Archive for the 'Teaching and Tutoring' Category

What is Cognitive Acceleration Programmes?

Cognitive acceleration programmes are intervention approaches which seek to enhance learning through the use of innovative methods centring on thinking skills.

Knowledge bank

Cognitive acceleration programmes first came to the attention of schools thanks to the work of a team of researchers at King’s College, London during the 1980s. Through academically rigorous trials with learners, the team have helped to cement the approach as one of the most respected and well-researched ways of enhancing learning so far documented.

The initial focus for the work was in science and was called Cognitive Acceleration Through Science Education (CASE). The project was subsequently developed to encompass other curriculum areas – maths (CAME), technology (CATE) and geography (CAGE).

The team leading the work in science devised a series of teaching interventions called ‘Thinking Science’ which were taught to a group of learners in years 7 and 8 instead of the standard science curriculum.

The teaching programme challenged children’s previous concepts in science and presented them with problems they were unable to solve using current knowledge.

The CASE programme resulted in significant improvements in learners’ science understanding compared to the control group who were taught the standard curriculum, together with greater gains in reasoning ability. Their GCSE results in science were higher than a control group who did not take part in CASE, and also amazingly in maths and English.

Ask yourself

  • To what extent have cognitive acceleration programmes been embraced by your school?
  • What are the key messages of the approach for your classroom?
  • How do cognitive acceleration programmes link with other work taking place in your classroom or school?

To do list

  • Find out more about the cognitive acceleration programmes currently on offer and what is relevant to your own teaching.
  • Observe some cognitive acceleration programmes in action in a neighbouring school.
  • Study in more detail some of the excellent publications available on cognitive acceleration programmes.

What is Accelerated Learning?

Accelerated learning is a set of principles and approaches to promoting effective learning. It rests on a foundation of neuro-scientific research from which is extrapolated a series of models and strategies that enhance the capacity of learners.

Knowledge bank

Accelerated learning has a number of underpinning principles:

  • A focus on learning
  • A positive and purposeful learning environment
  • Connection to other learners
  • A cyclical approach to learning
  • Awareness of the styles and preference for learning that exist amongst learners.

It makes use of neuro-scientific research to inform classroom practice. In particular, it draws on research from functional scanning techniques about how the brain responds to learning tasks.

There has been some criticism of accelerated learning for drawing broad general rules about learning in classrooms from discrete laboratory experiments, sometimes involving animals other than humans. This has been countered by case studies from teachers and schools using it to effect positive change in schools.

Accelerated learning draws broad inferences about how we should plan for learning with the brain in mind, and although there is a range of interpretations of accelerated learning in the UK, a cyclical process is suggested by each proponent.

The approach favoured by the authors is Alistair Smith’s four-stage cycle consisting of:

  • Connection (connecting learners to what they already know, to the content, the process of the learning and with one another)
  • Activation (offering new ideas, concepts and activating thinking through a rich sensory immersion)
  • Demonstration (the opportunity to show what has been learnt, to gain feedback and to practise skills, techniques and knowledge)
  • Consolidation (the opportunity to review learning, and review how learning has taken place, to use techniques to commit learning to long-term memory and to consider ways in which learning could be transferred to other areas of school or home life).

It incorporates models of thinking which both explain levels of cognitive challenge and also provide methodology to extend levels of thinking. Bloom’s taxonomy of thinking is used as a framework to encourage six different types of thinking. These include knowledge recall, comprehension, application of learning, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis (or creative development of ideas).

Accelerated learning provides a number of useful ways to think about the classroom and learners including:

  • The notion that intelligence is varied and modifiable, drawing on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory.
  • If we take care of the self-esteem and motivation, the behaviour will take care of itself. Accelerated learning draws on six elements of self-esteem which can be developed in classrooms using a range of strategies.
  • All learners have different needs including sensory preferences
  • There are no mistakes, only learning, which enables learners to take risks in their learning without fear of ridicule or derision.
  • Classrooms are places of improvement not comparison, which puts an emphasis on self-motivation and improvement rather than a league table approach to success.

