How to speak to our students in a way that uplifts? It’s so simple. First, we must of course speak so slowly to them that they understand effortlessly (Krashen). We know we are doing this when it is painful for us to speak that slowly – because when we speak so slowly that it is painful for us, then it is not painful for them to listen. (We are the ones being paid, not them, so the pain of the communication process should probably be on us anyway.)
Second, we must learn to speak to our students in a kind way, in a way that conveys two messages to them simultaneously, that (1) they are safe, and (2) the fact that they are sitting in the classroom with us is important. (We accomplish this partially via the Student Jobs aspect of the Invisibles program.)
Speaking in this inclusive and safety-giving way is no small task, because many of us think that teaching involves a command voice. Rather, we must bring kindness, not harshness and a rushed feeling, to our instruction. We all already know that and because of the Invisibles system we can change.
Our communication with our students must not be about the test, but about sharing ideas simply because we want to share ideas, not because we have to, because we are the teacher and there is a test coming up for our students. That is not the way to teach anything as we all know.
When we speak to our students in the above kind ways, we will have the classroom community that we want. We consciously build community. We don’t just hope it happens because we are using a proven system to reach them in the TL. We always have to have an inner focus while teaching on this idea of being loving and speaking slowly to them so that trust is built. No matter how whack they are. It’s a hellish profession sometimes. Being stern while loving kids is no small task!