Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Teaching today: what else do we need to work in the classrooms of 2010?

A common perception these days is that the world is changing. FAST.

Students are not the same as they used to be, the technological advances in the last decade have altered the way we relate to the world and what we give priority to. It has led to the evolution of people who process information more visually, who are accustomed to doing several things at the same time, who are connected in some way constantly to others via cellphones, Blackberrys, Facebook, Twitter and other sites and devices. If you add to that the concerns common in today’s society with regard to the environment, law and order, inflation and the future, you have a potent mixture of sensations and emotions residing in all of us.

This has an effect on the classroom. In major urban centres, the relaxed pace of life for learning and growing is no longer evident as people rush from one activity or commitment to another. Many students are mentally elsewhere in class time as they deal with matters happening in the rest of the world while they are also ‘present’ in our lessons.

How do we cope with this as teachers? Are we able to maintain our balance in this whirlwind? Undeniably, our role as teachers is undergoing subtle and not so subtle adjustments as the years pass. In many cases, the previous role of the teacher has expanded to include that of a type of social worker, a psychologist, a babysitter and so on. This is not so say that teachers have not always had extra duties beyond actually teaching but as other support systems no longer perform the way they used to, teachers find that there are more demands on them from students or that in order to help the students make the most of a class, they have to deal with other issues first. Even if we have the assistance of other people like principals, coordinators or educational psychologists, the fact of being their teacher and having an ongoing relationship with the students means we are part of their lives and a natural person to resort to for support and assistance.

The big question is: where do we train up for this? In general, the vast majority of our teacher training in teachers’ colleges is based around matters such as methodology, content and theory with the practical focus on how to deliver a lesson. Often a lesson that is idealistic in relation to most common classroom realities. This is not to deny the importance of theory and studying the subject matter to give us the necessary base for our work. But does it answer the many questions we have arising from non-academic issues in the classroom?

Who teaches us:
How to deal with a child in tears,
How to handle an interview with a distraught or difficult parent,
How to manage vast swings in energy and moods in the students,
How to motivate students who come to class with many demotivating influences from the outside world,
How to resolve quickly and elegantly conflicts or disputes that may or may not have something to do with the classroom,
How to work in contexts where communication between the different participants may be blocked or strained,
How to support students who are confused and scared by the news and events around them,
How to find the right way to get through to the ‘unreachable’ student,
How to help students take on responsibility for themselves and their own learning,
How to keep ourselves sane, happy and healthy,
How to continue to grow and develop as teachers and people when we have a full workload, hours of commuting and a salary that barely stretches to the end of the month,
How to maintain balance and to stay on an even keel?

Can we get these answers from books? Maybe. Sometimes. Particularly books that help us with relating to others and to ourselves. The point is that reading books is fine but what we need in the classroom is to put the reading into practice so as to be able to respond in a way that helps and that takes us and everyone else forward.

This is why at Resourceful Teaching we teach Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).

NLP is a body of practical techniques that we can apply in the moment, whether it be in class, in the school grounds, in the staffroom, in a meeting or in any life context. The skills NLP can offer us are skills we need in real situations and which should be on hand as challenging situations tend to arise unexpectedly and cannot always be planned for. Our specialty is the application of these highly useful NLP tools to the world of education and to all teaching contexts.

We strongly believe that teachers today need these extra resources to be able to do their jobs effectively and to protect their wellbeing. On our Practitioner courses, teachers learn to develop their observation and communication skills, even if they are already skilled communicators. Our training helps teachers reach another level, where they can detect subtle information from the other people or the context that will help respond appropriately. Teachers learn to fine tune their work with objectives, not for lesson plans but to know what they want in any given situation. It is this uncertainty and confusion that often causes the sensations of frustration and being blocked in today’s world. Teachers learn how to manage their own internal states so that they are in the best condition to work efficiently with others. And they learn very much more about themselves, about people, communication, what motivates people and how to achieve what they want in a way that respects others and the environment around them.
In the Practitioner Certificate as applied to Education we do provide and discuss the theory behind what we do and provide material and bibliographies for further reading. Our emphasis however is in putting this into practice and helping you acquire the skills you need to deal with what matters to you in your lives and working contexts in today’s world. Therefore we give you many opportunities to practise in class and in the interval between classes so that these new talents become something automatic and effortless for you. We also provide constant support and communication for those who need it as you explore, discover, experiment and learn.

So, if you are looking for that something extra that will help you handle the challenges of teaching in 2010, if you know that there must be something more to reaching all our students but are not sure what it is, if you believe that the many things you learnt at teachers college go a long way but not all the way, chances are you will find what you need on the Resourceful Teaching Practitioner Certificate as applied to Education.

The course starts on Saturday April 10 and consists of 16 modules to be held on Saturdays on a monthly basis in 2010 and 2011. This level of training involves between 130 and 150 hours of direct training in the form of practical activities and guided practice. It gives students acquaintance with the methodology and many of the techniques comprising NLP and leads to an internationally recognised certificate as Practitioner of NLP in Education.
The Practitioner certificate with Resourceful Teaching offers you the chance to get an NLP certification and practise your English at the same time!

For a course syllabus and further details see our website: or send a mail to or

Venue: Versailles, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires
Time: One Saturday per month 9.00 – 17.00
Start Date: Saturday April 10

We teachers are arguably the most important professionals accompanying the growth of a person to become a complete and fulfilled individual. Let’s acknowledge our key role in the education of people and ensure that we have the best preparation possible for this glorious task. In the process, we too become a great model for learning and learn how to ensure our own fulfillment.

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