Practical Strategies For Reconnecting Disengaged Students with Dr. Emir Cruz Fernandez

Practical Strategies For Reconnecting Disengaged Students with Dr. Emir Cruz Fernandez

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Are you searching for effective ways to engage your students, increase their motivation and enhance their classroom experience?

In this episode of School Behaviour Secrets Dr. Emir Cruz Fernandez reveals the art of connecting through active listening and the impact it has on student well-being and classroom behaviour. Learn practical strategies for fostering genuine connections in your classroom.

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Get Dr. Emir Cruz Fernandez's book on Amazon here

Or visit Dr. Emir Cruz Fernandez's website

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Show notes / transcription

Emir Cruz  0:00  

Just listen to them. By listening to them, because when people speak, they say what they want to say. But also there is a subtext. So very often when they talk, when they communicate, they give you hints of their personality, they give you hints or what's going on at home. They give you hints or who's their favourite people, their favourite singers. So just try to listen attentively. And then in my process of preparing for lessons, I take all that into consideration.

Simon Currigan  0:28  

Hi there. My name is Simon Currigan and welcome to school behaviour secrets. I'm joined today by my co host, Emma Shackleton. Hi, Emma.

Emma Shackleton  1:15  

Hi, Simon.

Simon Currigan  1:16  

I've just been going through the podcast reviews Emma, and I've got one here five stars. The reviewer says literally my favourite podcast ever just going through and listening to old episodes as I patiently wait for new ones. There's so much gold here so much amazing knowledge and it's all transmitted in such a beautiful understanding and natural way such an inspiration.

Emma Shackleton  1:39  

Oh, wow, what a great review.

Simon Currigan  1:41  

Yeah, I know, I mean, it's a review for a different podcast called Manifestation Babe. But it must be really good because she gets loads of five star reviews so good for her.

Emma Shackleton  1:51  


Simon Currigan  1:52  

And of course, if you leave a five star rating and review for manifestation babe, we might read it out on the show, too. Before we go any deeper into that, I'd like to ask you a question.

Emma Shackleton  2:04  

I think you should, go on.

Simon Currigan  2:05  

Okay. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you get up to? 

Emma Shackleton  2:08  

Oh, lots of listening in on conversations because I am super nosy. Maybe a bit of shoplifting too. Just kidding. What about you, Simon? What would you get up to if you were invisible?

Simon Currigan  2:23  

I'd have a lot of fun in Gregg's, the things I'd make those sausage rolls get up to.

Emma Shackleton  2:27  

But what's the point of your question today? What's the link to the episode? Is there even a link to today's episode?

Simon Currigan  2:33  

There's definitely a link. So our guest today is Emir Cruz Fernandez. And we're going to talk about motivation. Why are kids becoming less and less engaged in the classroom and what we as educators can do about it. And I think when people imagine becoming invisible for a day you really learn about what motivates them intrinsically and their desires. It's one of those questions that when you ask it people's eyes light up and in the conversation we're about to share Emir talks through some concrete techniques anyone can use for getting their pupils interested and motivated in their work and how to harness their goals and desires so their eyes light up when they walk into your classroom.

Emma Shackleton  3:13  

But before we press the play button on that interview, can I just remind you that if you haven't done so yet, please leave an honest rating and review for the show. When you spend just 60 seconds doing that it prompts the algorithm to share school behaviour secrets with other teachers, school leaders and parents to help share this information and grow the show. And now here's Simon's conversation with Emir Cruz Fernandez.

Simon Currigan  3:43  

It is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Emir Cruz Fernandez to the show today. Emir has studied psychology, theatre, literature, art and languages and holds a PhD in Spanish Golden Age literature. He is a professor, actor, public school teacher and a theatre director and the author of Marvel Education which focuses on creating successful classrooms where children can learn and thrive. He's also wrote the award winning book Muslims of Spain, and the much anticipated book, The Stoic Educator. With a deep passion for learning, Emir has dedicated his life to the arts and the dissemination of knowledge. Emir, a quite a diverse palette of achievements there. Welcome to the show.

Emir Cruz  4:27  

Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. It's my pleasure to be here with you and your audience.

