I believe humans thrive because we have the most developed minds, not the most vigorous strength.
Every educator knows that teaching is complex. It can be fun, stressful, or boring at the same time. Hence, tutors will benefit from resources that they could potentially use to help them at teaching. Things that may benefit them may be upgraded physical equipment, such as a new laptop for better presentation, a superior whiteboard for crystal clear writing, or even a brand new classroom for a fruitful learning process.
But the problem with these kinds of physical objects are that they require funds. This hindrance is what makes this idea not feasible for everyone. While funding is not the same for everyone, we still possess the most powerful thing in our body: the mind.
All problems are illusions of the mind.
— Eckhart Tolle
The brain has adapted itself through countless generations to help us survive. In evolution processes, we thrive as an organism because we have the most developed mind, not the most vigorous strength. And that’s the reason psychological tricks work wonderfully—because they influence our greatest asset: the brain.
This article will provide some psychological tricks for teachers to improve the learning environments they cultivate.
Humans love to be in charge, be it small or large power they possess. Let’s say John will buy the newest car next week to impress his parents. And his friend, Paul, will also get the latest car next week because his old car broke down. John and Paul will mostly spend the same amount of cash on purchasing the same thing, yet both of them don’t feel the same way. John feels happy because he thinks that he does it willingly, but Paul will feel uneasy to do the same because he considers buying a car is mandatory. This topic is called The Illusion of Choice.
Knowing that theme, teachers could force their students to do something by giving them choices that lead to the same outcome. If a student in the classroom doesn’t want to do the assignment, give them the two options: do the tasks now or later as homework. The outcome will be the same, but your student will feel more comfortable to know that they are in charge of their decisions.
Another example would be giving children choices for their time limit. Directly limiting their playing time will no doubt make them angry. To get around that, teachers could offer them the option to play for X minutes or Y minutes. They will understand as to why their playtime is over, because they chose the time limits themselves. Those are some examples of its many probable uses. As long as teachers are creative, the potential is limitless.
Making Incorrect Statements and Letting Students Correct You
Giving a nice and steady flow of presentation is important. But sometimes it could be dull and potentially bores listeners to sleep. There will be a moment where the chapter seems unnecessarily repetitive, yet it’s simple for your students to understand. It could be in mathematics, biology, or even physical education. The trick to grasp the students’ attention and make them raise their chin from the desk is simple: give them incorrect statements or examples.
Teachers shouldn’t think that they must be able to answer every question regarding learning materials. It is okay to forget a thing or two if the terms are highly specific. If a teacher uses his Windows 10 laptop, and then he says: Steve Jobs did a great work inventing the OS for this device. What will students do? Puzzled, they will gather their full attention right away. Even some of them will immediately raise their hand, trying to correct the teacher. By giving a plain wrong statement, the teacher may recover the students’ focus back up.
Letting the students correct something may also provide them with the confidence boost needed. It also shows that the teacher could be inaccurate in something. When the students feel comfortable evaluating you, they may view the educator as both a teacher and a partner. And they will be more cooperative in the future. The only downside comes when teachers are inaccurate on important subjects too often. Because of that, students may develop an ego for correcting the teachers or even view them as unprofessional.
Rewarding Successes Instead of Discouraging Failures
From 2008 until 2010, a study was conducted in New York State Hospital. The goal of the study was to make sure that employees wash their hands to prevent diseases from spreading. At first, workers were given warning signs reminding the danger of unsanitized hands. Surprisingly, only 10% of them washed their hands before and after entering a patient room. After that, the hospital introduced an electronic board system. Instead of being given warnings and potential risks, employees were given a “good job” message and a bonus to their hygiene scores every time they wash their hands. In only a month, employees’ handwashing rates increase dramatically to almost 90% using this system.
For teachers, giving ample rewards is much harder than thoroughly punishing mistakes. Many educators like intimidating their students to work harder because of that. Even though teachers have good intentions, students are susceptible to stress if they are obligated too much. Instead of helping students by discouraging failures, teachers should allow students enough room for those failures. By experiencing them, students will know what they lack, so they can work to improve on it.
The reward doesn’t need to be that great. It only requires being motivational and personalized. Complimenting struggling students for improving their marks from 50 to 65 is more important than buying a new set of pencils for students getting a 95+ score. Discouraging something is practical if the risk is too much for students, however, such as violent behavior or underage drinking.
Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.
— W. Clement Stone
Comfortable Environments Promote Better Learning
Students will enjoy the learning process when they are in a comfortable environment. They will cooperate and give the best performance if they are confident in their abilities. And that is the goal of teaching: convincing that they can achieve their dreams and not be deterred by failures.
© 2020 Azkra Fariyz Fadhilah