"He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up: what then? The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune." A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Ebenezer Scrooge to the Spirit of Christmas Past, talking about the virtues of his former employer, Fezziwig. Is being in my class a pleasure or a toil for my [...]
“Teachers are losing the education war because our adolescents are distracted by the social world. Naturally, students don’t see it that way. It wasn’t their choice to get endless instruction on topics that don’t seem relevant to them. They desperately want to learn, but what they want to learn about is their social world—how it works and how they can secure a place in it that will maximize their social rewards and minimize the social pain they feel… How do our schools respond to these powerful social motivations? Schools typically take the position that our social urges ought to be [...]
“It is amazing how easy it is to influence people’s behavior using these friendship tools [the eyebrow flash, the authentic smile and the head tilt]. Alone or in combination, they allow you to make people feel better about themselves and, in turn, encourage them to make you feel better as well. When you employ the Golden Rule of Friendship, it encourages reciprocity: ‘If you make me happy, I want to make you happy.’” p. 90-91 The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over, by Jack Schafer, Ph.D.
"Si al comienzo no muestras quién eres, nunca podrás después, cuando quisieres." "If at first you do not show who you are, you will never be able to afterwards when you want to." From El Conde Lucanor, Cuento XXXV, by Don Juan Manuel (Medieval Castilian writer, 1282-1348). The first week of school is a magical and vitally important time. This is the honeymoon period, those brief few days when it seems like every single one of your students like you, like the class and like each other. Almost every year the honeymoon phase will trick you into thinking you don't [...]
(Previous post in this series: The Input Hypothesis) The next post in this series (#7/9), The Compelling Input Hypothesis, is found here. Teach like a MANIAC A: The Affective Filter Hypothesis "Learning is filtered through the emotions." Psychological safety is one of the most important factors in a successful team. The classroom is no different. Your classroom needs to be a safe space where students are free to take chances. The class must be free of insults, put-downs, judgmental statements and crude language. Even snide remarks, rolling eyes, smirks, mockery, and lack of inclusion can have a negative impact on [...]
Did a seminar in Seattle this week (the 5th of 5 this month) for the Institute for Educational Development, a division of the Bureau of Education and Research (BER). 62 enthusiastic attendees. Fabulous group! Saw some old friends and made some new ones. Woven throughout every aspect of the day was the crucial need for relationships and empathy. Talked about what works in the world language classroom to make it a place where acquisition happens joyfully and enthusiastically: • How modern Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theory applies to best-practice teaching • The difference between acquisition and learning in world language teaching [...]