Psychology and Teaching/Instruction
A little positivity goes a long way
Use positive speech. Address the class with a compliment of sorts. For instance, “You seem like a very intelligent group, can you tell me why…insert relevant question here.” What this does is boost the student’s confidence. It plants a seed that in their mind makes them want to live up to that expectation. One other thing that is really important from a psychological standpoint is that we as humans are hard wired to respond to praise in a way that makes makes us work harder to maintain that idea you had of them that warranted the praise in the first place.
Another example/experiment, say you need to move a heavy object and need help. Try asking someone, “Excuse me, you seem like you are in shape and strong. Can you help me lift this 1999, 40 inch CRT TV? /s. Not only are they more likely to say yes, they will actually try harder when helping. The beauty of it all is that it can be done through positive reinforcement. Everyone kicks a goal. Stop being negative.