Tools and strategies for promoting motivation, self-esteem, varietal thinking and memory are all included under the accelerated learning umbrella. These include a raft of memory improvement techniques and an education of learners about how their memory is organized and how they can improve it using memory techniques.

Ask yourself

  • How much are you currently utilizing research about the brain to inform your teaching?
  • What are the principles you’re currently operating on in your classroom and how do they compare with those outlined for accelerated learning?
  • How much do you understand about the cyclical process of learning?

To do list

  • Consider reading more about brain function and its relationship to learning.
  • Share what you know about brain function and learning with your learners.
  • Consider being even more explicit with your learners about the principles upon which you operate your classroom.

- Read a book on accelerated learning within the next three months.

Using Brain Breaks in the Classroom

Brain breaks are pauses in learning taken in order to carry out physical activities for the purposes of enhancing learning. They can be set within a philosophy of a healthy lifestyle for effective learning.

Knowledge bank

There are many commercially branded brain break activities which claim specific brain-related benefits. In some cases these brain break regimes include reference to the importance of nutrition and hydration in learning, and a quest to educate young people about the benefits of proper nutrition and hydration, sleep, exercise and laughter.
Brain break activities are said to influence a range of aspects of learning and development including:

  • overall improvement in balance and coordination
  • integration of the brain’s function between the so-called left and right hemispheres of the brain, via the brain structure the corpus callosum
  • improvement in attention through physical, intellectual and emotional reprieve; taking a break from your learning improves your concentration
  • enhanced cardiovascular and respiratory function
  • stress relief.

Caution needs to be exercised in promoting some of the proposed benefits, as much of the science behind the claims has not yet been properly evidenced. However, many teachers report a range of benefits in their learners as a result of introducing brain break activities.

Some proponents of brain break activities make claims that their approach has particular benefits for young people with dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

One approach advocated by Alistair Smith in Move It (2002) identifies eight different categories of movement:

  • relaxers to support emotional awareness of relaxation and anxiety
  • energizers to lift the energy levels of a group
  • stretchers to improve physical flexibility
  • lateralizers to assist children to develop a sense of left and right and to support coordination and balance
  • little and large movements to improve hand-eye coordination and voluntary muscle movements
  • coordinates done with other people in partnership, developing observation skills, mental rehearsal and cooperation
  • linkers to link directly with learning and content
  • eye trackers designed to improve eye movement tracking in relation to reading.

Two examples of a brain break activity are:

  • Cross crawl — it is claimed that this helps to improve coordination and balance and is also a useful energizer activity. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, once you are stable in your stance, lift your right knee and move your left hand across to touch it. Bring the knee down and the hand back to your side then repeat with the right hand and left knee. This should be repeated with each side 10-12 times.
  • Active punctuation – designed to assist learners to learn content in the lesson. It consists of a series of movements to represent different aspects of punctuation, e.g. a small jump for a full stop, two hands in the air inclined to the left to start speech. These actions are added to prose as it is read out.

Ask yourself

  • How much movement do your learners currently enjoy in lessons?
  • What might be the benefits of learners having more structured movement in lessons?
  • How could you bring movement into lessons safely?
  • What else do you need to know or experience to take this further?

To do list

  • Read a good book or visit a website on educational kinesiology, brain breaks or Brain Gym.
  • Experiment safely with what you find out with a group of learners with whom you have a good relationship.
  • Trial a range of brain break activities at different times of the day, and with different groups, and get feedback from learners using a question like: ‘What were the benefits of the exercise?’
  • Encourage learners to research the impact of diet, hydration, sleep and exercise on learning and to share their discoveries with the class.

Understanding School-Based Mentoring

Mentoring is a process of supporting others to develop through the provision of challenge, support, sharing relevant experiences and providing solutions.

