How to Spot a “Dog” Student in the Classroom and Build a Successful Relationship - Michael Grinder & Associates

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How to Spot a “Dog” Student in the Classroom and Build a Successful Relationship

How do you recognize your “dog” students and build a successful relationship with them?

In this short video, Michael Grinder, the pioneer of nonverbal communication, discusses how to use nonverbal cues to pinpoint students with “dog” characteristics — and how you can connect with “dog” students successfully.

Modified Transcript

Hi, Michael Grinder, again.

We’re talking about our book, A Cat in the Doghouse. This is our second video in a series of three.

When we talk about “dog” students, how do you recognize them, and how do you treat them?

Well, it’d be really easy to say, “they tend to wag their tail,” but they do. They really are glad to see you on a regular basis.

But there are other behaviors that you can watch for:

  • When they gesture, they always have a bent elbow, they don’t go out straight.
  • When they stand, they tend to lean on one leg more than the other.
  • When they sit, they tend to lean. So, they tend to be not upright as much as you would think a student at different age groups would.
  • When they are talking, they’re very rhythmic in terms of their voice pattern, and that’s because they bob their head a lot. Because they’re bobbing their head, their voice goes up and down. Very friendly, easy to listen to.
  • Watch their palms; they tend to have their palms up. Because if your palms are up, you tend to have your curl of your voice going up at the end of every phrase and sentence. So they’re just really friendly.
  • When they listen, it’s very similar, they listen with their head, “mhm.” But it’s not just their head, they will make sounds that are encouraging, “oh, ah.” So they are really are the absolute pinnacle of empathy in terms of what we want.
  • Sometimes their dress and speech pattern will be a little more informal than others.

Now that’s what you see in terms of their behaviors. But if you want to really watch what their traits are like, I would recommend what I call “the Seven A’s.”

1. Accommodating

They will really, really accommodate you and anyone else, you being the teacher. If you ask them, “Class, I need a favor?” They will respond, “Ah, what do you need?”

2. Accepting

If you have to change the schedule, they’ll let you change the schedule. They really want to be helpful.

3. Approachable

If you go up and say, “Would you do me a favor?” They’d go, “Oh, I would love to do you a favor.”

4. Appreciative

When you say, “Class, I made this over the weekend, I want to share with you.” “Thank you!” They have a lot of eye contact as they express their appreciation.

5. Ask Questions

If they’re interacting in the cooperative learning group, they will always ask questions of other people. They really want to know who you are and how they can accept you in many ways.

6. Acknowledge

If you would, they love to acknowledge others. “You know, that was really a good question that you just asked.”

7. (Never) Assume

They never assume. They always give the benefit of the doubt.

If I may, they love The Golden Rule — “I’ll treat you the way I want you to treat me.”

Those are your dogs, and they do fine with whatever you ask of them. The lower the grade level you teach, the more dogs there are. The higher the grade level… that’s the next video we have: “How do you recognize the “cat” students?”

Michael Grinder, here. Thank you.

Part 2 of 3

See part 1 here: https://michaelgrinder.com/how-to-succeed-with-hard-to-reach-students-the-analogy-of-cats-and-dogs/

See part 3 here: https://michaelgrinder.com/how-to-pinpoint-a-cat-student/

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