Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Matching - More Than Mirroring

"Treat people like you would like to be treated" is an old german folk-wisdom, suggesting that people should be nice to each other. When it comes to actual interaction, psychology suggests the proverb should be changed to "Treat people like they want to be treated". Treating people like they want to be treated is called matching. The possible applications for teaching are wide-spread.

Physical Matching

Matching happens naturally physically. This means that the changes of tention are matched. You can see this when people shake hands, but also inside of our body we are naturally programmed to match ourselves e.g. when we walk our arms swing relaxed, when we jog the arms match by gaining more tention and raising. This natural tendency of matching physically can be used as technique as used by more and more people. As with all natural abilities we have, we can cultivate them, to react more sensitively and act more clearly.

Mental Matching

Matching, as suggested in the introduction, can be used for mental activities - for example when we talk with someone or a whole group. Breaking it down to various matching possibilities, you can match people by using the same vocabulary as they use. That means most of the time simple english for american and english teachers abroad.
Another possibility is the kind of thinking you underly your talking with. Is it based on reasoning (why?) or the outcome (what?) or the execution (how?). Try to cover all of them to talk to all of your students at some point in a way it matches, so they can most easily understand you.

Matching applies to a wide range of actions, and can be utilized in many more ways than above described. So go and try implementing matching somewhere!

How would you use matching in your class? Share in the comments!