By now, you have probably heard about the popular book, Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This book has broken down how people and children receive love and feel cared for. Five different ways of showing and receiving love can translate into your classroom and teaching to these languages will help make sure everyone feels loved and secure in your classroom.
The first step is to find out your own love languages. By taking this quick quiz online, you can learn your own love language and see how you fall. Each person will have a spectrum of the different languages, and by knowing your own, you can learn how you instinctually respond. This will also allow you to make sure you are feeling loved and cared for, so you can give love to your students.
The Five Love Languages and How to Teach to Them
1. Words of Affirmation
- Definition: People with words of affirmation as a love language value verbal acknowledgments of affection, including frequent "I love you's," compliments, words of appreciation, verbal encouragement, and often frequent digital communication like texting and social media engagement. (Perel)
- How to teach to these students: This one is probably the most typical way of showing you care to your students. Using words to say "great job" or "I am proud of you" will show these students they are on the right track. You can say the compliments both quiet and personally or in front of the class.
2. Quality Time
- Definition: People whose love language is quality time feel the most adored when their partner actively wants to spend time with them and is always down to hang out. They particularly love when active listening, eye contact, and full presence are prioritized hallmarks in the relationship. (Perel)
- How to teach to these students: Quality time does not have to be tons of time. Making sure to take a moment out of your day for each of these students will fill their cup. Try to make sure this time is just a moment of listening or conversation, not necessarily a teaching moment.
3. Acts of Service
- Definition: If your love language is acts of service, you value when your partner goes out of their way to make your life easier. It's things like bringing you soup when you're sick, making your coffee for you in the morning, or picking up your dry cleaning for you when you've had a busy day at work. (Perel)
- How to teach these students: Often, especially for children, this love language goes both ways. Students who are Acts of Service often want the chance to do something special for you. Make sure you acknowledge these moments and give them the response they are looking for. You can also make sure to have these children be a helper in class, or let them know they are helping you out.
4. Receiving Gifts
- Definition: Gifts is a pretty straightforward love language: You feel loved when people give you "visual symbols of love," as Chapman calls it. It's not about the monetary value but the symbolic thought behind the item. People with this style recognize and value the gift-giving process: the careful reflection, the deliberate choosing of the object to represent the relationship, and the emotional benefits from receiving the present.
- How to teach these students: This one can be tricky. You cannot buy your students tons of gifts, but you can take a moment and try to show them they care. You can maybe color them a small picture, give them a note, or use a reward system. These students will be the ones that respond to a reward system the most, and using the system to earn a prize is a great way to include them.
5. Physical Touch
- Definition: People with physical touch as their love language feel loved when they receive physical signs of affection, including kissing, holding hands, cuddling on the couch, and sex. Physical intimacy and touch can be incredibly affirming and serve as a powerful emotional connector for people with this love language. The roots go back to our childhood, Motamedi notes, some people only felt deep affection and love by their parents when they were held, kissed, or touched.
- How to teach these students: This is another one that can be tricky. While you cannot obviously kiss and hug the students, you can take a moment to high five, fist bump, or elbow bump. These students will also respond to a self hug or pat on the back, even if they are giving it to themselves. Incorporating these items into your classroom will help these children feel loved in your classroom.
While academics are obviously important for your classroom, but making sure these love languages are incorporated into your classroom will allow your children to feel secure and comfortable with you. This will create a strong bond between you and your students and allow for children to thrive with you.