Unconditional Positive Regard

Twitter is a great tool to get oneself not only informed but updated. Yesterday I came across this tweet and went on a trail of discovery.

According to the link, Unconditional Positive Response or UPR, is a great tool to prevent persistent negative reinforcement (which is sure to happen when we use “shh!” or “shush” to control behaviour in the classroom). Interesting. The article had also provided an outline of what UPR was. This is what prompted me to look for UPR.

Carl R Rogers, the American humanist psychologist is the propounder of UPR and this is central to his theories. He provides insight into what he meant by UPR:
Unconditional refers to holding ‘no conditions of acceptance…. it is at the opposite pole from a selective evaluative attitude.’ (p. 225*)
Positive offers ‘warm acceptance…’ (p. 225*)
Regard means ‘a caring’, here the care the therapist shows for the client – without being possessive or without expecting any fulfilment of personal agenda. (p. 225*)
In a nutshell it just means to accept a person and give support irrespective of what he/she says/does. Acceptance of a person just as he or she is. I think this concept has a wonderful bearing in the field of education.

How can we use UPR in the classroom? Speak firmly but with warmth. Threats, warnings, one upmanship and through that creating power struggles within classrooms are a big no no. After all we adults must show our mettle with our equals – fellow adults. Not with our students. Accept our pupils. Recognize each one of them as individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses. No comparison of one with the other. No insults and humiliations. Provide a very supportive climate that will tell them that we care. Genuinely care. This will create engagement. Accountability for learning. A caring bond with a student will convey that you believe and have faith in him/her.

I think UPR is absolutely essential in today’s world. It is a parenting necessity. A must have for the classroom teacher. When the home and school fronts work in tandem, we can create a new breed of young people – those who have empathy, compassion and of course unconditional positive regard! And that should augur a peaceful, gentle world!!

Let’s strive for this…


*Rogers, C.R. (1959), A Theory of therapy, personality, and interpersonal relationships as developed in the client-centred framework, by C R Rogers

Customer Service

Recently, there was an occasion to visit a hospital. I was in considerable pain and went to the hospital quite early in the morning. I was the first patient – good for me; I got the first appointment to see the doctor in question. I had to wait for over an hour to meet the doctor and even that I did not hyperventilate about. In fact I was so grateful I would meet the doctor first and that awareness brought in a great deal of relief.

The nurse and the doctor were very courteous, gracious people. They offered me the best of services. After meeting the doctor, I was asked to take my papers to the reception and make the payment with the cashier there. I go there. Earlier, I had seen this young man enter, and take up his seat while waiting for my doctor.

I go to him. I present my papers.
He looks at me – his eyebrows arching like a question mark. I present my insurance card.
“75 dirhams.” He mutters. I hardly hear him.
“Excuse me.” I say.
“75 dirhams.”  He is a lot more louder.
I give him a 100 dirham note. I attempt at giving him a sunny smile of mine, though I am still hurting. Ouch, it is lost on him! He gives me the change – 25 dirhams. I look at the notes. One 10 dirham note is torn. I mean really torn. 

I tell him, “Could you please change this note for me?”
“What?” He literally barked. “Why?” An irritated expression dons his face.
“It is torn and I want another note in place of this.” I say firmly. I also tell myself, be patient, Asha. You are a patient here. And hold your temper in check.
He mutters something under his breath and thrusts a better note into my hands.
Not torn. I heave a sigh of relief, happy to get away from such a grouchy person. 

Customer Service

I thought a lot about this young man. Maybe he got out from the wrong side of his bed. Or it must not have been his day – he has my sympathies for the day had just about begun for him. Notwithstanding that, behaving discourteously to a customer is uncalled for. Unlike other customers, those who come to hospitals are in pain and discomfort, and harbour within them fear, anxiety and a host of other negative emotions, thoughts and feelings. How nice and reaffirming would one feel if the patient is dealt by smiling nurses, technicians, other support staff and doctors! Am sure, half the ailment will disappear in the face of such sunny, warm and delightful countenances and behavior.  

Ah, speak about customer service!