It couldn’t be as simple as breathing, could it?
Teaching is 99% about building relationships. You need to establish trust and community in order for people to learn and change.
We know the basics of relationship-building: ask them questions, get to know their likes and dislikes, care about their life outside your classroom. But that takes time, patience, and it hinges on them opening up, a tall order, especially beyond grade 5.
What if it was possible to get an instant connection?
It is, and it’s far easier than you might think.
Tony Robbins is a motivational speaker who can get people to bare their souls to him within minutes of meeting. How does he do it? He says we like people who are like us, and we dislike people who are unlike us. Basically, we like to have things in common.
One guaranteed way to have fundamental things in common with a person? Mirror their body language. You can do this with anyone, and because body language is so primal, the response is powerful.
Non-verbals you can mirror:
- how they are standing or sitting
- their volume, pace and tone
- how close or far they are from you (you’ll be able to tell you’re too close if they become rigid, turn their head to the side, or start to withdraw backwards)
- their actions and gestures
- their breathing
For your loud students, talk loudly. With your quiet students, talk quietly. Just make sure you’re subtle with your actions: if you’re too obvious, the person will think you’re mocking them.
You already differentiate your instruction, so level up your teaching, and differentiate your delivery too.