Saturday, April 30, 2011

Teaching 1 oh one

I come from a family of teachers. Everyone teaches or has taught for a substantial period. Those who do not teach professionally are homeschoolers. I gathered a bit of advice for possible application in my upcoming teaching assignment.

Course planning:
  • Clearly and deliberately state your objectives for each class.
  • For each concept, plan out exercises students will do to master that concept.
  • Prior to teaching a concept, decide how you will evaluate students on their understanding of that concept.
Classroom fundamentals:
  • Do a brief review at the beginning of each class.
  • Make the students work during class -- don't just talk to them. Force them to daydream on-topic, using the Fancy Tricks below.
  • Expect unanticipated issues and thoughts to occur at any time.
The teacher-student relationship:
  • Especially with compulsory education, there’s no use lamenting which students are in the class ...
  • ... if your students are spoiled rich kids who don’t really care about the course work, just do your best to bring out their best. You are the professional in the room, so be adaptive, flexible, innovative, and don’t expect the students to be.
  • Let them know who you are--a tidbit to open each week (or even each day). On Mondays I show a "photo from my weekend." But don't be their friend. And don't friend them.
  • Learn about your students, and give them chances to teach you.
Fancy tricks:
  • Give prizes. The more outlandish, the better.
  • Make name cards and use them to call on people. Shuffle them daily so no one knows when they'll be called on. Turn to the next card BEFORE asking a question, but don't say the student's name until after asking the question. Students hate this; it's great for teachers.

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