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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 January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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