Teaching teachers to sell


I reckon teaching is a noble calling. My dad was a teacher. He was standing in front of classrooms back in the day when there were blackboards and chalk.

Now that Scarlett is three we’re right back in the world of schooling and education and thinking about what we want our little girl to learn and what sort of values we want to try and impart.

When I reflect back on my schooling, one failing of just about all of my teachers is that they didn’t sell. Not sell in the sense of getting me to pay for something, but sell in the sense of getting me to buy into what we were learning.

I did four years of French without a single conversation about why I would want to learn French. And no surprise, I can’t speak French to save myself.

Likewise we never talked about why calculus would be a good thing to know, or Shakespeare, or Egyptian history … or anything.

And I think if the people who set the curriculum really asked why are we teaching this and how do we sell this to the students, some things would have been dropped. I can’t think of one good reason why calculus should be taught to everyone rather than to a specialised maths stream.

At Thought Leaders Business School we see our job as teaching teachers – experts who teach in a commercial rather than an academic context. But often they face the same challenge. We talk too much about the how and not enough about the why.

Even where the client, the student, has paid to learn something we still need to start with the why. And this is especially true when they have been told they have to do the training (like for most corporate training). The first step is to enrol them in why they should be interested.