Take home lesson: Build a community, find out what ppl want, give it to them on a win-win basis #sbss12
— Sherry Nouraini (@snouraini) February 23, 2012
The more I learn about salesmanship – and I’m just getting started on this journey, the more I’m realizing that everything we do to sell is to be oriented around meeting and solving our client’s pain point. It’s not about us, it’s about THEM.
Teachers should learn from salesmanship – It’s not about our course book. It’s not about teaching grammar rules. It’s not even about having interesting conversations with our students. These can all be means to the end, but cannot be what we’re about. (I think it’s easy to get that confused, don’t you?) But no, those things are not about our students. Not yet.
If successful salespeople help solve their client’s pain, and if teachers need to learn how to ‘sell’ what they need to teach so that their students pick it up better (help solve their student’s pain/frustration etc.) then: What’s the pain your students have when it comes to learning English?
Are you in touch with that need? Could you express that right this minute for each of your students? You should be able to.
If you’re not sure what your students are having a hard time with in English OUTSIDE your classroom, here are a few simple questions you can ask to begin honing in on their point of frustration or pain:
1. What do you do in English every day? (Attention: what you are about to hear is GOLD. Give them the chance to think about it and respond. You: Just listen and maybe even take notes on what you hear.)
2. How do you feel about each of those activities? If they haven’t told you already, get them to tell you about their feelings when doing each thing they just mentioned. Do they hate activity X? Why? Do they love activity Y? Find out what interests them so much about it. Engage!
3. How do they want to be able to perform afore mentioned tasks? Check and see if there is a gap between where they are now, and where they’d like to be.
Work this one. Help them to get specific. Most students will start out by telling you that they would like to do X more fluently. That’s not workable. Try probing for specifics. What do you mean by ‘more fluently?’ How do you do it now? What does it sound like? Do you make the same mistakes repeatedly? Do you have trouble listening to ________________ when they are speaking? Get them to identify specifics.
The answers to these questions will help you build classes around something deeply important to your students: the softening of stress. The relief of pain, worry our frustration.
Over to you: What questions could you ask your students to discover their point of need when it comes to learning English?