7 valuable lessons educators should learn from Ted Lasso
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Educators constantly seek ways to inspire and motivate students. They strive to create a positive learning environment that fosters growth, empathy, and community. But what if the inspiration you need is not found in traditional educational resources? What if it comes from an unlikely source, like a fictional character on a TV show?
The Apple TV+ series "Ted Lasso" has captured viewers' hearts worldwide with its blend of humor and heartwarming moments. Ted Lasso, the protagonist, is an American football coach turned English soccer coach. While his story may seem unrelated to education, valuable lessons can be applied to the classroom.
Here's a Workee experts' take on how Ted Lasso's core principles can teach educators how to create a more positive and impactful learning experience for their students.
The unlikely inspiration of Ted Lasso
When you think of a successful sports coach, you might imagine someone with years of experience, an impressive track record, and a tough-as-nails attitude. So viewers were understandably skeptical when Ted Lasso, a fictional American football coach from Kansas, was announced as the new head coach for AFC Richmond, a struggling English Premier League soccer team. But as the Apple TV+ series unfolds, it becomes clear that there's more to this character than meets the eye.
Played by Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso is a relentlessly positive and empathetic coach who prioritizes his players' personal growth and well-being over winning at all costs. He listens to their concerns and encourages them to support each other as a team. He also models vulnerability and honesty in his own life, admitting when he doesn't know something or needs help from others. It's an unconventional approach that challenges the hyper-masculine culture often associated with sports coaching – but it works.
Applying Ted Lasso's core principles to the classroom
While "Ted Lasso" may be a work of fiction, its lessons can be applied to real-life situations – including the classroom.
1. The power of positivity
Throughout the series, Ted Lasso's optimism and positive attitude serve as a driving force for his team's growth and success. One notable example is when he gifts AFC Richmond's team captain, Roy Kent, a book titled "The Art of Racing in the Rain" (Season 1, Episode 4). Despite the team's initial skepticism and Roy's reluctance, Ted's positive reinforcement and belief in the power of literature help Roy become more open to new experiences and ideas.
Educators can learn from this by maintaining a positive outlook in the classroom, fostering a supportive learning environment, and motivating students to achieve their goals.
2. Empathy and understanding
Ted Lasso's deep concern for the well-being of his players is evident throughout the series. In Season 1, Episode 3, Ted sits down with one of his players, Sam Obisanya, who is struggling with homesickness. Instead of brushing off Sam's feelings, Ted listens empathetically and even helps organize a surprise Nigerian Independence Day celebration for him. This genuine care for Sam's well-being strengthens their bond and boosts Sam's confidence.
Educators can learn from this by taking an interest in their students' lives outside of school and creating a safe and supportive classroom environment where everyone feels valued. One way to model empathy is by actively listening to our students and showing them we care about their thoughts and feelings. This can be done through simple gestures such as making eye contact, nodding, and asking follow-up questions.
3. The importance of a growth mindset
The power of a growth mindset is one of the most important lessons educators can learn from Ted Lasso. Ted Lasso frequently prioritizes personal growth and learning over winning at any cost. Ted introduces the concept of a "Goldfish Mindset" to his team in Season 1, Episode 6, emphasizing the importance of letting go of past mistakes and focusing on the present. He emphasizes that mistakes are opportunities for learning and growth, and he recognizes and rewards his players' efforts and improvements regardless of game results.
This same philosophy can be applied in the classroom by cultivating a culture of growth and improvement. They can motivate their students to set goals for themselves and celebrate their accomplishments. They can provide constructive feedback rather than simply pointing out errors. Teachers can help students develop resilience, perseverance, and a love of learning that will serve them well by modeling a growth mindset and creating an environment that supports it.
4. Building a strong community
Community is a key component of Ted Lasso's coaching style. Throughout the series, Ted Lasso strongly emphasizes team-building and fostering a sense of community among his players. He introduces "Biscuits with the Boss" in Season 1, Episode 2, a daily ritual in which he shares biscuits and conversations with the team's owner, Rebecca Welton.
This small gesture contributes to their mutual trust and rapport. Similarly, in Season 1, Episode 8, Ted organizes the "Darts Tournament," a team-building exercise in which players compete against each other in a friendly darts game, encouraging camaraderie and teamwork.
Ted stresses the importance of teamwork and encourages his players to support one another on and off the field. Teachers can foster a similar sense of community in the classroom by fostering a nurturing and supportive environment that encourages collaboration, mutual respect, and open communication among students.
5. The power of encouragement
Ted Lasso is well-known for his ability to inspire and motivate others. Ted assists his assistant coach, Nate Shelley, as he steps up to deliver a crucial halftime pep talk to the team in Season 2, Episode 4. Ted helps Nate find his voice and successfully motivates the players by encouraging and believing in his abilities.
Teachers can learn from this by encouraging students, recognizing their effort, and applauding them for their hard work and perseverance. This can help boost students' self-esteem, allowing them to believe in their abilities by reframing failure as an opportunity for growth rather than a sign of incompetence.
6. Embracing vulnerability
Ted Lasso is not afraid to show vulnerability, which can also be an important lesson for educators. In Season 2, Episode 10, Ted opens up about his mental health struggles and the challenges he has faced in his personal life. Acknowledging his imperfections, he creates a more authentic connection with his players and demonstrates the importance of seeking help.
Educators can apply this lesson by acknowledging their mistakes and imperfections, creating a more authentic connection with their students, and showing them that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
7. Resilience and adaptability
Ted Lasso demonstrates resilience in the face of adversity and the ability to adapt to new situations all through the series. Ted moves to England in Season 1, Episode 1, and is met with skepticism from the team, the media, and the fans due to his lack of soccer experience. Despite these obstacles, he remains resilient and adjusts his coaching style to suit the team's needs better.
Educators can learn from Ted's resilience and adaptability by embracing change, learning from setbacks, and modeling these valuable qualities for their students.
"Ted Lasso" is more than just a feel-good show. It's a good reminder that, just like in coaching, the heart of education is in cultivating the human connections that encourage personal growth and success.
Ted Lasso offers a refreshing perspective on leadership and community building that can be applied in the classroom. Ted Lasso's approach reminds us that teaching is not just about imparting knowledge but also about nurturing personal growth. Educators can foster a supportive learning environment that helps students do well by emphasizing growth mindsets, empathy, and community.
Teachers have the power to make a big difference in the lives of their students. By learning from Ted Lasso, they can help students feel a sense of belonging, which makes them feel valued and more motivated to learn. They can also help students learn the skills they need to succeed inside and outside the classroom.
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