Last night while was browsing the internet, I came across an ad promoting it’s easy-to-follow system of creating toned abs. Most of us who went through NS or are into sports have a pretty good idea of how to maintain a certain level of fitness. Either we go to the gym or run or just simply eat right. And almost always, we instinctively skip the ad to get straight to what we want to watch.
But I decided to sit through it and watch this time around.
It’s hard to even imagine yourself having those ripped abs without having to sacrifice a whole lot of time (which you don’t have) and effort (if laziness creeps in) that you start making excuses. The guy is already beefed up beforehand. That he had personal trainers. That he does nothing but train all day.
The more I watched it, the more I realize that what he was selling was synonymous to what we are trying to do with our kids. Whether one buys the fitness regime or not is not the point here, but the way it was presented is quite commendable. We are trying to sell this product called education.
Except unlike the ad which requires you to part with your money, for our case it’s down to them parting with their time, attention and effort. If I am able to show the kids that what they are doing is worth it; if I could find a way to move my kids to buy impulsively the subject matter I’m presenting to them, and they are convinced that in the long run it will benefit them, then I would say that my job is done. To take a step further, if what I offer empowers them to WANT to own their learning, only their self motivation will limit how “muscular” they want to be.
Just like the salesman, we have tools to close the deal. We create slides, utilize edtech, do scaffolding, show examples, etc. But at no time should one force or coax the listener to buy. You can’t really expect to trick the student to want to learn something that they do not see a use for.
One thing that stuck out in the whole sales presentation was when he showed his before and after photos. That he went through it himself first and with discipline he actually accomplished what he set out to do. He believed in his system, and if it worked for him it will work for others. Likewise, the best way to impart the knowledge/skill onto your students is that you yourself believe in the methods. Tweak whenever necessary. You have to lead by example, and make the first jump before they do. And in turn you hope that they will understand it enough to be able to do it on their own.
It’s not an easy task, especially considering the amount of preparation and different approaches you have to take to convince so many different personalities in a classroom. But for sure it is worth it when you see the fruits of your labor.
Will you buy it?