Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Power of Words

I came across an inspiring little video clip this morning.  As instructors, we know how important our words can be. The words we choose to use can either demoralize or uplift. They can be heard as stern or concerned.

In the online universe, the words we choose to use are even MORE important because our audience doesn’t usually hear the inflection in our voice or see our body posture—two very critical components in communication—human or otherwise! Stop and think how often you know someone’s mood just by looking at them. No words required!

Good instructors will understand the power of their words and use them to motivate.

For example: If a student hasn’t appeared in your online class for several days you could don the “authoritative hat” and send a harsh note.
You have not posted to the discussion board. Please remember that you will not receive full credit if you wait until the last minute. If you have any questions concerning the grading policy, please let me know.
OR you could say…
I noticed that you haven’t been in class for a few days. Time seems to slip by so quickly doesn’t it? I just wanted to remind you that you need to be participating regularly on the discussion board. We all benefit from each others’ comments, and we want to hear from you! I know you’ll want to earn as many points as you can so please mark it on your “To do” list to post right away. I’m here if you need me!
Both messages essentially make the same point. However, the second message is far more likely to solicit a positive response from the student.

Now here’s the (short!) video clip that inspired this note.

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