Interview with Mike Anderson

Bena Kallick and Allison Zmuda

Bena Kallick and Allison Zmuda are authors, friends, and colleagues. They co-authored the 2017 book, Students at the Center: Personalized Learning with Habits of Mind.


We are thrilled to spend some time with Mike Anderson – our friend and author of a new book What We Say and How We Say it Matter: Teacher Talk that Improves Student Learning and Behavior (ASCD, 2019). One of the driving themes of this book is that the patterns we have of language and behavior don’t necessarily line up with the best intentions we have for our students. As we are beginning to get ready to go back to school, this 18 minute conversation helps us reflect on who we want to be as a teacher.

When we welcome students into our classrooms, we hope to communicate that this learning experience is a joint venture.

  • We want to provide structure so they feel psychologically safe as they acclimate to new relationships and challenges.
  • We want to commit to learning one another’s names as a show of respect.
  • We want to create a community of learners by engaging in academic work so that we can create classroom routines and rules together.
  • We want to demonstrate positive presuppositions each day by that model positive self talk.

Reflective Questions 

How do I want to be as a teacher? What are my positive intentions?

How do we want our classroom to be? How do we develop this with our students?

How can I manage my own emotional baggage when working with students to ensure that I’m living my positive intentions?

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