Knowledge bank

Mentoring, as distinct from coaching, provides support and challenge for an individual or group from a mentor who has experience and expertise in the field in which they are helping.

Mentoring involves exploring perspectives, setting goals with the mentee and negotiating the agenda. The agenda for mentoring may well be set by the institution or might be more flexible.

On the whole mentoring tends to be provided rather than sought and is typically used for new teachers, and for those growing into new roles within the profession. Additionally, mentoring is often provided to learners who the school sees as needing support, i.e. they are in a particular group such as the C/D borderline.

Although mentoring is traditionally an advice-based helping process it is often combined with coaching and even counselling skills. In this way a blended approach to support is offered.

Mentoring can be seen as the provision of advice, guidance and suggested solutions; coaching as the unblocking of attitudes and empowerment; and counselling as exploring and acknowledging emotional responses to situations.

One model of mentoring suggests a three-step process:

  • Exploration – where the mentor takes the lead, develops the relationship, clarifies the objectives and negotiates the agenda.
  • New understanding – where the mentor listens and challenges, gives feedback, demonstrates skills and provides information and advice.
  • Action planning – where the mentor examines options for action, negotiates and agrees action plans and monitors progress and outcomes.

The power relationship in mentoring is different to that of coaching. In mentoring there is a power difference created by the expectation that the mentor is experienced and has answers to problems. This can be efficient and effective in the early stages of a teaching career or in situations where individuals need direct suggestions to make progress.

Schools that offer mentoring to colleagues, parents or learners need to have clear policies in place to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of the process. A key element of this will be to evaluate (usually through questionnaires) the impact of the mentoring that has taken place.

Ask yourself

  • How effective is the mentoring process in your school?
  • How are mentors chosen, trained and monitored?
  • How aware are people involved in helping others in one-to-one relationships of the differences between coaching and mentoring and to what extent do they blend the processes?
  • What are your strengths as a one-to-one supporter of learning? What areas do you need to develop?

To do list

  • Consider this briefing on mentoring and that of coaching. How would you characterize the support you offer to, a. colleagues b. learners c. parents?
  • Seek permission to tape mentoring sessions and listen to your interactions with the mentee after the session. What are the strengths of your intervention? What would you change? How will you make those changes?
  • Appraise your skills using the tape and seek further support from colleagues, by engaging in learning conversations about supporting others.
  • Consider and plan your CPD needs in relation to mentoring and coaching for the coming year.

The Impact of the National Strategies in Education

The National Strategies for schools are a series of high-profile government-backed programmes to promote reforms to the education system and what is taught in schools. They include:

  • The Primary National Strategy – launched in 2003
  • The National Literacy Strategy – launched in 1998 and now part of the Primary National Strategy
  • The National Numeracy Strategy – launched in 1999 and now part of the Primary National Strategy
  • The Key Stage 3 National Strategy – launched in 2000
  • The Secondary National Strategy for School Improvement 2005-6 – launched in 2005
  • Plus a range of smaller strategies dealing with specific subject areas – e.g. technology, languages.

Knowledge bank

The National Strategies for schools have impacted on the work of teachers perhaps more than any other government initiative over the last five years – especially in primary schools.

Teachers are now working under much more prescription about what they teach and even how they teach it than ever before -notably in literacy and numeracy – though there have been recent moves to allow more flexibility following something of a backlash from teachers.

The National Strategies have, nevertheless, done much to help improve standards in schools, especially where whole schools have been committed to taking on board the principles – across the curriculum as well as in the more obvious areas.

A key challenge for teachers is how to embrace the National Strategies – which have often come with statutory force – while still covering an appropriate curriculum and by teaching in ways that are in line with their own and their school’s ethos and values.

Secondary schools have been less influenced by the National Strategies, though targeted efforts at Key Stage 3 have been necessary and subject teachers have been required to consider the cross-curricular implications of the other strategies.

