The power of words in the classroom

The power of words in the classroom pgce

Whether we like to admit it or not, the words we use have much greater implications than we realise. This can be seen and experienced in all aspects of life, particularly in the classroom where those who have studied a professional teaching programme like a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Senior Phase (SP) and Further Education and Training (FET)s (PGCE), educate our nation’s children.

If you consider your own school years, how did your favourite teachers speak to you? From the words they chose to the tone they used, they must have made you feel comfortable and safe. This in turn will have motivated you to learn and give of your best. On the flip side, think of the educators you weren’t so fond of. How did they talk to students? More importantly, how did this make you and your peers feel?

Regardless of whether you have a teaching certificate like a PGCE or an Honours in Education, your words will come to be one of your most potent teaching tools. This is because they factor into every element of teaching. From taking students through a lesson to engaging with them about personal matters and even resolving conflict, you’ll be talking through it all.

Every day, you have a choice about which words you use. They will shape learners and the way that they ultimately learn, act and perceive the world around them. When you think about that, it’s clear that your role as an educator is a tremendously important one.

How does language impact learners?

For starters, it establishes and reinforces feelings and experiences. It also drives a student’s sense of identity and how they see themselves. Take a young child who struggles with mathematics. Instead of saying, “wow, you’re really struggling, aren’t you?” perhaps you should consider, “don’t worry, we all struggle but I know you’ll get this in no time!” The first response will trigger a negative emotion in the learner and could even create a barrier to the subject and even to you in the future. If you don’t believe in them, how will they believe in themselves?

Our verbal communication has the potential to affect the relationship between students and teachers too. If you use positive language that makes a learner feel safe and inspired to learn, they will be more likely to confide in you if they have something that needs to be reported like bullying or abuse. The most successful students often have solid relationships with their educators. This starts with trust and one way to establish that is by the way we speak to students.

Make your time in the classroom count

Whilst you’ve already made the most selfless career choice by choosing to be a teacher, there’s a lot you can do to improve your abilities to teach. At The IIE’s Varsity College we believe in teaching graduates #NewWorldThinking skills that prepare them for the challenges of their chosen careers. Through greater critical thinking and problem-solving skills, they can forge a career to be proud of. For more on The IIE’s Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Senior Phase (SP) and Further Education and Training (FET)s contact The IIE’s Varsity College today.

Varsity College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). South Africa’s leading private higher education provider that’s registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training and accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC).

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