Simon Currigan  4:32  

I'm excited about this. It's a real pleasure to have you here. So we're going to talk about engagement and motivation today. And I want to start with the question, why do you think that it's harder to engage and motivate children in the classroom than ever before? What are the barriers that are getting in the way?

Emir Cruz  4:48  

Well, yeah, there are many, many barriers. But I think the main reason right now is a lot of stimuli. A lot going on social media, video games, there are a lot of distractions. And we teach in an industrial system in the Age of Information and Technology. So it's difficult, there's no consonance between the system we have in place. And when I talk about system, I refer to public school system. As teachers, we are competing with social media, internet, or video games, all that so it's difficult. So they have a lot of dopamine going through their veins. And we have to be ok with our industrial education method, hey, engage, do this do that. So it's difficult to compete with all the dopamine. And with all the stimuli they have nowadays, sometimes they have a learning issues, also learning disabilities, issues at home. I have experienced parents, that they send their kids to school, not to learn, but to make sure they have a babysitter. 

Simon Currigan  5:55  


Emir Cruz  5:55  

To make sure they are taking care of and also to make sure they have breakfast and lunch. Because at home, I mean, parents can not provide them or there are many possibilities. There are many possible reasons for which students are do not listen or do not want to listen or are not engaged in our classrooms.

Simon Currigan  6:15  

We're on the opposite sides of the Atlantic. But one thing I've seen on this side in the UK, is growing numbers of children and families that have lost the value of education. 100 years ago in this country an education was your way out of poverty, you would be highly motivated to engage because this was your route to a better life. And that's not necessarily true anymore. I just wonder if you see similar things in the States? Or you could speak about that.

Emir Cruz  6:41  

Absolutely, that's not the case anymore. When I went to school, 80s and 90s. Yes, we have goals, and we valued education, and we appreciated education. And teachers were basically our second parents. Here in the US, but also in Dominican Republic, teachers were parents that there was no doubt about that. Nowadays. Yeah, it's very difficult. Students have these models that are celebrities, stars, rappers and they are our students role models. But when you look at the behaviour of those role models, you say, Wow, that that behaviour is it's questionable. Yeah. And nowadays, it's not a luxury, to be fancy, to be respectful. It seems to be the opposite. So also, we are competing against those idea entities, their ideas to our kids, but doesn't mean that their behaviour is appropriate. So yeah, that's that's another factor. That's another another barrier.

Simon Currigan  7:46  

I think the word influencer actually is the right word here, they have influence over our kids. They're not necessarily role models, in the sense that they have a positive image or act positively do they in the public arena, and kids are naturally drawn to things that are dangerous or exciting or edgy. In the book,  you say we should begin the process of re engaging pupils by looking into ourselves and you started talking about this already, really, in the sense that the school system doesn't look that different in my country than it did 150 years ago, I was talking to someone the other day, you could take a Victorian teacher from 1862, in a parish school, put her in a modern classroom wouldn't really be out of her depth. So why is looking at ourselves such a powerful starting point? And how can we do it in a way that helps us move engagement forward in the classroom? 

Emir Cruz  8:37  

Well I think it's essential, especially as a teacher, I think it's important not to forget the reason why we became teachers. I became a teacher, because I had great role model. My teachers were people that very respectful, strict, but I could tell they really cared, and they contributed positively to the society and to myself, so I say, you know, well, you know, this is something, I want to take this path, I want to touch light, I want to connect, I want to do something to to make this world better. So it's important to monitor ourselves, and to remember why we are teachers, the administration, they demand a lot from us. And sometimes we get so engaged or when we'll do that class observations, we have to prepare this curriculum. And we forget the reasons why we became teachers, we we forget the reasons that we are there to connect, and to bring something positive. We don't talk much about our mission, our mission as human beings.

Simon Currigan  9:45  

So you're talking about a mission beyond test scores, how we can have a real impact on the kids in our classrooms and their lives and their aspirations and their motivations. I think this is what pulls people into teaching. Often they lose it the system batters it out of them. But this is The Spark when you talk to young students, teachers, this is the fire in their eyes, isn't it? 

