The BCFAI Fireside Chat on 4 September 2021 started with a formal introduction of the speakers, namely Rachel Paling, Dr. Revathi and Mushtakhusen. Rachel was the expert on the topic while Revathi and Mushtak, both with rich academic expertise in the Indian context, asked questions to steer the conversation towards India – how NLC could be relevant in India.
Rachel opened the session with a brief definition of NLC (Neurolanguage Coaching). She stated that NLC is brain-friendly coaching which is based on neuroscience. The chat continued in interactive mode through questions and answers.
Question 1 (Mushtakhusen): How does one differentiate between NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and NLC (Neurolanguage Coaching)?
Although Rachel clarified that she was not an expert on NLP, she confirmed that NLC is not based on NLP. NLP focuses on changing, influencing or persuading whereas NLC focuses on learning. Earlier NLP was not connected to neuroscientific research but nowadays it is. In NLC, educators are equipped with the knowledge of how the brain functions, how learners react and learn. When teachers apply this knowledge in class, it makes the learner feel safe, take ownership of their learning process and feel no shame asking questions.
Question 2 (Dr. Revathi): How does coaching enhance memory retention and create new neural networks?
Rachel reiterated that every brain is different – teachers need to find out what works or what’s going to help the learner. The main mission of educators is to create continuous moments with learners that can have a deep impact and help them assimilate things for the long run. NLC can mean relearning things. Moreover, instantly understanding learners is what educators need. As for retention, according to Rachel, it depends both on learners and educators. On the part of learners, they should consider learning a priority and remain consistent during the process whereas educators should experiment with new ways and also keep on finding effective ways of teaching.
Question 3 (Mushtakhusen): Is multilingualism - a reality in India - an aid or an obstacle for NLC?
Rachel was impressed by the multilingualism in India and also stated that it’s an advantage. It enables multitasking and developing creative memory and critical thinking.
Question 4 (Dr. Revathi): How can English teachers upskill, get to know more on this topic, train, etc?
Rachel recommended research. Research into the differences between traditional teaching and coaching. First of all, it would be crucial to understand the meaning of a coach. A coach provokes, stimulates and remains a sounding board. But she also felt that teachers are intuitively moving towards a coaching approach.
Question 5 (Dr. Revathi): Whether NLC focuses more on grammar than fluency?
Rachel said that NLC is a holistic approach to language. It includes both mechanical and mastery modes. Mechanical obviously meant grammar-related tasks but it should not involve bookish grammar but educators are increasingly aware of it. Of course, mastery is related to the flow of communication.
Question 6 (Mushtakhusen): NLC in the context of Indian students taking ownership of their learning, considering that are used to spoon-feeding/rote learning.
Rachel said that expecting the teacher to spoon feed is a worldwide phenomenon. Educators should follow a policy to be more silent yet provoke thoughts through questions so that learners take ownership of the learning process. An educators’ role is to help and support when needed. It is not to demonstrate expertise,but leverage expertise to help learners as and when they may need it.
Then the session was opened for a question-answer session for the audience followed by an informal networking session.
Mushtakhusen S.M. is an Assistant Professor at ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad, India. He handles courses in business communication and soft skills. He has over 19 years of experience in academics as well as industry. His areas of interest are Business Communication, Cultural Competence, Global Skills, Ed Tech, and Educational Psychology. He can be reached on LinkedIn here.