“Actions speak louder than words.” Not sure if I totally agree with the statement though there is some truth in it, which I would like to explore in a teacher training context.
My first post in this series received a favourable comment from the Director of NILE and later Rachel; my blogpost writing inspiration, honoured me by mentioning my blogpost in one of her LinkedIn posts. I boasted about both the acts to my wife, who thinks I behave worse than kids when excited. These two small but highly empowering gestures (or actions) led me to ponder over the positive influence such actions by teachers/trainers/people you respect and/or admire can have on teacher trainees. What practical and tangible actions of mine would lead to a similar release of dopamine among my trainees?
Before I share some of my ideas on ‘Supportive Trainer Action’, let me highlight what I have learnt about Supportive Trainer Talk (STT). A succinct definition that I gathered from the course and reading others is ‘talk which intends to support a teacher’s construction of knowledge or thinking’. However thanks to Simon Smith and Martyn Clarke’s recorded interaction as a part of input in the unit, I find the following (paraphrased) description encapsulating the soul of STT better “a ‘talk’ when used as a tool, which is culturally and socially mediated, to help participants achieve a higher level of cognition could be termed as quality supportive trainer talk.”
If you would like to read more on the practical application of STT, you must read Rachel’s reflection on her STT, which has been published in the Teacher Trainer Journal 2022 ; you can read her blog right here.
Coming back to dopamine release , applying the principles of quality supportive talk, actions that are strategically implemented, which are socially as well as culturally mediated, to boost teacher trainees’ confidence and probably lead to a positive ripple effect among other trainees could be termed as ‘Supportive Trainer Action’. Here are some of my practical suggestions on ‘Supportive Trainer Action’:
- Tagging teachers on my social media posts (work account) to highlight what I have learnt from them or share any outstanding work on a particular training day
- Commenting on any (social media) posts of theirs (trainees) relevant to the course we are on
- Appreciating teachers genuinely via the chat box or on the board (in a physical classroom setting)
- Using leaderboards to regularly highlight the top scorers (assigning points for completing asynchronous tasks and bonus points for any outstanding work)
- Writing a blogpost after every training to felicitate and to remind the achievements of the trainees as a group
I am quite convinced, as a trainer, I could do much more than restrict my support to talk. To leave with an overarching thought, a supportive trainer fosters learning for living and not just a certificate.
Dear Girish, it’s a pleasure to read your blogposts and find out how much we have in common as teachers and trainers. Keep up the great work, keep sharing your insights and giving us food for thought. Thank you for the kind words, always! 🎇