Make no mistake, teaching is the most fulfilling and also the hardest job in the world.
It brings a teacher immense gratification and joy to see a student who once struggled with simple Mathematics concepts to score pass that subject for the first time.
At the same time, it is heartbreaking when you work so hard to prepare an engaging and enriching lesson for your students, and then you see them play in class, not do their homework, and cook up all sorts of ridiculous excuses for their behavior.
If you’re a teacher, you have probably seen by now the magic your experienced colleagues can spin even with the most difficult child. You may have tried everything in the proverbial handbook – speaking nicely, using humour, inciting fear, and all to no or very limited success. And then this soft-spoken, mild-mannered, veteran teacher steps in, says a few words, and little monster promptly transforms into a sweet angel who does exactly as he or she is told.
Wouldn’t you like to know the secret?
Well, here it is. These teachers have learnt the power of language. They use a powerful skill, Neuro-Linguistic Programming to win over their pupils, even without the child realising it. They know how to use language to “push” their students’ metaphorical buttons such as “motivation”, “excitement”, “calm” and “decisiveness”.
Which brings me to my first point.
NLP Trick No. 1
Veteran teachers know that perception is not reality. Everyone has a different model of the world. When students show resistance, it is a sign of a lack of rapport. As teachers, it is our responsibility to use language to communicate precisely what we mean. We have to change our communication strategy until we get the response we want.
NLP Trick No. 2
They mind read.
No, they don’t actually have the superpower to peer into the depths of your mind. What they are good at, though, is claiming to know the thoughts or feelings of their most stubborn, most emotional student, without actually specifying the process by which they came to know the information.
You may notice that some of your senior colleagues use phrases such as “I know”, “I’m aware,” and “You may realise” a lot. It is not so much a language tic as it is a way to build rapport with a difficult student. These mind reads are seldom questioned. Imagine saying “You know as well as I do that learning is important” instead of “You don’t think learning is important at all” – it makes a huge difference to the student!
NLP Trick No. 3
The best teachers know how to express opinions such that one thing means another. They use phrases and sentences that include words like “is” and “means” to verbalise new meanings in the mind of the listener (in this case, their students).
So, they may tell a student that “since you asked a question, it means you are really interested in this subject”. The student in question, who may have previously been told off for being disruptive and asking too many questions, will then start to believe that he or she has potential in this area and start to work extra hard – which in turn, of course, leads to better results, and even more interest in the subject. It is a win-win situation for both teacher and student.
NLP Trick No. 4
At this point, we have covered the key language patterns veteran teachers use to encourage and positively influence rebellious students. These are all really powerful Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) skills that are great for winning over even the most resistance of people.
You can supercharge these strategies by establishing rapport with your students too. This is done by creating similarity and reducing differences. You see, students like people who are like themselves. They will be more open to accepting your opinions and suggestions if you are able to match their body movements, tonality, and key phrases.
No, I’m not saying that you have to mimic them. It would obviously look quite silly and you do need to demonstrate some level of respectability at the end of the day, which would be difficult if you go around parroting things your students say, like “Ok boomer”.
If you have the time, I’d encourage you to join me at my free NLP Introductory Workshop to find out more. You will learn more about these techniques, and you can also speak to us for more information and get any burning questions to you have about NLP answered. Click here to find out more!