Teacher Julie McCracken was working in the playground when two six-year-olds came running up to her, hurt, upset and angry. She used her Clean Language training to resolve the dispute.

Child one: “He punched me in the face and it hurt and I don’t like it.”

Child two: “Well it was an accident and anyway, he kicked my leg and I told him
to stop and he kept kicking and it hurt my leg.”

Julie: “And… he punched you in the face and it hurt and you don’t like it.
And when… he punched and it hurt and you don’t like it…
what would you like to have happen?”

Child one: “I want him to stop punching me.”

Julie: “And… you want him to stop punching you.”
Julie (to child two): “And… it was an accident and he kicked your leg and you told him to stop and he kept kicking and it hurt your leg.
And when… accident and he kept kicking and it hurt your leg… what would you like to have happen?”

Child two: THE TEACHER TELLS US OFF!!

Julie: “And… the teacher tells you off.
And when… the teacher tells you off…
what would you LIKE to have happen?”

Child two: “I want us to play nicely.”

Julie (to child one): “And… you want him to stop punching you…
And when… stop punching you…
then what happens?”

Child one: “We can still play Starwars but we don’t get punched and stuff.”

Julie: “And… you can still play Starwars but you don’t get punched and stuff…
And when… you play Starwars and you don’t get punched and stuff…
then what happens?”

Child one: “Well we can play Starwars and it’s fun.”

Julie (to Child one): “And… you can play Starwars and it’s fun…“
(to Child two) “And… you want ‘us’ (looking at both of them) to play nicely…
And… what needs to happen for ‘play Starwars’, ‘fun’, ‘play nicely’?”

Child two: “We can pretend to fight and not really hit and that’s playing nicely.”

Child one: “Yeah, we can pretend to use light sabers and go whaaa, whaaa, whaaa
so we can do pretend attack with light sabers and get them like that (demonstrates
‘pretend capturing’) then we won’t get hurt.”

Julie: “And… playing nicely and pretend and light sabers
And… can that happen?”

Both children began talking at the same time saying:
“Yes… we can have light sabers and just pretend, whaaa, whaaa…”

At this point Julie gestured (a palms up ‘French shrugging’ gesture) and they both
went off to play nicely, capturing each other and using imaginary light sabers
And… Julie had missed a wonderful opportunity to TELL THEM OFF!

One Response to “Clean Language in the playground”

  1. [...] story of how Derek Jackson used Clean Language with his elderly mother. On the Clean Change site (www.cleanchange.co.uk/store/CleanLanguage/2008/10/20/clean-language-in-the-playground/) Julie McCracken details how she’s used Clean Language with six-year-olds in the [...]

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