I’m not sure where the line is between extremely passionate and obsessed, but when you are connected to something at your core, you often see life through the lens of that fascination. The first time I watched the Dog Whisperer, I very quickly began seeing many things that informed me about exhilarated learning.

Whether or not you think Cesar Millan is a genius, he reveals some crucial concepts about effective instruction. He might not use the phrase “ontological status of the teacher,” but he certainly shows how “who you are being” is decisive. A central lesson of the Dog Whisperer, is about being calm and assertive.

Students are less likely to bite, but they are no more likely than troubled terriers to embrace learning if they are afraid they are going to be hurt or attacked. Good teachers realize that managing their own energy is foundational. They are committed to what they have to teach; yet they are respectful as they enter into learners’ domains. They attend to openness and they establish rapport/relationship/connection before they try to impart information or facilitate behavior change.

What is obvious with dogs goes on more subtly with humans. If you know some basics of dog behavior, you can readily see when a canine adopts a defensive posture. Collie or classmate, we are all asking, “Am I safe? Does this person mean me any harm?” The reptilian brain is making assessments rapidly. If students determine they are at risk – for self-esteem or otherwise – they take on their own version of a protective stance. As we enter the classroom this fall, a good place to start is checking in to see that we are calm and respectful of the space we are entering.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Buzz