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Aim: To analyze a specific type of magic ratio – constructive responding and

commit to at least three specific ways of improving our constructive to destructive

responding ratios
Do-Now Please

1. What do you think the ratio for positive to negative interactions has to be in
order to have fulfilling personal relationships?


2. In what ways do you positively interact with your colleagues, students and
loved ones?



Motivational Quote #1:

Do you believe in magic? – 1993 McDonald’s slogan (taken from a song by The Lovin’ Spoonful) 

Motivational Quote #2:

Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they
both take practice. - Anonymous

One of the many ratios that are relevant in our work is the ratio of
positive to negative interactions, both between us and our kids and
one another. As you may know, research has shown that there are
huge differences in satisfaction rates of interpersonal relationships
when the ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions is __ to 1 – this ratio is
often referred to as the _______________ ratio.

Please list out specific actions that you can continue or start doing to improve your positive
interactions. Then, list out specific actions that you can stop doing to decrease your negative
interactions. Be specific and be prepared to share out 

C ntinue / Start Doing : St p doing

___ : ___
Motivational Quote #1:
Education is all a matter of building bridges – Ralph Ellison

Motivational Quote #2:

To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true
conversation. - Chinese proverb

Just as we dug deeper into a particular kind of ratio – the magic ratio – we are now going to dig
deeper into a subset of the magic ratio – constructive ______________________. Shelly Gable,
professor of psychology at UCLA, noticed that couples with strong relationships had a particular
way of responding to each other when good things happen; in fact the way in which good events
were discussed was found to be more predictive of strong relations than how you fight. Gable
called this productive and positive response an “active and constructive” response.

“The Grid” below illustrates the various ways in which someone can respond to an event:
Passive Active


• Little to no active emotional expression • Maintains eye contact

• Passive Nodding • Displays of positive emotions (i.e. genuine smiling,
• Mild smile touching, eye twinkling, laughing, positive gestures such
points, high fives, clapping, active nodding, etc…)

: ___
• Enthusiastic tone with clear positive acknowledgement and
• Simple/Short Acknowledgement
o “Good job”
___ extension/engagement of answer/thought by
you/others/that person
o “Thanks”
• What if kid gives an incorrect answer? -- Enthusiastic tone
• Passive
What if a kid gives an incorrect answer?
Simple/Short acknowledgement of effort and
with clear positive acknowledgement of effort and then
extension/engagement of others, that particular kid, and
then correcting of answer
teacher to get correct answer and finally returning to
• What if you don’t agree with someone’s original student to ensure understanding
idea – simple short acknowledgement of 3
effort/respect and statement of disagreement • What if you don’t agree with someone’s idea --
Enthusiastic tone with clear positive acknowledgement of
effort and then engagement with that person and others
around that idea

• Neutral to no acknowledgement • Displays of negative emotions, such as furrowed


• Neutral body language brow, frowning

• little to no eye contact, turning away, • Back turned
leaving the room • Rolling Eyes

• Silence • Sarcasm
• Little to no acknowledgement of effort, • Negativity
accuracy or inaccuracy, etc • “No, it’s wrong”
• moving to another kid/topic without • “You’ve got to be kidding me”
acknowledgment, correction (if needed),

___ : ___
So clearly the goal is to improve our ratio of constructive to destructive responding. Let’s take
the time to practice differentiating between the four types of responses.

Clip Type of Response

Clip #1

Clip #2

Clip #3

Clip #4

Now, let’s practice some:

a) Child gives a correct answer

b) Co-worker/spouse/partner/friend makes a suggestion or has an idea that you agree with or
has something good happen to them

How about these slightly harder ones?

a) Kid gives an incorrect answer

b) Co-worker/spouse/partner/friend makes a suggestion or has an idea that you don’t agree



Please list your current strengths as it pertains to active responding (i.e. responding in ways that
are constructive). This can come in the form of phrases you already have in your toolbox or
positive nonverbal actions you already display 
Now take the time to commit to ways to improve your active responding. This can come in the
form of phrases you would like to add to your toolbox, specific positive nonverbal actions you
would like to increase, or specific negative nonverbal actions you would like to decrease.
Sprout-out to Dave for sending along materials that we could use for this PD! 