One of the criticism of the strategies is that there have been rather too many of them, on top of a range of other new initiatives, projects and targets for schools to consider.

A renewed Primary Framework for Literacy and Mathematics was launched in October 2006, updating and refreshing many of the materials in the original National Strategies.

Ask yourself

  • How do the National Strategies for schools impact on your day-to-day work in the classroom? Which has/have the most influence on your work?
  • In what ways do the National Strategies aid your work as a teacher? How can they hinder your work?
  • How easy is it for you to incorporate the principles and practicalities of the National Strategies into your personal vision for education? If there are conflicts how can they be resolved?

To do list

  • Ensure that you’re fully familiar with the sections of the National Strategy documents that refer most to your day-to-day work. You cannot form informed opinions unless you understand the contents of the documents and the implications for your teaching.
  • Learn how other teachers in similar circumstances to you are making sense of the National Strategies in their schools. Identify things you can try in your own classroom. Share your successes with others.
  • Draw up an action plan that will enable you to ensure that any work to promote the National Strategies is in line with your school’s and your own personal philosophy for education.

Teaching Tips – Research in Education

Research in education seeks to discover patterns, trends and truths that can inform the work of teachers and school leaders. Action research is a specific type of research which is designed to provide insights that will enable an improvement in performance – in the case of education, usually more effective teaching and learning.

Knowledge bank

Whereas medicine tends to be an evidence-based profession, relying on what we know tends to work, education has evolved a dynamic all of its own, which combines common-sense ideas on what works in the classroom with some findings from the world of research.

This is actually a rather curious anomaly, given that over £20 billion is invested into schools in the UK every year by the government. Many observers feel that we need to move towards education being based much more on evidence about what is successful.

The analogy that is sometimes used is that teachers should become experts in learning, rather like doctors are experts in healing.

The ‘science’ underpinning most research into learning is psychology, since in characterizing learning we are interested in analysing human behaviour.

A key problem in translating what we know about learning into practical measures for the classroom is that the concept of ‘proof is much more elusive in psychology than in the purer sciences.

The nature of human interaction, as manifested in activities such as teaching and learning, is so complex that it is very difficult to identify precisely which factors result in which outcomes.

Instead of being able to show conclusively that a particular teaching method is successful at achieving specific intended outcomes, education researchers often talk about their research findings supporting an overall theory or paradigm for learning. These are usually underpinned by a leading figure in psychology who has written extensively in the field and has attracted a prominent following.

The difficulty of using research findings to transform classroom practice is made even more challenging by the fact that few research studies are actually carried out in real classrooms. This is due to a variety of practical, ethical and financial reasons.

Despite the above provisos, there is much we can learn from the world of education research that can illuminate what’s happening in our classrooms and schools. In particular, there are many case studies and more rigorous experimental procedures that help illuminate the methods which are likely to be more successful.

Education research lies on a spectrum from action research in a single school carried out by an individual teacher, to a large-scale standardized programme across many schools to test a particular method or approach. Most researchers accept that larger the scale of the study, the more likely it is to reveal generalized patterns that may be relevant in your own school.

Ask yourself

  • What education research are you aware of that informs your practice on a day-to-day basis?
  • To what extent is research in education important to you?
  • What questions about learning are you most curious to find the answers to?

To do list

  • Read more about a specific aspect of learning that interests you.
  • Consider engaging in some action research in your own school.
  • Attend a conference that allows you to make contact with some leading thinkers in the world of education research.

Teaching Tips – How to Manage Upwards

Managing upwards is being proactive about supporting your line manager to do his or her job effectively, in supporting you to do yours properly. It involves building a positive rapport with your line manager, helping them to cope on a day-to-day basis and assertively stating your needs with regard to doing your own job.

With increasing pressures on managers to be accountable it is not uncommon for a person in such a role to focus more on measuring success and on being seen to be active than supporting and delegating to staff they line manage.

