Teaching with HEART
Humans naturally crave compliments. No one likes it when others pass nasty remarks about him or her. On the most miserable day, one yearns to hear a friendly remark. Words are a powerful tool that teachers should use to elevate the classroom climate, making it more conducive to learning. In contrast, non-complimentary words can negatively affect the learning environment and students' emotional well-being.
The power of positive words has been known to drive students to jump for joy. PURICH TRIVITAYAKHUN
The power of words
Words affect the emotions of the sender and receiver in interpersonal transactions. The types of words exchanged between a teacher and students have lasting effects on the nature and quality of the relationship forged between the two.
In a typical classroom setting, it is more common for students to be on the receiving end of the communication process. Hence, they are constantly inputting and processing words sent out by teachers on a daily basis. The resulting output determines students' attitude toward motivation in and interest for learning.
The wrong choice
When teachers send out mainly negative comments, students gradually internalise the meanings of these words into their mental and emotional schemata. What started as mere words, inputted and processed at the subconscious level, eventually become consolidated at the conscious level and take a deeper, more concrete place in students' memories. They become convinced that the negative words represent who they really are. They believe that their abilities and academic prowess are only as good as perceived and dictated by their teachers.
In other words, students start believing in false presuppositions about themselves. They do so because the adults they trust have repeatedly sent out words confirming these false beliefs.
When teachers resort to negative comments, it reflects their own inner mental and emotional conditions. They mirror unresolved personal conflicts, cognitive and emotional immaturity, a negative attitude toward the profession and its goals and an inability to exercise a positive inner authority that springs from a natural desire to care for and nurture developing students.
The better choice
Mature teachers understand that circumstances and situations do not determine their responses to students. They therefore avoid the use of negative comments. Rather, their positive responses are founded upon strong, unwavering decisions on what they would always do as role models for the younger ones.
When teachers make positive comments, students feel uplifted and supported. They experience an elevated sense of motivation and interest in learning. They desire success, and each success leads to another greater success.
The greatest thing about teaching is that teachers have the opportunity, on a daily basis, to make a choice to affect students in a positive - or negative - way. Their choice to do the right thing impacts students for good. It is this choice, made on a daily basis, that allows teachers to carefully choose the kind of words they would use to communicate with students.
Sowing good seeds
Every negative word exchanged between a teacher and students represents the sowing of the seed of distrust, which grows into fruits of hostility and hatred.
On the other hand, every positive word exchanged represents the sowing of seeds of trust, respect and belonging.
These good seeds bear fruits of achievement, self-respect, social responsibility, life satisfaction and genuine happiness - the perfect ingredients for sound citizenship.
Dr Edward Roy Krishnan is the director of studies, Kent Institute of Business & Technology (Thailand), director of strategic planning & development, Wells International School. He also lectures in the Graduate School of Psychology, Assumption
University. He can be contacted at email@example.com. To access additional articles by him, visit http://www.affectiveteaching.com .