Emir Cruz  10:05  

Yes, What I'm trying to say is that if you are centred, if you focus on yourself on your mission, somehow when you're a genuine when you are a centre, you are energy. We communicate with words, we connect with others. But that connection is beyond the words is being in what you can say is beyond what you can express. So if you're centred, if you know what you're doing, if you connect with your passion with your talent, they pick it up right away, if we find a method in which we can connect to ourselves, and just deliver, they pick up that you are genuine, that they pick up, you are present, that's a key ingredient. Nowadays, presence and human connection. So the more we are more in tune with ourselves, the more we are in tune with our mission as teachers, the better lessons we are going to deliver. And students will pick up on that. And they follow you because human beings, we are wired to connect, and children and adolescents are wired to follow and to imitate. And very often we forget that if you deliver your lesson, if you give them specific rules, specific guidelines, and they can see that you are following you're being sincere, you are being honest, they just follow you.

Simon Currigan  11:32  

People follow leaders don't they, it's incredible. I've seen it my job, I have the opportunity to go from classroom to classroom, in school and school, I've seen 1000s of lessons and teachers teach. And I think a teacher can under appreciate the power of the person at the front of the room, because you only really see and hear yourself and your impact with your kids. by actually having seen 1000s of adults, they are all different, and the way they present and whether they've got fire in their belly, and whether they sound interested in what they're talking about all those skills have huge impact on the energy in the room. And as you say that the kids come along, you've talked already about the importance of building connection. So can you give me more specific sort of activities we can do in class or ways of interacting with the kids to sort of engage them, especially with those classes where the kids come across as disengaged, there might be people listening to this thinking? Well, that's all well and good for Emir and Simon to say that on a podcast, but I've got that class on Thursday afternoon, who don't move, who arent interested, who don't want to learn about geography and tectonic plates. What do I do practically? 

Emir Cruz  12:36  

Well yes, first, I think everything begins that in the early days in the beginning of the school year, first, I would recommend to have specific rules, specific guidelines. And it's up to the teacher, how they come up with classroom rules and procedures. In my case, I gave them the rules. And I gave them the procedure specifically to avoid confusion. I tell them at the beginning, this is what we need to do. These are our rules. And I am very, very, very specific. And even very specific on the consequences. And I tell them, Oh, if you do this, these are the consequences.

Simon Currigan  13:11  

So there's clarity, there's lots of clarity,

Emir Cruz  13:15  

Clarity, yeah, everything's clear from day one, clear. And there's no doubt. And of course, they have the opportunity to ask questions in case if they don't understand. That's the first thing clear clarity at the beginning. Usually they hate me. human connection is very, very important nowadays, and is essentially in my classroom. And that includes, that involves no cell phones at all, in my class.

Simon Currigan  13:40  

They must hate you?

Emir Cruz  13:41  

At the beginning. Yes. Because no cell phones, because if I see a cell phone, they lose five points, ha, ha ha.

Simon Currigan  13:48  

You've given them the purpose aren't you, behind that request? So that you understand the why.

Emir Cruz  13:53  

Oh yes, you understand? Yes, I tell them, you're on your cell phone 24 hours a day or maybe 20, whatever, then I mean that we have protocols, we have procedures. And sometimes I give people assignments, tasks. And then after a month and a half, they will try to test me to see how far they can go or how much I can bend. Oh no, no, no, I am not going to bend. By mid October, they got it and yeah, they adapt in the process. I make them fall in love with a subject. How do you do that? Well, it depends on the subject. It depends on the teacher, it depends on each person's style, but you find a way and try to see their interest what they like you listen to them, what are their talents, what are their tendencies? And then based on that, you play with that. And in your lesson, you try to implement as much as possible, not everything because you can you cannot do everything in one lesson. As much as possible, you try to implement some of those aspects. Oh, he likes literature. Okay. I mean, maybe for this lesson, because Joe likes literature, maybe the set part of the of the lesson, let me implement these elements. So you try to see their interest. And then you try to implement some of those elements into your classroom. Of course, it's impossible to implement everything or everything, the students, your students lives in one lesson, but you try the process of trial, and you try, sometimes it doesn't work, you try something else. So the whole school year is a process of trying and see what works and modifying. So that also helps a lot with the connection, but also just listen to them. By listening to them. Because when people speak, they say what they want to say. But also there is a subtext. So very often, when they talk, when they communicate, they give you hints of their personality, they give you hints, or what's going on at home, they give you hints, or who's their favourite people, their favourite singers. So just try to listen attentively, I try to listen attentively and pay attention. And then in my process of preparing for lessons, I take all that into consideration. And I take note, Oh, Joe said that he likes chess. And eventually, from time to time I go, I go over it. And I use elements from that journal, and I implement them in my lesson.

