Ever wondered if there were a few simple things your classroom was missing? Ever felt like your students just will not listen?
Here is a small collection of tips and tricks that may just make your class that little bit calmer, quieter, or harder working.
1. Don’t get loud
Straight out of the Bill Roger’s little book of calm. If your students are being loud, you be quiet. If they are angry, you be calm. If they are frustrated, you be patient. Many of our students are in desperate need of calm and quiet spaces. Make your classes peaceful, and watch the students relax into their learning.
2. Be consistent.
Consistency is key. No matter how big or small a student’s actions may be, make sure you follow it up. This works for both positive and negative behaviours too. A shy student is courageous enough to be a part of the class discussion? Congratulate their efforts. Your Year 8 class start a chair hurling competition? They get held back. Whatever the behaviour and rules you put in place, stick to them like glue.
3. No waffle.
Short, sharp, succinct instructions and descriptions. High school is not University. Make your instructions clear and precise, and get the activities underway the second you are done.
4. Roll with it.
Teachers must be improvisers. Maybe the sports carnival is on and you have half your class away. Or the printer is broken, or none of the laptops are charged. Maybe it’s just windy. Be flexible, work with what you’ve got, and just keep swimming.
5. Ask Questions
Asking students questions instead of telling them answers is a far more effective way of teaching. Challenge strong students with critical thinking questions. Check your students followed the instruction with a quick refresher question. Student X doesn’t know? Ask student Y, then come back and ask student X again. For more tips, read this book:
Lemov, Doug. Teach Like A Champion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
6. Laugh it off.
Even when they really push your buttons or get on your nerves, please remember they are children and that’s their job. Your job is to take the naughtiness and laugh it off. It literally never helps to get angry in class. Save that for when you get back to your desk.
7. Set the highest expectations.
Just don’t ever pitch your lessons down. Holding the whole group to the highest levels of respect, behaviour, and work ethic, allows them to strive for something and challenge themselves. This is NOT the same as making the work incomprehensibly hard. Rather, expect their best work regardless the skill and content, and they will know you believe they can do well.
Pretty self explanatory. Give them the time of day, and listen to their ideas, thoughts and questions, and respect in the classroom will grow. Ignore them, and it won’t take long for them to return the favour.
9. Don’t bring an agenda.
Don’t turn up telling your students how to think and feel and behave. Arrogance aside, by insisting on how they should think you are limiting their potential perspectives. Find ways to challenge and extend their boundaries by all means, just don’t try and make them think like you.