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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

First impressions, last impressions?

Updated: Sep 19, 2020


Many fancy quotes often have a nemesis quote to counter it.

Life is full of paradoxes. I come across so many powerful quotes that seem so profound in the moment, but then actually seem to contradict other quotes when I consider them more carefully. 

For example, I remember questioning the phrase "first impressions = last impressions”, and “you only get one chance at a first impression", as it contradicts with another idea I love of “never judge a book by its cover” - perhaps the person was having a bad day!? Poor thing. 

My idea here turns to learning and teaching languages, of course.

I notice that the way I present an idea or concept for the first time has the biggest effect and opportunity to impact or ‘imprint’ on my students. It is such a powerful moment, when I’m talking students or participants through an idea, especially when it flows well. They just ‘get it’. They ask the right questions, usually ones I have anticipated. 

And then again, I’ve also taught concepts that don’t stick at all.

They come out like a jungle of ideas, and I can see I lose the ‘magic’ moment of flow and understanding early on for the students. It is hard sometimes to rectify that impression. A thoughtful teacher will take time to reflect and adapt, or even redo a concept from scratch in those cases. Often, if I am caught on the spot and realise things are not going well, I actually discuss it with the students, take a pause, a deep breath, and ‘rewind’ dramatically with a sound effect - and start over. 

This ‘imprinting’ also happens to me in training sessions sometimes.

I can feel it when I’ve presented something in an order that isn’t conducive to maximum learning impact.

So yes. The first impression can make or break things. 

What counts more to me, though, is probably the in between: did you make an effort to evolve from that first, oh-so-important impression - whether it was good or bad? I think often that is the most important thing of all. 

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