One of the first pieces of advice I always give the student teachers I mentor is that when their students enter the classroom they try to give each one a smile, a hello and make a comment or personal connection with them.
Now there is scientific evidence this is effective. A new study shows that when teachers routinely greet students and say their name, make eye contact, provide a high five, handshake or thumbs up and/or give a few words of encouragement it sets a more positive tone for the day, increases student engagement and reduces the amount of disruptive behavior. In an article by Youki Terada she notes the study showed that when students feel welcome in their classroom they put more energy and effort into learning.
I’m wondering if this would have implications in other areas. If I’m friendly and smile at a waiter in a restaurant will I get better service? If I smile at people at the gym and say good morning will it improve the quality of their workout? If I make a personal comment to someone in the church library when I volunteer there will it make them more likely to return for more books? If I say hello to the person beside me on the bus or in the bus shack will they have a better day? If I smile and greet people who serve me in businesses will they give me better service and feel better about their jobs?
Isn’t it great that everyone can easily smile and greet people in a friendly way and there is scientific evidence it will make a difference?