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While persuasion may have disappeared from mainstream life, it still is very much appreciated among educators. Educators influenced by classical teaching methods agree that modern academic techniques have made students intellectually phlegmatic.
So how to persuade as a teacher? Teachers often use persuasion to deliver effective lessons. In addition, teachers use persuasion to purposefully attempt to get students to adopt a new attitude or behavior. Teachers can persuade their students by sharing their personal stories and struggle to boost students’ confidence and encourage them to look for better opportunities later in life.
So, if you are expecting that you will adopt these skills during your undergrad years seems quite absurd. On the contrary, you can easily enhance your brain stimulation and other cognitive skills by strengthening your ability to persuade others.
Read on to find out how to persuade as a teacher. You might also enjoy reading: 9 Creative And Effective Ways to Teach English For Instant Improved Class Participation.
Table of Contents
What Is Persuasion In Education?
The term persuasion refers to the process by which the attitude or mindset of an individual gets influenced by other people through dialogue. Although it does not involve any physical compulsion, a person’s change in attitude could result from verbal threats or manipulating one’s psychological state. Since the process is often associated with manipulative and inappropriate purposes, it is often considered distasteful.
Persuasion is the foundation of our educational systems. Teachers try their best to boost students’ confidence and encourage them to look for compelling opportunities later in life. Most educators talk their students into such conversations by sharing their own life experiences that could persuade them to focus on tangible things in life.
The teaching standards throughout the world have modernized to the extent that they have made young minds rusty. This builds up a void in your mind, providing enough room for all sorts of manipulative thoughts to harbor inside you. Such thoughts could be religious, political, moral, or consumerist.
Also, if you cannot write or analyze critically, it will eventually pose a potential danger to social responsibility. To avoid such risks, persuasion plays a significant role in education. Every educational institution, whether schools or universities, must instill a more realistic picture of humans.
This way, as a student, you will be aware of your limits as a living being. It will help you understand that the human mind is simple, and it is highly possible that it may not know everything.
By adopting this approach, educational institutions will help their students by seriously cultivating the habit of listening to others’ perspectives. It will increase their knowledge and provide an opportunity to change their mindset if they find any notion convincing.
Best Ways To Persuade As A Teacher
Teachers and administrators constantly challenge and evaluate each other. It is mainly to improve and persuade students that acquiring knowledge and excellence should be the major goals of their life.
In 1984, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini authored Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In this book, Cialdini provides 6 Principles of Influence; let’s discuss what we can learn from these principles and use them to persuade our students.
Here are some tips to persuade as a teacher:
Several studies have been conducted on this subject. It has been concluded that it is human nature that people feel obliged to give any favor back if they have ever received it. It simply means to keep yourself open to helping your colleagues in need.
For instance, if a student’s parent is running late and the person in charge of looking after the child is stuck in a chaotic situation, then in such a case, you can always offer to fill in for her. Well, it does not mean to overdo yourself and signup for any after-school activity.
Rather it is advised to look for opportunities and, if possible, to reach out to others who desperately need help. As there are always two parts to an equation, the sides can always get reversed.
At times you might be the one who needs help, and your helpful nature would help you win several helping hands.
As a student, you must know one particular line “Sign up immediately as only limited spots are available.” Well, it is one of the common yet effective ways to persuade students to participate in a competition or enroll in an after-school club.
Well, this technique not only works on students but also goes well with parents. As a teacher, you can always motivate your students by stating the benefits of a particular activity. You can always give them the deadlines for submission so that they take it seriously.
Most schools organize events requiring parents’ participation as much as that of students. To get them on board, you can state the advantages their child can seek from it. As a teacher, you need to add a little urgency to the process; therefore, scheduling deadlines for submitting documents and forms is appropriate.
It is a well-known fact that people tend to be authoritative by displaying their credentials. It is because their list of qualifications would help establish a good impression on the visitor, and somehow they will generate a positive impression of you.
This technique would best persuade parents to monitor their child’s schoolwork and habits. You must ensure that all your certificates and degrees are displayed for them to check out.
It would work as a soft reminder for the parents, thus letting them know that you are the expert here who wants the best for their child.
