NLP from a Teacher's Perspective

My NLP Practitioner course called for a modelling project as part of the course requirements. Given that I teach for a living, I decided to model the practice of three outstanding teachers in order to see what it is, specifically, that outstanding teachers do to achieve brilliant lessons, wonderful student relationships and, of course, impressive results.

I was quite surprised by what I found. Outstanding teachers it seems have the ability to achieve significantly high levels of rapport through language and body language. These teachers also have an uncanny ability to ask very powerful questions and just at the right time. In short, outstanding teachers, I discovered, have very highly developed coaching skills – not just rapport and questioning as my project made clear - which have huge impact in the classroom.

Strangely enough my interviews with these teachers revealed that they didn’t consciously go out of their way to use coaching practices: it’s what they did naturally. And it’s what people do naturally that NLP is so good at making explicit and accessible to others.

Having stumbled upon the fact that outstanding teachers are really first rate coaches, I decided to run some in-school training based on my modelling project aimed at developing coaching skills for other members of staff. The results of this have been very encouraging.

Since then I have been invited to run training sessions billed as What Outstanding Teachers Do in other local schools and the feedback from staff has been overwhelmingly positive. More recently I did a workshop entitled The Place of Coaching Practices in Developing a Thinking School at a national Thinking Schools conference: this, too, was very warmly received and several attendees immediately recognised the place of NLP based coaching as a way of developing their staff into outstanding practitioners.

So, NLP has not just changed the way I teach, but it has also provided me with another element to my professional life. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with colleagues from other schools and introducing them to NLP techniques such as perceptual positions as a means of changing their teaching and connecting with those students who are more difficult to engage. NLP has enabled me to help other colleagues to re-appraise what they do and to enjoy far more satisfying classroom outcomes.

Interested teachers might like to look at my school’s website for details on the Community Youth Coaching programme, Thinking Schools and the introduction of the 5Rs into reporting and assessment.

Submitted by Ron Piper, Associate Member

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