educational functioning that many students face that demoralizes them. Yet, our overloaded frustrations and stress can continue a student’s frustration cycle. Thus, when we encompass actions, policies, programs, places, and processes that discourage, demean, dissuade, defeat and destroy. We short-circuit a child’s learning and their paternal and even their future. So, we have to be careful of our tone and attitudes daily. We have to not allow the hurts that come our way to become the hurts to our students or family.

Students will care about the class if you care about them. Thus, A good teacher can help grow students by our warmth, empathy, and positive tone. A good teacher can model for a student how to be a positive presence in their own life as well as in the lives of others.

While a successful teacher will exhibit caring, trusting, respecting, and optimistic greater success qualities will be synergized by being invitational. So, we need to purposefully encourage students to enrich their lives in each of these five extents: being personally invited with oneself; being personally inviting to others; being professionally inviting with oneself; and being professionally invited to others.

Build Relationships: Teach More Than ‘Just Math’

Invitational education is not just about teaching the standards; rather, it goes beyond and builds relationships with students and their character. And shows appreciation to the students each day. Such as notes, signs, gestures, kind words. Students will care about the class if you care about them. Being positive and a simple gesture like good morning can make a lifelong difference to a child. Students will reflect the actions and attitude of others, especially teachers in their environment.

Questions to Consider

  • Why is important to build relationships with students? How does that help you teach your content?
  • In what ways do we underestimate the importance of seemingly simple gestures we make?
  • What are our students catching from us?
  • How do you show students that you appreciate them in your classroom?

More on Invitational Education:

*Ref: Purkey, W. W.  “Self-concept and Academic Achievement.” Prentice    

  Hall, 1978

Dr. Richard Krejcir is an Author, Researcher, seasoned Special Education teacher and the Director of a nonprofit that does educational training in third-world countries. He is also a STEAM teacher and a father of a son with autism.

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