Working as an online English tutor, one of your main duties is to keep your students in check. At times, this can be easier said than done. Even the best teachers, who have years of experience under their belt, struggle at times to keep students’ attention.
For some teachers, there may be a particular problem child. One who disrupts the rest of the students in a group and makes the tutoring process more challenging than it should really be.
If you’re struggling with a student or two at the moment, fear not. It’s something all tutors go through and generally, with more experience, you’ll grow better at managing them. And even if you are an experienced tutor, it’s important to remember that everyone goes through difficult patches.
However, if you find that you’re having a tough time waiting for a difficult patch to pass, there are things that you can do.
There are a number of strategies that you can put to use to help make the tutoring process smoother. And in this article, we’re going to examine one of these: congruent communication.
Despite its wordy name that looks like it was plucked out of a university journal article, the idea of congruent communication is simple at its core. Growing familiar with its strategies can not only help you manage troublesome students better, but also improve your overall approach to teaching.
So, read on and allow DigiNo to fill you in on some of the core strategies that make up congruent communication. There’s no telling how much of an effect they could have on your tutoring!
So – what exactly is congruent communication?
Congruent communication is a teaching theory revered by educators all over the world, from schoolteachers to university professors and online tutors. It was developed to help teachers create a harmonious environment for students, where they feel more encouraged to learn.
The theory was originally devised back in the 1950s by a clinical psychology graduate named Haim Ginott. Born in Israel, he studied at the famed Columbia University in New York.
Throughout his life, Haim Ginott made a name for himself as an educator, author and psychologist, but the theory of congruent communication – also known as the Ginott Model – is by far his largest legacy. Despite being over 50 years old, the theory is still as relevant today as it has ever been.
At its core, congruent communication urges teachers to reassess how they deal with misbehaving children. It suggests that there are no unacceptable children, but only unacceptable behaviours.
Congruent communication aims to help teachers create a positive classroom atmosphere, where they work in conjunction with students rather than against them. After all, both of you are working towards the same goal, right?
Most of us can probably remember a time at school when we misbehaved and were punished for it. Perhaps you were sent out of the classroom or given detention. Ginott’s theory works under the notion that scolding children in ways such as these does not work. It just creates more hostility.
Instead, teachers shown try to deal with misbehaviour in a more understanding way. They should treat students as their equals rather than their inferiors. Only through this can teachers and students work together.
What are some of the congruent communication strategies you can implement?
Now that we’ve gone over the definition of congruent communication, we can delve into some of the ways it can be implemented in a teaching environment.
These strategies are flexible, making them great for any age group in any educational setting – including online tutoring groups through First Future. Here are some of the key ways you can make use of congruent communication, suggested by Haim Ginott:
- Always work in the present tense. If, as a teacher, you dwell on the past then it’s likely to work against you in a classroom. For example, don’t assume that a child will misbehave again just because they have in the past.
- Try to act as a role model for your students. If you want your students to behave professionally during tutoring lessons, then it’s essential you always act professionally yourself. Basically, never hold others to standards you don’t meet yourself.
- Always be respectful to the needs of your students. Try to avoid belittling them – instead, treat them as equals. This will help foster a positive learning environment, which is obviously beneficial to everyone!
This final point is the most important one. As we touched on in our article on the Galatea Effect, it’s important to place some responsibility on students when it comes to their education. By treating them as an equal, you’re inviting them to take an equal role in their education.
By implementing these three strategies, you can improve your online tutoring environment significantly. You simply need to be aware of how you react and respond to misbehaving students and consider what effect is it likely to have.
Is telling them off likely to encourage them to learn? Or is it more likely to discourage them?
There are dozens of different teaching theories out there, but we believe congruent communication is one of the most important ones. Through its simplicity, it can be applied to an endless number of situations in a number of different ways.
If you’re committed to developing your teaching strategy, then we recommend trying it out during your next lesson – or at least bearing it in mind!
If you haven’t signed up as an online English tutor for First Future yet, then what are you waiting for? Whether you’re interested in gaining additional teaching experience or finding a new way to earn money, it’s the perfect answer.
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Not only that, but it can also be an incredible way to learn about another culture. Not only are you teaching children from China English, but you’re also learning about their world as well. And what could be better than becoming a little more connected in the world?
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