It is a universal fact that people prefer to spend time with or offer to help people who they like. So if you want to be persuaded as a teacher, you need to know how likable you are.
While this can be a piece of cake for some people, it can be extremely hard for introverts. To remove your difficulty, it has been stated by many psychotherapists that we like people who share similar interests with us.
Similarly, we tend to develop a soft corner for people who help us in time of need or the ones who frequently compliment us. However, as a teacher, you can use a different strategy to become likable among the parents and students.
For instance, it is much better to start a light talk by highlighting their child’s potential and telling them there is room for improvement. This way, you will not only be liked by the parents but will also show them a ray of hope.
Many teachers are fixed on the concept that a teacher does not have to be liked by the students. Rather, they must be respected. Although it may be partially accurate, a vast proportion of people still think differently.
According to the latter, a teacher who is both liked and respected by the students can persuade the students easily. Such teachers hold the power to streamline their students’ thoughts toward the right path.
5- Use The Decoy Option
The decoy option is also called an asymmetrically dominated choice when students’ preference for one option over another option changes due to adding a third (equal but less appealing) option.
As a teacher, you want to offer opportunities for group learning. You can ask students to work in groups to complete a project. Here is how you can apply the decoy option (Source: American Psychological Association)
- Option 1: You assign grades for each student depending on their contributions to the group.
- Option 2: This option will supplement the first option, meaning individual grades based on contributions to the group project and an overall group grade. If you realize neither option excites students, you can suggest a third option (decoy option) to influence and enhance how students feel about the initial two options.
- Option 3: You will assign the whole group the same grade, regardless of how much each student contributed.
Offering mentors is another way excellent way teachers can persuade students. Mentorship is a personal growth relationship in which a more experienced or knowledgeable person (the teacher) helps guide a less knowledgeable or experienced individual (the students) (Source: Central Washington University)
Generally, in mentorship relationships, teachers provide students with academic, career, and social support, leading to more significant student success, retention, and behavior change.
Here are a few benefits of persuading students through mentoring:
- Students come to class prepared, study for tests and enjoy the process of learning.
- It increases trust between the teacher and students.
7- Set High Expectations For Your Students
Setting high expectations for your students means helping them to believe becoming smart is possible through daily classroom interactions. A teacher’s communication can either boost or break down a student’s motivation and confidence.
If you haven’t already done, I encourage you to read “The High Expectations Teaching – How We Persuade Students to Believe – by Jon Saphier.
In this book, Jon Saphier presents vivid examples of how deliberate choices of teacher language can encourage and motivate students (particularly the low-confidence, low-performing students) to do their best and get all our students.
To effectively persuade their students, teachers must deliver three important messages consistently in every classroom:
- What we are doing is essential.
- You (the student) can do it.
- And I (the teacher) will not give up on you (the students)
8- Social Proof
Cialdini described social proof as people doing what they see other people doing. For instance, if you, as a teacher, are always late to class, your students will most likely do the same.
The idea is always to display the behavior you want students to adopt. Before asking your students to do something, show them and act as you want them to.
9- Be Committed And Consistency
As a teacher, you must show commitment and consistency in how you deliver your classes and reward or punish students. When students know what to expect, they behave accordingly and can perceive you as a fair and serious teacher.
On the students’ side, you can get them t commit to doing something even relatively small, such as submitting their homework on time, asking questions in every class, and paying attention.
Once students perceive themselves as serious and hardworking, they will likely start behaving that way.
Unfortunately, today the destructive elements of our society use this way of communication to endorse their point of view. Due to such reasons, the concept of persuasion has become obsolete in society.
On the contrary, they consider persuasion one of academic life’s lost tools. It is because it enhances your critical thinking, writing, and speaking ability. All this is essential to register your point of view to others in an argument with clarity and without coercion.
Sadly, approximately one-fifth of the students can formulate a logical and well-articulated argument on both current and moral affairs. While most of them cannot think rationally, neither can they come up with intelligible inferences from the written piece of work.
When used properly, persuasion can be an excellent way to change behavior and boost students’ confidence and motivation in the classroom.
As a teacher, use persuasion only when it benefits your students and not to manipulate them. And there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to persuasion; I suggest you try different techniques and see what works best for you and your students.