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Archive for the ‘Teachers and Students’ Category

What Should Be the Relationship Between Teachers and Students?

Posted by teacher on March 12, 2015

Classroom by definition is a place where students meet to study the same subject. A teacher, who took a leadership role in leading discussions and getting students to be involved in learning the subject taught, controlled this environment at one time. Now a days, the role of a teacher in a classroom environment has been reversed. Students are allowed to take the leadership role in creating and leading discussions. Just as roles of the teacher and a student have changed in a classroom over the years, so have the relationships between a student and a teacher. Many years ago, as we have read and heard, student teacher relationships have been very formal, distant, and the teacher’s judgement was accepted.

The relationship between student and teacher can vary depending on many characteristics. Since everyone has a different background and a different character, it is almost difficult to say how a teacher should relate to a student or vice versa.Student teacher relationship should be professional, yet not so professional that students fear to approach. Teacher, student relationship should be formal, yet inviting. Teacher student relationship should definitely not be judgmental, and it should allow the teacher on her or his part to take time to get to know the student.

To be formal is to be respectful and follow the established rules of college or a school. This does not include the customs and the strict fashion that once used to be the case. There should be mutual understanding of what is required from the student or the teacher in order to complete the course in a successful, understanding manner.What also needs to be taken into consideration is the attitude of educators toward students who come from various backgrounds and vice versa. It is not appropriate for a teacher to turn to students and demean them for pursuing a goal that is unusual from their point of view.

Getting to the last statement on the issue of student teacher relationships, it would be appropriate to say that teachers or professors should not be judgmental or negative because this certainly does not portray a positive image of educators or students for that matter. We have come a long way in this country where we have learned from researching the many ways a student learns or that behavior does not determine what a student can achieve academically.

10 ways to get students respect

Posted by teacher on March 2, 2015

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1. Respect your students.

Don’t talk down to students. Model mutual respect. Don’t have double standards. Give what you’d like to get back. Know every child’s story and treat each as an individual. Cater for different learning preferences, strengths and weaknesses.

2. Have a class agreement, not top-down rules.

Ask what helps them learn and what hinders learning. Use that as a basis for establishing an essential agreement as to how the class will run and what behaviours will be evident. Have everyone sign it. Put it up on the wall. Refer to it constantly.

3. Be part of the learning community.

Don’t be the boss of learning. Encourage kids to take ownership of their learning. Be an inquirer too. Don’t pretend to know all the answers. Learn with and from your students. Divide your groups in a variety of random ways, so that everyone learns to work with different people.

4. Acknowledge their physical needs.

Allow students to drink water and even to eat if they hungry. Don’t try and control when they go to the toilet. (If your classes are engaging, they will only go when they need to.) Provide opportunities for standing up and moving around during learning.

5. Be fair and reasonable.

Don’t show favoritism. Expect everyone to stick to the agreement. Don’t allow put-downs between students. Accept legitimate excuses and even some that might not be. If the homework comes a day late because they had something else to do, it’s not the end of the world.

6. Have a sense of humour.

Laugh with your students but never at them. Laugh at yourself. Show firm disapproval if they laugh at each other. Don’t take school too seriously. Take learning seriously. But make learning fun too.

7. Provide a secure learning space.

Provide opportunities for risk-taking in learning. Create a safe environment where learners don’t fear failure. Be supportive of creative thinking and new ways of doing things. Make every student feel validated.

8. Be sincere.

Talk to students in a normal tone, irrespective of their age. Students see through adults who aren’t sincere very quickly. Don’t pretend. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Show that you care… but only if you do. (If you don’t, why are you a teacher?)

9. Be human.

Acknowledge when you’re in the wrong. Apologise when you make a mistake. Admit you’re impatient because you’re tired today.

10. Let go.

Don’t be in charge of every situation. Ask yourself ‘Is it important?‘ before you react. Don’t make all the decisions. Provide opportunities for choice. Show that you value initiative above compliance.

Teacher Retirement Poems – A Lasting Legacy Imprinting Forever

Posted by teacher on February 27, 2015

Teacher, role model, mentor  and friend
Ever present you have touched the lives of so many.
Always encouraging, always dignified and always a presence,
Challenging us all to reach higher and to strive further …
Honoring the ideal to work hard and play straight.
Endless hours preparing, supporting,  motivating,  guiding
You, the  catalyst  for so many young people actualizing their dreams!

Remember you ? We always will.
Emulating your example – a goal worth  aspiring to.
And so today we say goodbye and thank you …

 
In the years that lie ahead …
Recall us fondly,
Embrace the exciting challenges that await you,
Make the most of each day – a lesson you taught so well to so many.

 
Finally, embrace the knowledge that you,
 have left a lasting legacy,
you have shaped and molded brilliant minds,
you have guided  compassionate  souls and generous spirits …
All of whom will create the cornerstones of the tomorrows still to come.

