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The excellent Diesol Podcast, which is on THE BEST PODCASTS FOR ESL/ELL/ELT TEACHERS list, is organizing a special show to celebrate their 100th show.

They’re inviting some teachers to share their one favorite teaching tips.

I’ve decided to share four related ones, and they may or may not find room to include all of them.

Here are my four:

  • Don’t give commands.  Instead, make requests – including the word “please.”  Students will know they are basically commands, but framing them as requests demonstrates respect, is good modeling and, at least in my experience, vastly increases the odds of compliance.
  • Apologize – often! I don’t think I’m the only teacher who makes lots of mistakes – I will falsely accuse a student of using a cellphone, raise my voice, show impatience, etc.  Sincerely offering an apology demonstrates respect and is good modeling behavior. See The Best Resources On The Importance Of Saying “I’m Sorry” for more info.
  • Explain the “why” behind rules, consequences, behaviors, and lessons as often as possible. Helping students the reasons behind what we are doing, especially if it’s something that they may not like, can go a long way towards minimizing resistance and conflict, as well as, once again, provide good modeling.
  • Leading with what students can do, instead of what they can’t.  Emphasizing what you want students to do, instead of what you don’t want them to do, can again minimize resistance and conflict (“Yes, you can go to the restroom in five minutes after we’re done with this activity” instead of “No!”).

“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like” is Rita Pierson’s most famous line, and it’s backed by research.

Making these four actions a regular staple of our teaching style are big steps in the direction of making sure that we are not a person “they don’t like.”

And that, in turn, increases the odds of us being effective teachers.

I’m adding this post to Best Posts On Classroom Management.