Many of you will be back to a regular teaching schedule today after a Winter break. Don’t fret, today’s challenge is an easy one. Simply change the teaching language you’re using for something you say regularly.
The words we choose can have a bigger effect than we realise. Little changes in our phrasing can switch-up a comment and allow students to view it in a different light.
Here are some examples I’ve seen have a big effect in my own teaching.
- But vs. And Now – This is taken from Nick Ambrosino’s book ‘Coffee with Ray’. Instead of saying “That was great but you forgot the dynamics.” say “That was great and now you’re ready to add the dynamics.”
- Did you practice this week? vs. What was your favourite thing you practiced this week? – This shift reframes practice from being a chore that needs to get done to work we do because we love the music we’re creating.
- WOW, you’re so good at that. vs. WOW, you’ve obviously put a lot of work into that. – This is the classic shift that Angela Lee Duckworth made famous with ‘Grit’. We should be rewarding work and determination more than natural talent. This drive students forward as they know they’re capable if they just put in the work.
- Specific Praise vs. General Praise – This is the difference between “Wonderful performance Emma, I loved that.” and “Wonderful use of dynamics and rubato in the third line Emma, that really brought the piece to life for me.”
These changes do take time to become part of your natural speech. It’s not easy to switch out something you’re to used to saying a certain way for different teaching language.
This challenge won’t take you long, but it will require consistent effort during your teaching hours over the next few weeks.
- Pick out just one thing you say again and again in lessons.
- Rephrase it to better serve your students.
- Make a note of your new teaching language and consciously try to incorporate it in your teaching this week.
What positive teaching language are you going to adopt?
Share the speech switch that you’re going to try and make in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers group or in the comments below. Let’s inspire each other to be more conscious of the teaching language we use and the effect it has on our students.Are you getting these posts in your inbox? Sign up for the 30 Day Studio Refresh updates by clicking here. Don’t miss out on any of these studio challenges!