The result can be poor communication and insufficient awareness of the needs of their subordinates. Equally, managers can find themselves overwhelmed with their role and may need particular support.

There are four important factors to managing your manager effectively:

  • Rapport is key to the success of any relationship. Rapport can be defined as a mutual feeling of trust and a willingness to take risks. Taking time to build the relationship is key to getting another person on your side and having them communicate with you. Rapport is strongly improved by good listening. Even if your manager is not a good listener, modelling good listening for them may help to build a better relationship between you. In particular, as you listen to your manager, look out for clues about their fears and concerns. If you have needs and approaches you would like to see put in place, look at how you can tie these in with allaying your manager’s fears and concerns. This also builds rapport, when your manager sees that you are responding to their concerns.
  • Assertiveness is when you behave in a fair, sensitive, respectful and optimistic manner towards others to put across your needs clearly and then stick to your request. It doesn’t always get you what you want but it can be effective in influencing others, once they are clear about your needs.
  • Willingness to support. This is perhaps the most difficult area, particularly if your relationship is shaky to begin with! The key to this area is to put aside your thoughts of what your boss should or shouldn’t be doing and to look at the whole department/school and the outcomes that are right for the children. Focusing on what needs to be done to support your line manager so that children get a good deal is essential.
  • Posing challenging questions is perhaps the most effective way to effect change and influence your line manager. Always to be done within the context of rapport, this will cause the individual to question their position on the area concerned. For example, what specifically will happen if we do what you have suggested? How do you know that you will get this outcome? What other possible outcomes could there be?

Ask yourself

  • Examine your own beliefs about your line manager and question any thoughts that bring up negative emotions or trigger defiant or competitive reactions. Could you find a buddy to help challenge these unhelpful thoughts?
  • Can you expand the range of challenging questions you ask, preferably open-style questions which encourage the individual to challenge their current position, e.g. What specifically do you mean? Always deliver this kind of question whilst in rapport.
  • Do you have the interests of your key stakeholders (learners and parents) at heart when managing upwards? This is where your manager ought to be focusing too.

To do list

  • Build rapport through mirroring body language and finding common interests both in and out of the work context.
  • Use ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ when you need to disagree (e.g. I have listened to your ideas and I think we could also look at it from this perspective too – present your perspective followed by the benefits of this approach).
  • In situations where your needs are not being met, decide what you need as a minimum in the situation you are in, and formulate the ‘bottom line’. Communicate your needs clearly and succinctly and if they are not acknowledged or if they are refused, repeat them again and again using the ‘broken record technique’. As a rule of thumb most people will listen if you do this clearly three times.

Teaching Tips – Creativity Across The Curriculum

Creativity is the process of finding and implementing new and appropriate ways of thinking and doing. People who are able to do so with ease are often said to be ‘creative’, but there are dangers of pigeon-holing people in this way.

Knowledge bank

Though traditionally thought of as referring to the ‘creative arts’ (music, art, theatre), creativity has relevance to all subject areas.

Creativity across the curriculum is a much neglected area of schools’ practice which is only just beginning to receive the attention it deserves.

Creativity can be defined in various ways, including the definition above as well as ‘the purposeful search for innovation in problem solving’.

Teachers need to be creative to new ways of teaching and learners need to be creative in order to live successful and happy lives. We believe that creativity is a vital human attribute that will enable people to flourish in the uncertain world of tomorrow.

Creativity also allows teachers and school leaders to adapt to changing circumstances, allowing them to keep their practice at the cutting edge.

Teaching creative skills can be infused into lessons within one subject area or taught discretely – a blended approach combining the two is likely to get the best results.

Because creativity is about opening up to new possibilities it’s essential that you adopt an open-critical approach if you are to continue to develop your own creativity. This includes opening up to what your learners have to say about effective teaching and learning.

Ask yourself

  • To what extent do you recognize the importance of creativity to the subjects you teach?
  • In what ways do you currently use creative approaches in your teaching? How could these be developed in the future?
  • How do you currently try to help your learners develop their creative skills? What could you do to allow them to develop these skills more?

