Discovering the True Meaning of Support through Gentle Teaching

Gentle Teaching, as developed by Dr. John McGee, has played a profound role in shaping the person I have become. It has instilled in me the belief that every individual deserves support tailored to their unique needs. As I embark on my internship journey at a local inner-city school through the University of Regina Faculty of Education, the teachings of Gentle Teaching continue to be my guiding light. It has taught me to recognize the reasons behind people’s actions and distinguish between being equal and being equitable, ultimately enabling me to better support those around me.

One of the invaluable lessons I have learned is the importance of understanding that every action has a reason behind it. This insight will serve as a compass in my future endeavors. Recognizing behaviors as a form of seeking attention has allowed me to empathize with individuals whose “negative” behaviors may arise from negative experiences or a lack of positive attention. The four tools of gentle teaching – presence, words, hands, and eyes – have become my allies in addressing this. By maintaining a welcoming presence, offering words of encouragement and recognition, using body language to convey calmness and acceptance, and using my eyes to acknowledge everyone’s presence, I can provide the positive attention that all students need.

The four pillars of Gentle Teaching (safe, loved, loving, and engaged) have been my enlightenment in understanding the difference between equal and equitable treatment. This understanding is not only essential for my role in supporting individuals with COR but also in my work within the school environment. The pillars serve as categories of self-fulfillment, much like a wellness wheel measuring physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being. The pillars have shown me that every individual experiences different levels of contentment in each area. Equitable treatment, based on the four pillars, ensures that support is focused on the areas in which an individual needs improvement the most, leading to fulfillment in all four pillars. In contrast, equal treatment offers a uniform approach that doesn’t consider individual needs. Recognizing these differences ensures that everyone can say, “In this place, I feel safe, loved, I am able to love, and I am engaged with the people and things around me.” This realization emphasizes that everyone requires support tailored to their specific needs.

Gentle Teaching has been transformative in shaping me into the person I am today. It has opened my eyes to the idea that every person requires a unique form of support. Through critical thinking, I have come to understand that there is a reason behind every action, and everyone deserves a support system tailored to their individual needs. Gentle Teaching has not only helped me grow as a teacher and support person but, most importantly, as a human being.

With gratitude,


COR Family Member