Ever had students say to you they hate(d) English at school?
Ever had teachers rise up in protest at all the rapid changes in technology, yelling about how the way they've always worked has always worked? It falls on deaf ears, when you tell them quietly, gently, the world is a different place today, it really is, and my oh my, tomorrow... well, tomorrow you won't recognize most of what we take for granted today.
Whether it's with students learning telephone phrases or with colleagues challenged to adopt the new technologies, change inspires great emotion.
But mostly this is because they don't understand the Why.
See, thing is, we humans (since the age when we stopped starving) really need good solid emotional reasons to do the things we do and we need an even greater knowledge when we're asked to change. Reasons that connect to our needs.
It's simply not enough to say, look lots of others are doing it.
We have to believe that the reason for the change makes sense and that it will, in fact, bring us happiness.
It's simply not enough to say, the whole world's learning to speak in one language so hey, you should to.
It's not enough to say your boss wants you to speak English so it has to be.
It's not enough to say if you learn English then you can go to the US on holiday next year.
Instead, a better approach might be:
"As the world's economies change it's no longer enough to do business on one's home turf. Mastering another language (English) will enable you to master your communication when dealing across different cultures and as a result you'll probably get more projects or make more sales."
Selling them, if you like:
Put in the effort now to learn this language and you'll be able to earn more money and take care of your family even better in the long run.
When dealing with colleagues wary of edtech, your approach might be:
"Taking time to master a handful of tech-tools will help you to organize your teaching strategy, saving you a lot of time and energy in the long run. It will make your lessons more up-to-date and dynamic and as your students will be excited with your innovative processes and their own marked progress, they'll talk to their friends and colleagues about how much they are learning with you and recommend you to others.
Selling then, if you like:
Become a part of a global community of innovative educators and you'll be able to earn more money and take care of your family even better.
Of course, different people have different reasons that motivate them.
And to be truly effective an exercise it's even better if you can get your students or colleagues arriving at their own whys. But whichever way, directly or indirectly, it's only once the people you're asking to change understand the reasons for the change that they will adopt and adapt.
I'll leave you Simon Sinek's thought on inspiring others:
Useful links related to this posting:
- 8 radical technologies that changed education
- That rush, that knowledge high
- How to keep language learners learning
image credit: Questions by Oberazzi
p.s. Business English Lesson Tip: The Sinek video is a great one to take into class with top management types, 1-2-1s... ask them to talk about why they do what they do and make the products they make.