7 Leadership Skills Fostered in Arts Education

Posted by teacher on February 25, 2015

Here are seven ways that working in the arts can give students the skills to become great leaders:

1. Creativity

While this might appear to be the most obvious skill, we should remind ourselves that creativity is not just about expression and aesthetics, but also about problem solving. While other disciplines encourage creative solutions to solving problems, the arts seek to find solutions beyond our consensual understanding of the problem, pushing against the margins of what might be provable. Artists are pioneers of inventing and testing out new ideas and sensibilities. This quality makes for ideal leadership.

2. Risk Taking

If we expect our students to be truly creative and seek out those new ideas and sensibilities, we must encourage and reward taking risks. One of the most rewarding outcomes of teaching students in the arts is that it gives them the ability and the confidence to do things that are new and unorthodox. Peer pressure doesn’t go away when one becomes an adult. Great leaders, when necessary, will go against the mainstream in terms of thinking, and take the chances of having their ideas and actions ridiculed or criticized.

The arts attract students who are often marginalized because they have already experienced the challenge of being rejected or shunned. They have gone through the storm and have less fear about being different and embracing new ideas.

3. Learning to Be Yourself

One of the great challenges of being a leader is, as the saying goes, “It’s lonely at the top.” Students who are nurtured through the arts must ultimately turn inward and know themselves, face their demons, and ultimately discover their own potential. While we celebrate collaboration and group effort, those approaches are more successful if each person in the collaboration has gone through the solitary process of self-reflection and gaining self-knowledge.

It is easier to make a decision that might not be popular if leaders are willing to take risks and stand on their own and this is often the very definition of an artist.

4. Understanding the Power of Myth and Symbols

In art classes, we encourage students to work with icons, shapes, and archetypes, giving them the ability to understand how these images affect human culture. Great leaders have an understanding of how myths and symbols shape our understanding of a complex idea or sensibility that is hard to otherwise express.

This ability to tap into myth and symbology is always powerful and often poetic and beautiful as Martin Luther King, Jr. showed us. Artists, poets, and musicians have a strong sense of what moves and shapes us, and being able to tap into this can be powerful for student leaders to learn and master.

5. Observational Skills

Great leaders have the ability to be aware of moods, attitudes, and the world around them. In arts education, we encourage our students to be keen observers. Also, it’s often the case that students who are drawn to the arts are introverted yet also skilled observers. It is imperative for teachers to nurture this gift of observation and further develop it in students when necessary. We must also be able to identify, develop, and productively channel the role of the quiet influencer that our most observant students often play.

6. Project Planning

Project planning is the most pragmatic of the skills taught in arts education. Students are encouraged to consider and commit to projects that might not see fruition until weeks or sometimes months later. In addition to utilizing strategies such as backward design, goal setting, and implementing an effective process, project-planning skills develop character and fortitude in our students who know that they are in it for the long haul.

7. Collaboration and Appropriation

While no other discipline prizes originality more than the arts, our discipline knows that referencing and emulating those who have mastered their craft is part of the learning process. Learning from those who came before you also lends itself to learning and working with those around you. The idea of plagiarism or “copying” becomes less an issue, and students learn that what separates “I” from “you” is blurred if not illusory. This ability to see oneself in others, to learn and work with others, is key to understanding leadership and a skill that we should continue to encourage and build upon in our classrooms.

What lies in the heart of a great teacher?

Posted by teacher on February 20, 2015

You are kind: a great teacher shows kindness to students, colleagues, parents and those around her/him. It truly changes the environment in the classroom and school. Being a kind teacher helps students feel welcomed, cared for and loved.

You are compassionate: Teaching is a very humanistic profession, and compassion is the utmost feeling of understanding, and showing others you are concerned about them. A compassionate teacher models that characteristic to the students with her/his actions, and as a result students will be more open to understanding the world around them.

You are empathetic: Empathy is such an important trait to have and to try to develop in ourselves and our students. Being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective can have such a powerful impact on our decisions and actions.

You are positive: Being a positive person, is not an easy task. Being a positive teacher is even harder when we’re always met with problems with very limited solutions. However, staying positive when it’s tough can have such a tremendous positive impact on the students and everyone around us. Looking on the bright side always seems to help make things better.

You are a builder: A great teacher bridges gaps and builds relationships, friendships, and a community. Teachers always look to make things better and improve things in and outside of the classroom. Building a community is something a great teacher seeks to do in the classroom and extends that to the entire school and its community.

You inspire: Everyone looks at a great teacher and they want to be a better teacher, they want to be a better student, even better, they want to be a better person. A great teacher uncovers hidden treasures, possibilities and magic right before everyone’s eyes.

5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students

Posted by teacher on February 18, 2015

Many would agree that for inquiry to be alive and well in a classroom that, amongst other things, the teacher needs to be expert at asking strategic questions, and not only asking well-designed ones, but ones that will also lead students to questions of their own.

#1. What do you think?
This question interrupts us from telling too much. There is a place for direct instruction where we give students information yet we need to always strive to balance this with plenty of opportunities for students to make sense of and apply that new information using their schemata and understanding.

#2. Why do you think that?
After students share what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking.

