Posted in classroom management, communication, lesson ideas, teaching

Dynamics of the New Classroom

Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.

– Henry Ford

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In some parts of the world the classes have just begun and here we still have time to prepare ourselves for the coming year. We all have some tricks to begin the new term, some fun ideas to make students eager to start or motivate the unmotivated. Some of us will teach new classes, some of us will continue with the same students.

We all know that although we teach the same class for many years, each term will have its own dynamics as the individuals will be completely different from each other. Thus the techniques that worked last year may not be useful this year.

In short as a teacher you will have a new group to turn into willing learners. You have to have new tactics to handle the new situation.

If the relationship between you and your new group is good, things will be easier. Maybe it will be a good idea to start with some trust forming activities.

Not only the relationship between you and the class decides the success of the teaching and learning process, but the relationship between the peers will also be a very important factor. The students should learn to trust each other. They should also learn to accept the differences that they have, they should learn to respect each other.

When we consider all these things, we can see that teaching grammar or mathematics is the easiest part of our job. We, as teachers, should find ways to communicate with our students. We should find ways to lead them to become individuals who are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

When the classroom is a place where all the students trust and respect each other and when they don’t bully the weaker ones, it will be easier for the teacher to help the students to move one step further.

legoblocks

An activity to teach why we should listen to each other:

Prepare role cards for A and B

On A cards write:

You have just won a scholarship and you are very enthusiastic about it. You know your life will be very different from now on and you want to talk about it with your friend.

On B cards write:

Your friend is very enthusiastic and she wants you to listen to her but don’t listen. Try to distract her, avoid eye contact, interrupt and say something else. Whenever she tries to come to the subject, do something to make your friend understand that you are not interested.

This activity usually works well and student As tell their friends how frustrating it is to see their friends not listening to them,while they are trying to tell something enthusiastically.

10yd3

A boat doesn’t go forward if each one is rowing their own way.
Swahili proverb

Some sites for ideas:

Drama Games

Kim’s Korner For Teacher Talk

Team Building Activities for Teens

Group Games

Team Building in the classroom

Posted in communication, dialogue, discussion, project, speaking

Skyping Discussions

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image from here

I’m thinking about a new challenge. This year thanks to twitter and my PLN, I and my students experienced wonderful things. We had global projects and skype chats now I’m thinking to move it one step further.

Sometimes we organise debates in the class. I thought maybe we could do it using skype but then I realised we would need judges and a winner team so I gave up with this idea. Now I’m thinking to find classes for my classes to discuss a given topic.

They can read and research and then we can talk about it. 5 students for each class, a student can have maximum 90 seconds. Student As sit face to face, one of them speaks and then the other. Then they leave the seats to student Bs.At the end of each session each class writes a report and prepares a post activity on the topic using one of the web 2.0 tools.

I know we have a curriculum but may be we can arrange a discussion at the beginning of each month. This can give them a chance to chat with other teenagers and I strongly belive that these types of activities will boost their confidence.

My students will be grade 10,11 and 12. They are intermediate to upper-intermediate. Let’s think about the topics before September.

We can start a wiki and add the recordings and explanations there.

Would you like to join me? Please RT this post and drop me a line here.

Posted in classroom management, communication, rapport, teaching

Communication In Class

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.
Socrates

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Well, We all know that if a kid doesn’t like the teacher, he stops learning or if a kid trusts his teacher, he starts to do something for the lesson. Parents also know that sometimes their kids misbehave because they think their parents ignore them. So every act in a class or at home can be a hint for the teacher or the parent to evaluate themselves and change certain things.

Rapport is defined as ‘a good understanding of someone and an ability to communicate well with them’ (Cambridge Dictionary online) Communiaction is a mutual thing. If we move one step further, the other person will need to move too. If we move 2 steps further, he will at least move one step towards us.

As a teacher or a parent, we should find ways to build rapport or establish good communication with the kids.

This shouldn’t mean getting approval or being liked or becoming the most popular teacher in the school. You can be cool, trendy but the relationship between you and your students can be so artificial. A good relaship between you and your students can be the result of certain things which were done to gain confidence. If the student understands the teacher cares for him, he surely will  try to change himself.

How to establish good relationship with your students:

praise

First impressions are important. Even at a workshop, seminar or a performance, we always remember the beginning and the ending. Thus, from the first day you meet your students everything you do counts.

We can keep the followings in mind before we prepare ourselves for our classes:

  • Explain yourself.  Let them know they will have limits- if they know your rules, they will play the game according to the rules.
  • Encourage your students
  • Motivate and support them when needed.
  • Praise them -even we need praise and we feel unhappy when we don’t get it.
  • Be prepared and well-planned (they see the difference very well)
  • Be enthusiastic about teaching- enthusiasm is infectious,
  • Respect them, listen to them- if they understand you regard them as a human-being, they will feel they are also important.
  • Behave each student equally- all of them learn at different speeds and all of them have different learning styles. Read more to learn more.
  • Make eye-contact and learn their names from the very first day of the class.
  • Smile as much as possible, be cheerful and energetic
  • Be creative and enhance their creativity
  • Bring the world to the classroom.
  • Do something enjoyable at any level of the lesson – a warmer, filler or a game…

I’m not a teacher: only a fellow-traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead — ahead of myself as well as you.
 -George Bernard Shaw