Making Your Words Work

Using NLP to improve communication, learning & behaviour

By: Terry Mahony


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 230mm x 155mm
Pages : 216
ISBN : 9781845900410
Format: Paperback
Published: April 2007

The only book to focus on the use of language models to improve classroom management, Making Your Words Work offers a large repertoire of linguistic approaches to improve communication between teacher and pupil.

It provides a robust rationale of the causes of anxiety and dysfunctional behaviours, especially useful in situations where the pupil is a potentially disruptive influence. It also covers the latest developments in effective teaching through the modification of language use. Developing the skills and behaviour management strategies in this book will promote learning, improve relationships with pupils and result in a happier, more productive classroom.

Previously published as Words Work: How to Change Your Language to improve Behaviour in Your Classroom ISBN 9781899836987 – resized and reformatted.

Picture for author Terry Mahony

Terry Mahony

Terry Mahony is head of Hampshire’s Professional Development & Training Service and a trainer on the Leading From the Middle programme of the National College for School Leadership. He has twenty years’ experience as a leadership trainer and coach and is an accredited mediator with the Portsmouth Mediation Service, working to resolve conflicts in the community and the workplace in that city. A member of Robert Dilt’s NLP Global Training and Consulting Community, he writes on the applications of Neuro-Linguistic Programming in education, personal professional development and in mediation.


  1. As one preview states, "This is the ONLY book to focus on the use of language models to improve classroom management". Careless comments can easily set a negative scenario between you ind many of your underachieving pupils. In the hear of the moment when you are attempting to deal with numerous demands on your attention, just one careless word can undermine all your hard work. If you want to use effectively the subtleties of linguistic interactions that distinguish highly effective classroom practice from the merely ordinary, then this is the book for you. This book should be on every staffroom bookshelf. It takes you beyond the mundane and trite linguistic acrimony that often results from damaging, throwaway comments. Be more effective in what you do, and, more importantly, in what you say. An excellent read!
  2. If you suspect that words hold the key to effective learning Making Your Words Work is a book you will want to dip into again and again. Terry Mahony's overview of research, models and techniques show how you can unblock the linguistic barriers to learning in your classroom.
  3. With the emphasis in schools to raise aspirations of pupils and students at all levels this book has essential ideas for developing language models to improve motivation. In addition emphasis is placed upon promoting more effective relationships for opening up the classroom as a learning place and developing self motivation. I would recommend the book since it gives those working with children and young people insight into language as the key to knowing which type of decision maker a child is. It is a pity that the author failed to have a section linking his excellent work to the SEAL project, That is the development of social and emotional aspects of learning, which would have made it more relevant for staff working in classrooms.
  4. We all have the vision of a productive classroom. `Making Your Words Work` helps empower and inform us to put this vision into action. Why don't our teaching methods always work? Terry Mahony offers techniques and tools for making teaching work. Mahony's expert advice shows how to manage practical and emotional aspects of transforming high conflict situations into well managed when faced with a class of children
  5. A core text, totally comprehensive, excellent value Mahony's would be my first and main text I would use in initial teacher training. His versatility and warmth creates a very easy to follow book. Practical and caring. Mahony is gifted in the way he provides exercises throughout explaining how to use NLP for classroom learning. Knowing what I know now, this book would have saved me considerable time and money regarding teaching and learning. Top Marks Mahony!
  6. Improving communication, learning and behaviour within an educational system is not a bad idea given the stresses and strains that educators and students are put under today in the modern world. There is no more fun in classrooms as deadlines, tests and red tape rules have begun to dominate both educators and students lives.

    So what in this book could possibly offer a solution to transforming the stresses of being in the educational system? Well, just the title is enough to make that promise of a solution. The challenge is that people learn their speech patterns from the time of conception and from their family, followed by education. So does NLP have all the answers to enabling educators and students to communicate better?

    This book is not an easy read. It is not something you sit down with and read in one sitting. However, where it is excellent in value is as a group study book. In other words if the educator and students sat down together and dealt with each chapter, the exercises and worked together to practise the principles contained within the pages of this book ” the book would fulfil its promise.

    True learning is not just an auditory/visual experience. It is a combination of auditory, visual and kinaesthetic and this book is very much about using all three if the patterns of language conditioned from the womb are to be transformed into something that enables individuals to communicate effectively in all areas of life.

    Group discussions and experiences within the educational field are going to become more and more popular. You could call them skill sessions. And this is where the book Making Your Words Work can be a leader. It has practical suggestions and exercises and each chapter allows you to build upon a layer of word skill that finally finishes with an understanding that communication is complex and if you know how to read the signals from the language being communicated from another, you can create rapport, seek to understand instead of being right and more importantly appreciate another for having different approaches and opinions on a subject without feeling your own approach and opinion is “wrong'.

    Highly recommended as a group skill session book.

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