teaching

Personal Anecdotes: 6 Pro Tips for teachers, trainers, speakers and leaders

I was the wittiest teacher in town until that day. Mid-joke, I suddenly realized that my students laugh because I control their grades. Damn. I shut my mouth and got serious about my job. Which isn’t to say I’m solemn now—keeping things light helps learning, and personal anecdotes add depth to speeches. But my job is to…

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Personal, Active & Brief

We pay more attention when someone speaks directly to us. Salespeople know that, so do good writers, speakers, teachers and leaders. Write Like You Speak, and Speak Directly to Your Audience. Be personal—write or speak directly to your audience, readers, or participants. Although school trained us to be formal and impersonal, it’s better to use direct…

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Teaching & Training Skills: How to present information

I once had a prof who was a total geek; she loved her subject so much that she overwhelmed us with information. While her enthusiasm added interest, it was exhausting. Worse, it was incoherent. Even those of us who took copious notes were unsure of the key points. The instructor failed in 3 ways: She didn’t…

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How to Write Clear Instructions: 6 easy steps

Use lists where possible. Use a separate point or sentence for each action. Make the text large enough for visually impaired readers. How do you know it’s big enough? Test it. Know your audience—who will be reading these instructions and in what situations? Write inclusive instructions; make them simple and clear enough for lower literacy…

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Clear Writing for Teachers: 7 Items to Include in Course Descriptions

The basis of good teaching is clear communication; telling your participants what they need and want to know in a way that they can easily understand. One item that teachers and trainers often forget to clearly communication is the course structure. Making the course structure clear allows participants to relax and focus on learning. Here’s how…

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Teaching & Training Tips: Successful assignment briefs

Good for you. You started your course or program by telling everyone what they need to know about the course, and where to find that information when they need it. Now it’s time to talk about assignment briefs. Assignment briefs document everything students need to know about the assignment. A brief should be a complete,…

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18 Words At A Time: How to talk so kids will listen (and possibly do what you ask)

This post will help you talk clearly and kindly to the kids in your life. You’ll learn how to stay calm and retain authority while having wonderful relationships with magical and miraculous creatures.  Keep it Short With kids you have up to 18 words. After 18 they lose interest and your voice becomes only so much…

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Negative Feedback: How to receive & respond to harsh responses

It’s easy to offend people—look at social media. Even if you’re not a puppy-kicking troll, chances are good that you will offend someone at least once in your life. Perhaps you purposely or accidentally did something wrong, or maybe it’s just a case of different values. In either situation you might receive negative feedback. Receiving criticism and negative feedback…

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Navigating Negative Feedback: How to fix problems and get what you want

Someone messed up. An employee mishandled a project; your new car is a lemon; the waiter forgot your meal. From big to small, problems can be solved—and often fixed—if you know to complain, and what to do next. Handled skillfully, negative feedback can generate positive outcomes. Here’s how to make it useful, actionable and helpful….

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Change Your Words, Change Your Worldview

Cleaning some research files, I stumble across this evocative statement: The Social model of disability …the general term disability is applied not because of an inability to function but rather because of an innate inability to operate by modern society’s standards… For example in a pre-literate society, someone with Dyslexia would have no problem functioning and…

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You Might Like To…

A famous teacher and community leader (Thich Nhat Hanh) gives instructions framed as “You might like to…” What a transformative concept. Saying “You might like to” instead of “You must” is refreshingly respectful and helpful. It’s not telling us what to do. It’s trusting us to find our own answers. As teachers and leaders we might…

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