To do list

  • Carry out a ‘creativity audit’ over the course of a week, identifying creative practice in your own and another teacher’s classroom.
  • Reflect on the kinds of creative skills that you would like learners to develop in the subject(s) you teach – draw up an action plan outlining how you can ensure that these skills are developed more systematically by more learners over the next half-term.
  • Visit a neighbouring school with the express mission of finding an effective teaching and learning approach that has not been tried in your school. Take it back to your school and try to work with other colleagues to embed practice in your school too.

Teaching Techniques – Giving Learners a Voice

Giving learners a voice refers to the process where the views of children and young people are used to improve the educational offering of schools. It involves actively listening to what learners have to say and then, within reason, acting on the suggestions they have made. A series of recent studies has shown that it is a much under-used tool for school improvement, despite being capable of getting powerful results.

Knowledge bank

The philosophy for respecting the voice of learners in schools is rooted in the belief that, as the beneficiaries of the education services of schools, children and young people should have a lot to say about how they can be improved.

For schools to genuinely open up to the power of giving learners a voice, there is a need for them to accept that adults do not always have the right answers. There is also a requirement for teachers, school leaders and other school staff to embrace the views of young people in a positive way. This can be hard for some people to do – especially those with a traditional view of education.

The move to personalize education and a range of recent government measures have encouraged schools to open up to the views of learners in a way that was not possible before. Schools are being increasingly encouraged to enter into a dialogue with learners about how schools are run and lessons taught. Some teachers have found this transition difficult, perhaps due to concerns that their professionalism is in some way questioned by respecting the voice of learners.

In parallel with the above, children and young people are playing increasingly important roles in schools. This includes work at the classroom level, where they are giving feedback to teachers on lessons or even observing learning episodes as ‘expert learners’. It also involves more strategic issues, such as representing the views of other youngsters on the School Council or even taking part in interviews for new staff.

Studies have repeatedly shown that, when invited to give their opinions on a whole raft of school issues, learners – even very young children – can make insightful and helpful observations and suggestions. Indeed, it is extremely rare to find examples of learners using such opportunities to ‘get at’ individual teachers or make other inappropriate remarks.

Respecting the voice of learners does not mean that you simply adopt every new measure that is proposed by them – this misconception has undermined the engagement of many teachers who fear a ‘free for all’. Instead, the situation can be likened to a staff meeting or parental consultation session – you listen to the views of others, and provide a forum for them to be aired, but then make decisions based on your own professional judgement and years of experience. However, those teachers and school leaders who have benefited most from this type of work have recognized that their own opinions need to be challenged -and importantly – sometimes changed.

There are some very advanced models for using the learner voice to improve education, which if you’re prepared to take the bold step, could really transform your classroom. To embrace these you’ll need to adopt a radically different view about the power relationships in your classroom and begin to accept that the real power rests with the learners, not you as a teacher.

Ask yourself

  • To what extent do you genuinely listen to what learners have to say and act upon their suggestions.
  • How often do you open up dialogue in your classroom to enable learners to have their say and influence the direction of learning?
  • Are you still sceptical about the value of using learners’ views to improve their education? If so what is holding you back? If not how can you help other people in your school to take a more enlightened approach?

To do list

  • Identify as many ways as you can that illustrate how you have used the voice of learners to enhance what happens in your classroom.
  • If this is something you feel passionate about, talk with senior managers about how you can develop a better school-wide climate for using the voice of learners as a tool for school improvement.
  • Do some focused reading on the topic of the learner voice, as there are some very radical models that are sure to take things to another level in your school.

Teaching Presentation Skills for the Classroom

Presenting skills are approaches to making maximum impact when introducing ideas to others.

Knowledge bank

A presentation is a fast and potentially effective method of getting ideas across to others.

