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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 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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