Gentle Teaching is really about changing yourself to be more tolerant, giving, and offer unconditional love. It’s not a gimmick, and it isn’t easy. Gentle Teaching has resulted in positive changes for the individuals GENT serves as well as a cultural transformation for our entire nonprofit organization.
Gentle teaching is based on 2 values inherent to every human being.
1. Every individual has dignity and worth.
2. Human relationships are of central importance.
Individuals with development and other disabilities sometime exhibit challenging behaviors and may hurt themselves or others. GENT uses Gentle Teaching to change those challenging behaviors. We don’t focus on compliance, we never punish, and we don’t require individuals to earn rewards. We do build relationships; help mend broken hearts and heal
wounds. It’s not quick or easy. Gentle Teaching is what we say and do, and has become GENT culture.
Gentle Teaching is based on 3 Beliefs.
1. All individuals are inherently good.
2. All individuals hunger to be with others.
3. Unconditional love is our way of being.
In Gentle Teaching we use the words, honored, respected and either the word, valued or loved, depending on which word individuals are most comfortable with.
Gentle Teaching uses 4 Pillars of Companionship
2. Valued. (Loved)
3. Value Others. (Loving)
Everyone has a history, memories, gifts and vulnerabilities. These influence how we communicate, along with our emotions, wishes and desires. At GENT we choose to focus on an individual’s gifts and strengths. We use our Tools of
Gentle Teaching to focus on individuals strengths. It helps individual see us and fellow employees as loving, caring individuals who aren’t just another person in a long line of people who may come into and go out of their life.
Our Tools of Gentle Teaching include:
1. Our words; We use words to convey “You’re safe with me”. We use a soft slow tone to encourage, never demand and use storytelling to help convey what we mean.
2. Our touch; Our hands and touch are always light. Our touch is quiet and slow to reduce fear. We hug. If hugs aren’t
appropriate or tolerated, we use knuckles, air punches, and high 5’s.
3. Our eyes; We believe our eyes are the windows to our soul. Our eyes are warm and loving and our facial expressions are soft and smiling.
4.Our presence; Our presence combines our energy, mood, words, touch and eyes as we constantly adjust to the feelings of the other individual.
We never respond to the individuals we serve with our emotions. We don’t act in an overprotective, authoritarian, cold or fearful way.
At GENT we use our Gentle Teaching Tools; our words, hands, eyes, and presence during challenging interactions and everyday life to support individuals to feel safe and have a meaningful life. One saying we use in training is “We may give without loving, but we can’t love without giving.”