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3 Big Changes to Reignite your Classroom Teaching Persona

3 Big Changes to Reignite your Classroom Teaching Persona

Do you teach, train, motivate or speak? Do you ever wonder why you cannot always connect with your audience?

Maybe it is your unconscious body language that is keeping you from getting the best results out of your class. Try a bit of an exercise and put yourself in the mind of the student for one minute. In a professional environment, you can break down your audience into two separate opposing camps. The first of these groups being those that are there because they genuinely want the knowledge and are excited to take the class. Your goal with this group is to keep that enthusiasm high. To reward them subtly for their attention and to create an environment where they feel as if they can contribute to the discussion. The second group are those that feel they must be there but have no desire for the knowledge. In a professional setting, these are the students that must take continuing education, re-certification, and the like. In an academic setting, these students must attend this class to take the classes that “matter” to them. Either way, they are predisposed just to want it over and done with. The most interesting challenge in teaching is reaching both of the groups at the same time. No easy task to be sure.

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Body language is key

The trick to keeping both of the parties involved is in your body language and the style in which you deliver the information. Have you ever attended a class and thought the teacher seemed cold, unwelcoming or closed off? The content may have been just what you needed, but you left feeling as if the class could have been so much more.

Have you ever attended a class and thought the teacher seemed cold, unwelcoming or closed off? The content may have been just what you needed, but you left feeling as if the class could have been so much more.

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Or perhaps you attended a seminar, and the opposite happened, the instructor was lively and engaging. Did you feel, afterward, that the class was a success, even if you didn’t have high hopes when you walked in?

It is a universal truth that people from all walks of life and from all over the planet have one thing in common. We are predesigned to relate to one another, to want to connect, to find common ground. We, as teachers, need to look for ways to amplify this natural desire in the face of, let’s face it, sometimes boring topics.

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Here are 3 simple ways to improve your connection with your group:

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    1. Smile more, a lot more!

    I found that, for the most part, I had a serious look on my face when teaching, even when the content I was delivering was supposed to be light and not too serious. A large part of teaching is connecting with your audience and a frown, or blank face is a roadblock to that connection. People are naturally drawn to happy, smiling people and will want to hear more of what you have to say when they feel as though you are happy to be delivering the message.

    2. Great eye contact

    The more you can make your class, speech, or lecture feel like a conversation, the better engaged your audience will feel. When you make eye contact with an individual, they will feel as if you have noticed them, and that they matter to you. It tells them that you want them to understand what you are saying, and you care about their involvement. This is one of the most powerful tools a teacher can use.

    3. Speak TO them, not AT them

    How often do you move throughout the room? Do not be a podium teacher. Walking and speaking creates an amazing effect on your students. They feel compelled to follow you with their eyes, and the ears will then naturally come along for the ride. Try walking up and down the isles, as you speak. Walk in random patterns and stop in different parts of the room. This urges the students or listeners to constantly be aware of where you are. When you combine this with making personal eye contact when you approach someone, they can’t help but feel engaged.

    So, too often, we focus on lesson plans, daily distractions, or just making it to the bell. Being a teacher with bad body language, however, is akin to being a sprinter with no shoes. Sure, you will make it around the track, but can you ever hope to win?

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    Glenn Killey

    Author, Motivational Speaker, Mindset Coach

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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