Simon Currigan  16:21  

That's really powerful, isn't it? Because I mean, in the book, you talk about active listening, and you started talking about active listening already. Active listening is not just sitting there accepting what the other person is saying, waiting for your turn, it sounds like what you're doing is you're really thinking about, and using that listening skill to connect with the kids. But then you're doing something even more powerful. You're remembering, and you're making notes to help you remember. And then when you come back, what you've done is you proved to the kids, that you weren't just standing there waiting for your turn in the conversation, you were absorbing what they were saying they were thinking about it acting on it, and that is true human connection.

Emir Cruz  17:01  

That Simon, that's the only thing we have left nowadays. So in an obsolete system that is not in consonance. With our current era, what do we have left? Human connections, and 

Simon Currigan  17:14  


Emir Cruz  17:15  

Relationships. Yeah, I don't have a crystal ball. I don't have the tarot cards, but I Intuit in the near future, there's gonna be a treasure in real human to human connection.

Simon Currigan  17:25  

I think we saw this during COVID, though with a lockdown. 

Absolutely. And it's fascinating assignment because Plato restored all those great philosophers. That's how they were able to communicate person to person. And basically nowadays, that is not obsolete, 

Emir Cruz  17:28  


Simon Currigan  17:28  

And kids were getting teachers on teams, teachers on Zoom, which is a bit like watching the TV, you can interact, but you don't really interact, especially when there's 30 people watching, it's more like a webinar with someone at the front presenting. And we saw kids having real difficulty with their mental health and their social skills and their emotional regulation. Because that human to human connection was just missing, you don't get it through a piece of glass chat. GTP could probably give us the content, it could explain it kind of in 50 different ways probably explain it better than I can. But what it can't do is walk around in the flesh, there's something different is there almost like when you think about our ancients sitting around a campfire having that human to human connection telling stories and coming together?


Emir Cruz  18:25  

human connection, and I don't think would be in the next 300 years from now.

Simon Currigan  18:29  

It's in our bones, isn't it? It's an evolution and evolution moves very, very slowly. Can you talk about the impact you took in the book as well? I mean, we're talking about active listening and how to do that and how to do that without judgement, which you say is is important. What's the impact specifically for the kids who have unmet needs or special needs? How do you implement it with those kids to have the maximum impact?

Emir Cruz  18:51  

Yeah, it's very, it's a very delicate situation. But it can precedence thing what works, what doesn't work and also try to accommodate the best you can accommodate and and modify your lessons, modify your your techniques accordingly. And just being present, which is not easy to be present is not easy to listen, especially here in the in New York, in the public school system, in the city, a lot of teachers have a lot of pressure, especially new teachers, sometimes they don't know when they're going to be observed, for how long and that that creates a lot of tension and that I think that prevents them from focusing on themselves focusing on the lesson because they're so aware that everything is working in case that supervisor comes to my classroom and he sits down to observe me. Sometimes it's very difficult due to that pressure that he or she might come in and sit down and give me a bad evaluation, etc. And also Yeah, consider those kids when preparing your lessons, also consider their needs, consider how you see they learn better, the way we evaluate them is very, very important, the way we evaluate kids nowadays, here New York, it's obsolete and that needs to change right away.

Simon Currigan  20:08  

And what way, in what specific way?

