Teachers pour their souls into their work and are always looking for ways to do better. We discuss important things that all teachers could do to help their students reach their full potential.
Success looks very different from one class to another, from one student to another. But for a teacher, there is nothing better than the ‘penny-drop moment’. The instant a teacher sees the student’s learning epiphany, the moment that they ‘get it’ after trying their hardest and for so long too.
Teachers will often strive to make learning in the classroom environment more successful, better and more accessible. But how do teachers do this?
1. Do something different – the Daily Fives
Teachers will try different things to keep their students interested and motivated to learn. We learn on the edge of our comfort zone and so, as a teacher, making sure that their students are faced with new but obtainable challenges is key.
However, the familiarity of routine shouldn’t be completely dismissed which is why the Daily Fives is becoming part of the overall learning day and its structure.
‘Getting ready to learn’ is now seen as something more than just turning up to class. This is a strategy that teachers from primary to secondary, college to university courses can emulate and, as a home or online study student, you too can try this.
The first five minutes of the day or learning session start in the same way with students getting everything they need in place for the learning ahead and the last five minutes of every session is spent putting everything away.
Simple but effective.
2. Set high but achievable expectations
An academic environment usually comes with expectations but it is easy to set lower standards, assuming that this gives students a sense of achievement.
But studies have shown the opposite to be true and so, by setting high expectations that are achievable, the sense of satisfaction and achievement is genuine and tangible.
But there needs to be plenty of praise along the way.
3. Vary how you teach
Most teachers and tutors have a set curriculum, very much like the course materials a home study student receives. It is an outline with a detailed plan of the subject matter and topics to be covered.
The curriculum and course material will have objectives that by the time the course ends, students will be able to showcase a certain set of skills and so on. These objectives are then narrowed down into units or lessons.
But the beauty is, the class teacher can vary how they deliver the subject matter as the method of delivery is not always prescribed.
Not everyone prescribes to the idea of learning styles but there is no doubt that varying delivery so that students learn visually, kinesthetically and auditorily keeps students interested.
So far, we have concentrated on the skill of teaching and classroom delivery but there is no denying the importance of collaboration.
No one can teach in isolation and yet, by default, this is what happens in the busy world of education. When a teacher is not in the classroom, they are marking and achieving targets set outside of the skill of teaching.
And then there is a school to administer and develop so that students and their families want to send them to such a great school…
Just like business owners say that working ON your business is just as important as working IN it, being a teacher means collaborating and working with fellow teachers in your own school and beyond.
5. Grow your profession
The world of education is often used as a political football, a yardstick for success or failure of educational policies.
Under pressure, it is easy to feel beleaguered and belittled but developing your profession is key to continued success.
For many teachers, this means continuing their professional development. And there are many ways of doing this.
Some teachers become specialist in their fields, whilst other take a pastoral path. Children and young people, as well as adult students, enter the classroom with a range of personal and private issues.
These issues drive the way we act and thus, many teachers deploy a certain amount of psychology in how they work with students. Continuing to develop this side of their teaching practice with educational psychology courses online is not unheard of.
Doing something different, expectations, varying delivery, collaborating with other teachers and professionals, and continuing their own learning are just five ideas teachers can use to expand their teaching practice. What ideas do you have?
As a teacher, everything you do in the classroom has an unprecedented ripple effect, including your general attitude. This article discusses how a teacher’s lack or abundance of motivation affects their students.
Think back to your school or college days: think of one teacher who inspired and enthralled you, and another that didn’t – why was this? What were the differences? As well as sharing a passion not just for their subject but for learning, one key difference was their motivation. Excellent teachers are fuelled by their passion for student learning. This often grows through the effort it takes to become a qualified teacher, whether that be through a traditional university route, or by starting off with an online teaching course. As a teacher or teaching assistant, you are now in the position to pass on vital skills and knowledge to your students.
An excellent teacher fuels the natural curiosity to learn that is in us all. But why is motivation important?
Motivation is key to a successful classroom whether it is a class full of primary school children or a workshop in a college setting.
A motivated teacher has a different outlook that one who is simply ‘going through the motions’.
Motivation is what energises, directs and sustains positive behaviour in the classroom. It means creating challenging goals alongside activities and tasks that help a student or class reach these dizzying heights.
Sparking the desire to explore and to learn, a motivated teacher doesn’t necessarily mean someone who bounces around the classroom with unfettered energy. It isn’t about being popular, either.
In considering motivation and teachers, we need to think back to the two examples we started with.
What kind of learning environment did the good teacher create? And what kind of environment did the not-so-good teacher create? Was this experience particular to you or was it shared by the whole class?
The truth is, you may have found some lessons and a certain teacher boring, but the person sat next to you found it interesting and seemed to do well.
A motivated teacher is one who personalises and individualises learning. And to do so, they create a learning environment in which they value and respect each individual learner.
There is a saying – try to teach a goldfish to climb and it will spend the rest of its life thinking it is stupid – and this is what underlies the teaching methods of a teacher motivated to help ALL their students to learn.
Teaching is not a personality contest BUT, personality and likability do play a part in fostering a successful learning environment.
Teacher training today looks at every aspect and every minute of the lesson, from the greeting at the door of the classroom, to the respect within the four walls of the learning space, to how a lesson is ended.
It is also about a teacher interacting with students outside of the classroom when they engage with students in the hallways, the canteen, the schoolyard and other areas of the school or college.
When a student feels a personal connection with a teacher, they engage better. More importantly, they want to engage with someone they see and feel as liking them but valuing and respecting them too.
What makes a good teacher is a combination of all kinds of factors, principles, skills and more than a dash of personality;
Motivation has long been studied by modern and ancient scholars. What do you think it is? What motivates you to learn and to teach?