What True Detective can teach us about education

Photo courtesy of hbo.com

In the crime show, True Detective, Matthew McConaughey’s character is unparalleled at getting suspects to confess. He can spend a mere five minutes talking to a person before they’re practically begging to be found guilty. 

He explains that people want to confess, you just have to help them. He does this by looking into the fibre of their beings, and nurturing the person in just the right way. He says everyone tells you what they need, it’s written all over their faces, you just have to notice it. 

Be a student detective

The same could be said of students. They want to behave. They want to feel smart. Everyone wants to succeed. But because of the situation they’re in (socially, mentally, emotionally), they feel like those things are impossible for them.

Our job then, as teachers, is to help them. Draw the good behaviour out of them. Show them the path to their success. Look into the fibre of their beings, pay attention, and figure out what their needs are. And then nurture them in just the right way. 

Steal Matthew McConaughey’s strategies

  1. Be empathetic and make the person feel like you are on their side.
  2. Use physical closeness to ease the person into exposing their vulnerabilities.
  3. Make a connection between you and them.
  4. Get to the heart of their issues, and then…
  5. Use the person’s deepest needs (forgiveness, relief, being seen) to get them on track.

*Many of the things Matthew McConaughey does in True Detective are dangerous, unethical, and would get you into serious trouble. In general, don’t try things you see on TV at home.