Using language patterns and body language to improve learner performance 

Fiona Allan

Fiona trained as both a primary teacher and a secondary teacher of Mathematics. During her teaching career, she taught in Infant, Primary, Middle and Secondary Schools and latterly in a Sixth Form College where she taught all stages of Mathematics from Entry Level to A-level. After leaving the classroom, she worked on several projects including the Standards Unit ‘Improving learning in Mathematics’ and on Thinking Through Mathematics and Learning Mathematics in Context before joining the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics. Her MSc (2005) was in Computer Enhanced Mathematics and she is particularly interested in how teachers can use ICT and digital technology to enhance teaching and learning.


Recent research has demonstrated that using NLP (hypnotic language patterns and body language from family therapy) alongside good practice in teaching can make a difference to learners’ performance.  In 2011 a large research project (‘Adults Don’t Count?’) carried out in the South East showed that working with teachers on pedagogy alone doubled the mean difference in relation to attainment scores, (compared to the control group), but when the sessions on pedagogy were combined with teaching teachers about NLP, the mean difference was tripled.

In this session, you will learn how you can influence your mathematics learners through words, sentence structure and body language and you will practise some of the techniques such as:

         embedded commands

         pacing and leading

         making suggestions through connections and

         using body language to influence learners.

 Session participants will be given a set of cards ‘Suggestive language for teachers’.