Emir Cruz  20:10  

The grades 55, 65. You know, its just obsolete. it's just, I mean, doesn't work. I cannot tell you right now, specifically, what we can do to change it. But definitely, it's it doesn't work that way anymore

Simon Currigan  20:24  

In this country, in the primary schools anyway, the kids get a report. And I think one of the things that schools have to do is put them in one of three grades across some subjects. So you're either at expectations for your age, you're above expectations, or you're below expectations. And there's some kids every year, who are struggling, they're trying hard, and the making progress, they are making progress. But all they see on their report, year after year will be below expectations below expectations. But I think in terms of motivation, that's going to be crushing, you know,

Emir Cruz  20:56  

Let me ask you. So you have those are the three categories you have in England now?

Simon Currigan  21:00  

Well in the primary schools, they have to deliver that information. And then there are paragraphs and the teacher will do their best to talk about how the child's tried hard to do X, Y, and Zed, one of the first things they'll see in their reports is, so you don't have grades anymore. We do for older children, when like my children are teenagers, and my daughter's just in the GCSEs. So she will get ABCDEF, you know, those kinds of exam grades, and I'll get test scores. But I was just thinking about primary in particular, because it's all about whether the kids are at expectations, above expectations, or below expectations. That's how the schools group the children together to some extent, they'll do their own test scores and things like that. That's the kind of blunt reporting because of pressure from the government and Ofsted and inspectors and things like that.

Emir Cruz  21:41  

The world is changing, and things are different now. And yeah, that approach I think, is obsolete.

Simon Currigan  21:46  

We've started talking about kids in social media and less social interaction, and you talk in the book, it's a really interesting book. I like the book, it's very practical. You talk about how pupils may never have been taught to listen actively. So we talked about the teachers role trying to be present and listen and remember, what role do you think that lack of experience lack of specific teaching from home and school has on pupil disengagement and challenging behaviour in the classroom? And what do we do to skill them up at their end?

Emir Cruz  22:19  

I believe that we set the example, we set the example. And we model because there is a lot of stimuli around and it's difficult to really listen, nowadays, with all these dopamine going through our bodies, all these text messages, 

Simon Currigan  22:31  

all these distractions?

Emir Cruz  22:39  

all these distractions, is very, very difficult. So if we can provide, if we can manage to provide them with a space that is different from what they experience, 24 hours a day, I think that helps. And the importance of modelling, modelling is very, very important and find ways to connect with them. And also to expose them to, to the world to knowledge, but also to even sometimes to basic experiences. A few years ago, I was teaching a lesson. And I don't know, somehow, we ended up talking about table manners. And I was in shock, Simon, because there was a student, that she had no idea that there was something called Table manners. So I have to pause the lesson and explain to her, a little bit, about table manners. I wanted to show her a video on YouTube. But guess what the technology in that school, was not working. So I couldn't even show her, we had a smart board, but we couldn't use it. So I spent like 20 minutes talking with the class, especially for her about table manners, because it was oh, at home, I just, we just grabbed the plate and we sit on the sofa and we eat, she didn't have the idea that you can have your meal at a table. So really listen. And of course, it's impossible to save everyone, but just really listen, be present. They can feel your presence, they can tell you are listening, and just try your best. Because they appreciate it.

Simon Currigan  24:14  

You plant the seeds, and you probably don't see them grow do you? The payoff comes down the line and you never see, you never appreciate it.  I was talking to a teacher the other day and they were having difficulties connecting with a student. They were talking about what they wanted, and the child was not really engaging. And the conversation wasn't going anywhere. And he was saying, you know, what's the point? It was like, Well, you may not see the results today. But five or six conversations down the line in eight months time, the next teacher might see the result and you start small and you don't see the impact. And that's a really important message especially around kids social, emotional, mental health well being so you never know the impact that you're gonna have. He could be the next Steve Jobs.

Emir Cruz  24:56  

Absolutely. That's why it's important to be present to be, to be there, to try to, I mean, try your best to be present to be with them. Because I mean, you don't know how that simple lesson might be impacting the student at that time.

Simon Currigan  25:11  

Could you speak to the impact of using appreciation and recognition and praise in the classroom? I'm especially interested with your background in the theatre and working with kids. How can you deliver that in a way that feels authentic and not fake?