It is a key skill which can be used effectively in the classroom, though should be used sparingly. It will also be required at many interviews, particularly for senior posts, and is necessary when pitching for projects or bidding for funding in the education market place.

A really good presentation allows you to sell an idea or a service or in some cases yourself. Excellent presentations have certain key features in common:

  • You look the part – you are dressed appropriately to build a relationship with your audience.
  • You have crystal-clear objectives in terms of what you want to get across. A maximum of three key objectives is usually enough for a 30-minute presentation.
  • You are well planned and have clear and well-thought-through points to make, and present reasoned arguments backed by data.
  • If you are using a presentation system, such as PowerPoint, your slides should have impact through being succinct of word and visually stimulating.
  • You come across clear, relaxed and confident.
  • You build rapport with your audience by finding out as much as possible about them and their interests. Weave relevant stories and anecdotes into your presentation to catch and keep their attention. Make your opening remarks show that you understand their difficulties. You should give good eye contact and confident body language.
  • You put your own personality into the presentation by sharing appropriate personal information.
  • You allow people to ask questions, at the end of your presentation.

Structuring a presentation is key. One way to do this is:

  • Connect to the problems the group face and to them as people.
  • Make the objective clear and deliver your key messages.
  • Exemplify your key points with stories, data and images, reiterating your key messages again.
  • Summarize again, verbally and visually, your key points.
  • Leave the audience with a poignant question or tap into their emotions through something appropriate but unexpected, such as a quote, story or poem.

The 4MAT system can be a useful structure for presenting information to appeal to a wide-ranging audience. It consists of the four key questions:

  • What is it that you offer? Define the problem and the solution.
  • Why should the audience be interested? Give the reasons why they should take you seriously, providing data where possible.
  • How does what you offer work? Give the processes and details of the steps involved.
  • What if they were to go for the ideas/service you are offering? Outline the key benefits to adopting the approach you’re suggesting.

With all of the above in place it’s time to deliver. Many people find themselves well prepared and rehearsed, but then nerves get the better of them. Having a ritual can work well as you step into the presenting arena. Here are some rituals that work well for some people. It’s best if you develop one of your own:

  • Imagining a pool of golden light on the floor where you will stand. Picture yourself standing in the pool of golden light feeling great, relaxed and certain of your material. As it is your time to step up, step into the golden light and feel the warmth and calmness fill you. Pause, and then begin.
  • Before the presentation, imagine a time you felt really good, really calm and really successful, bring the feelings up that you had as you think about that time. When the feelings are strong and real, pinch your thumb and forefinger together on one hand to anchor the feelings. Repeat this with other remembered events and also when you naturally feel good. This will set up an anchor which you can fire off when you are about to present, by pressing your thumb and forefinger together. Anchors remind your brain how to feel good.
  • Have a set of affirmations or positive phrases that you say to yourself in your head before you present, e.g. I am an amazing presenter, I am confident and connect with my group easily and effortlessly. You may not believe this at first, but reinforcing this positive message over and again will bring forward the best in your abilities as a presenter.

Above all else, set out to enjoy presenting, enjoy your message, be passionate, and be yourself, and your audience will love you!

Ask yourself

  • What are your successes as a presenter?
  • How are you currently doing with your presenting? What is working well and what would you like to change?
  • What are you currently saying to yourself as you prepare to present? Is it supportive or otherwise?
  • What steps might you need to take to improve your techniques further?
  • How can your presentation skills be used in the classroom context? What aspects are appropriate and what are challenges for classroom-based learning?

To do list

  • List your strengths as a presenter. Then video yourself in a presenting situation and get used to focusing on the things you do well as you watch it. Have a friend help you with this.
  • Seek constructive feedback on your approaches to presenting.
  • Take a course in presentation skills where you can have a safe opportunity to practise and receive tips.
  • Consider seeking help with irrational fears about presenting, this could be from a coach, hypnotherapist or timeline therapist.