Emir Cruz  25:29  

For me, what works is honesty, honesty, there is an honest person, they're trying to teach you something 100% is not a perfect world is not a perfect system. But we can just try our best to become better human beings to become better people. So I found out that using my techniques from theatre that I have learned, combining that with other other elements from other fields has helped me I'm like a parable. I'm always listening, paying attention to them. And see, okay, what can I use from this conversation? What can I use from Oh, I heard this comment, oh, can I use that comment for their education or for that student specifically, and to help in in a specific aspect, you will never end as a teacher you will never end to adjust, to make adjustment,  to fix here, to modify there or to cancel this and we will never stop that, will never stop. Genuine appreciation and praise? Yes, I think is it helps a lot is a way to let them know. Hey, I'm watching you. And you are doing great. You're doing amazing. However, make sure you're honest. Yeah, because sometimes, yes. Sometimes here in New York, the system, they make it a rule, or you have to make sure you recognise them, you appreciate them. You praise them. Yes. But they can tell when you're being fake. 

Simon Currigan  27:01  

They smell it a mile away.

My nephew once said something very, very wise, he's about eight years old. And in his school in his class, they had a special assembly where they pick someone who tried hard or had done something special each week. And the teacher had a tick list that she was working through to make sure no one got left out. And we're talking and I said, Have you had one of these special assemblies yet? And he went No, no, no. And I said to him, What are you going to try hard to get one of these assemblies and he's like, No, there's only three names on the list. I don't need to do anything now. I just need to wait my turn. It's lost its value and all you have to do is like pick a number and wait your turn and it's reinforcing patience rather than effort. 

Emir Cruz  27:02  

Oh, yes, they do. They do. And so if you give them praise, make sure it's genuine, make sure it's genuine. If there's something that they need to modify, also, let them know, they will respect you more for that. If you tell them, you know, okay, you're on your way on your path, you're getting closer. But perhaps you if you modify this aspect of whatever I mean, or perhaps if you clarify these points, with three more examples, something like that, give him a specific recommendation. But do not praise them just because the AP says that you must praise them or you didn't praise your students enough in that lesson that he or she came to observe you. Because sometimes these especially new teachers, they put up shows for their administrator when they come up to observe and I mean, I don't recommend to put up shows, just do what you do on a regular day, just flow and but it's difficult because you know, you especially for new teacher, they have a lot of pressure. And it's very difficult to ignore the pressure or to block it. So the best way is to be honest, provide honest feedback. If you have to praise them, praise them, thank them, give them our responsibilities, your classroom things to do. And I appreciate them and say thank you, from time to time, if they deserve it, if they deserve it, if you deserve it, we can have a big party if you deserve it, if you earn it. And also don't give anything for free teachers. Yes, in order to get something you must give something, and they pick it up right away. And to give something to them, you have to give them something material, it could be like smile, a kind word a thank you and appreciation in nice comments. Those are those are way to think you're starting  to appreciate them to, to let them know without letting them know that you care about them, that you are honest, that you are there for them, that you are there to, to connect and to make them better people because by making them better people. We are all together, we are making, we are creating a better world.

Simon Currigan  29:22  

Emir, a fascinating conversation. If you're a teacher or a parent listening to this podcast, what would you recommend is just the first step that a teacher can make to reconnect or re-engage a class that's disengaged. Or if you're a parent and your child is disengaged, just the first thing you can do to sort of set that process going in the right direction.

Emir Cruz  30:23  

The first thing, look at yourself. Look, I look at me, first, I make sure I'm connected, I make sure I had a purpose, I make sure I know what I'm doing and why I am doing it. Once I'm, I'm centred, I'm connected. And in consonance, with my ideas with myself, then you can start helping your students helping your kids to connect. Yeah, because sometimes parents we tell our children what to do, but we are not doing what we are telling them to do. And we say it, but they know they can see most of the time they see that we are not doing what we are telling them to do. So first, the focus should be on me. Am I centred? Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing? Am I behaving accordingly? If the answer to those questions is yes, then be ready to move on and, and try to inspire and tell them, hey, what I'm doing, you should be doing, because that will make us better people. And also our actions will impact other people. And the action of those other people will impact other people. And eventually is for the whole world. Because I mean, we are we are building this together that what has worked for me, I look at me at myself first. And then organically. I connect with them and organically they, it takes time, of course it's a process.

Simon Currigan  31:53  

I mean, how can we find out more about your book where you go into these concepts in detail your book, Marvel education?

Emir Cruz  31:59  

Sure. My book is on right now is on Amazon. It's on different platforms, Amazon, I guess everyone knows Amazon. It's in another formats, audiobook, ebook and paperback and hardcover. But also, on my website. My website is  That's E M I R, C R U That's my website. And if you go to the website, if you go to the store, you will get a link to Amazon.

Simon Currigan  32:30  

And I'll put direct links to those in the episode description as well to make it easy for people then all they have to do is open their podcast app and click on the link. Finally Emir, we ask this of all our guests. Who is the key figure that's influenced you or what is the key book that you've read? That's had the biggest impact on your personal approach to working with kids?

Emir Cruz  32:51  

Beautiful question, beautiful question. The first person that made a huge impact on me was my high school teacher.  Patricia Ciccone she was my AP Spanish teacher in high school. A great human being as a teacher, I mean, she was amazing. I fell in love with teaching because of her. But eventually, that lady became my best friend, my sister, my my intellectual mother, literally, you know, and she provided me with several opportunities with her I was able to to create my theatre company. Also she got me a scholarship to go to Spain. I studied in Spain because of her. So that teacher she was literally she was an angel in my life. And because of her I'm a teacher. Another person that influenced me through his books was Krishna Murthy. Krishnamurti, the British Indian philosopher and Joseph Campbell that mythologies Joseph Campbell so I guess those three people, yes have to do with, with my formation, my desire to become a teacher and share my knowledge of what I love, my passions with my students and with the world.

Simon Currigan  32:56  

Oh, wow. Is that Joseph Campbell, he wrote The Hero's Journey? 

Emir Cruz  34:07  

Yes, Marvel Education.

Simon Currigan  34:08  

It sounds like you've been on your own hero's journey. Dr Emir Cruz Fernandez. It's been an absolute pleasure to speak to you today. Thank you for being on the show.

Emir Cruz  34:20  

The pleasure is mine. Thank you for inviting me and good luck to you and to all your subscribers and viewers.

Emma Shackleton  34:26  

Emir shared a really interesting mix there of both concrete techniques and a general educational approach to connecting and motivating any class.

Simon Currigan  34:37  

And if you want to learn more, not just about engaging pupils, but about managing classroom behaviour in general. Make sure you check out his book Marvel education I'll put a link in the episode description. 

Emma Shackleton  34:48  

And by the way, if you're working with a tricky class where the behaviour doesn't quite work or gel, and teaching lessons feels exhausting like wading through treacle then we get it. And we've got a completely free download that can help.

Simon Currigan  35:03  

It's called the classroom management score sheet and inside your download, you'll find a checklist of 37 factors that can have an impact on classroom behaviour.

Emma Shackleton  35:11  

The score sheet has got a list of things that you are either doing or not doing. So think of it like a clear roadmap to improve your presence in the classroom. The score sheet is based on 1000's of observations that Simon and I have conducted between us. So you know, it's based on real classroom scenarios just like yours. 

Simon Currigan  35:34  

nd if you're supporting a colleague with their classroom management, it can even help make your feedback and action points clearer and more objective for the person you're supporting too.

Emma Shackleton  35:43  

Get it now by going to click on the free resources option in the menu near the top of the page. The score sheet is completely free. Get yours today. And we've also put a direct link to the score sheet in the episode description.

Simon Currigan  36:01  

And if you haven't subscribed already, it's time to take action. All you have to do is open up your podcast app, hit subscribe and you're done. You're out more download every new episode as it's released so you never miss another thing. Plus subscribing is completely free. And to celebrate subscribing to the show. Why not throw on a cape or a tea towel if that's all you've got. Head out into the street, strike a power pose, proclaim Your victory to the skies and finally, show your neighbours the superhero that's been lying within you all this time. living your truth like this can surely only increase your social status within the group

Emma Shackleton  36:36  

However you choose to celebrate subscribing. Thank you for listening today. Have a wonderful week, and we look forward to seeing you next time. Bye for now

Simon Currigan  36:48  


(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)