#3. How do you know this?
When this question is asked, students can make connections to their ideas and thoughts with things they’ve experienced, read, and have seen.

#4. Can you tell me more?
This question can inspire students to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas.

#5. What questions do you still have?
This allows students to offer up questions they have about the information, ideas or the evidence.

In addition to routinely and relentlessly asking your students questions, be sure to provide time for them to think. What’s best here, three seconds, five, or seven? Depending on their age, the depth of the material, and their comfort level, this think time will vary. Just push yourself to stay silent and wait for those hands to go up.

Also be sure to vary your tone so it genuinely sounds like a question and not a statement. When we say something in a declarative way, it is often with one tone and flat sounding. On the other hand, there is a lilt in our voice when we are inquiring and questioning.

To help student feel more comfortable and confident with answering questions and asking ones of their own, you can use this method: Ask a question, pause, and then invite students to “turn and talk” with a neighbor first before sharing out with the whole group. This allows all to have their voices heard and also gives them a chance to practice their responses before sharing in front of the whole class.

Language development in the classroom

Posted by teacher on February 3, 2015

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One of the major ways to support language development is your language interaction with students.

Checklist of steps that teachers can take to enhance language development in the classroom:

Physically

  • Organise the room to emphasise open space.
  • Define learning areas clearly.
  • Use classroom displays that invite children to comment.
  • Make book- and literacy-specific areas available.

Audibly

  • Manage background noise levels and ensure children and adults are able to hear each other easily.
  • Manage transition times so that children know what to expect next and noise levels don’t become excessive.

Visually

  • Provide good light.
  • Label most learning resources and materials with pictures and/or words.
  • Label learning areas with words and/or pictures.
  • Provide less visually distracting quiet or private areas for children to retreat to for down time or small group activities.
  • Display and appropriately label children’s work.

With play

  • Provide resources for free play that children can see and reach easily.
  • Have a role play area available.
  • Include imaginative role play in outdoor play.
  • Make good quality toys and real/natural resources available.
  • Make musical instruments and noisemakers available.

With books and stories

  • Have a range of books that are appropriate to the children’s experiences and interests available in a dedicated book area.
  • Ensure books on children’s interests or special topics are available in other learning areas.

What should an Efficient Assessment Design contain ?

Posted by teacher on January 31, 2015

ASSESSMENT IN SCHOOLS

Assessments in schools have changed definition over the last couple of decades. Changes in the world around us and the skills and knowledge essential to succeed in this world have consequently changed the learning design and teaching methodologies in schools. This has in turn necessitated assessment strategies that keep in mind the relationship between assessment of functional skills of children and its implementation in academic instruction. The new world today expects more out of children than just the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. They are expected to acquire skills to access, interpret, think critically, analyze, and use information for making decisions, make inferences and be prepared to take on the challenges of “real-life”.

An efficient Assessment Design must:

1. Involve teachers, parents, and students at each stage of the process.
2. Match assessments to the purposes for assessment.
3. Match assessments to instructional content and student performance goals.
4. Review and revise specific outcomes that are grade-level and subject-specific and are important for students to learn.
5. Help develop realistic and individualized learning goals and standards for students.
6. Keep in mind that the primary goal is to study how children acquire grade-level skills and what strategies best enhance that process rather than measure performance for accountability purposes.

Simplify Fractions

Posted by teacher on January 22, 2015

Struggling with simplifying fractions ? Using this trick. Below you can see how it works :

FACTOR-RAINBOW

There is a rainbow for both the numerator and the denominator.The rainbows always start with 1 and the number itself on the first arch. Then each arch underneath progresses with the next largest factor. With the 15 rainbow, 2 was not a factor, so we skipped to 3. Three and 5 are factor pairs. We could then try the factor of 4, but the only other number that could be a factor would be 4 itself. We know 4 x 4 is 16, so that won’t make 15. Then we could move on to a factor of 5, but we know that 5 has already been used. When the factors repeat in the rainbow, then we know we have found all of the factors. To simplify fractions, circle the largest common number in both rainbows (GCF) and divide both the numerator and denominator by the largest common factor.

Increasing student interaction

Posted by teacher on January 20, 2015

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Most teachers have experienced classes in which student interaction has been more limited than they would like, with students becoming reticent when asked to ‘talk to your partner about’.

Why student to student interaction is desirable :

Participation

Most people agree that learning anything involves participation. You can’t learn to play a musical instrument without actually picking up the instrument and similarly it is difficult to learn a language without engaging with that language. Given that language primarily exists to facilitate communication, interaction in that language must have an important role to play in developing a learner’s ability in that language. In other words, teachers need to promote learner interaction in order to help the learners succeed.

Maximising practice time

Learners need to practise as much as possible if they are to be successful. Interaction through pair and group work maximises the opportunities to practise as more learners speak for more of the time.

Collaboration

Collaborative learning, particularly through the use of collaborative tasks, has been shown to foster language development since learners can see a reason to use language in order to interact.

Socialisation

Related to the concept of collaboration is that of socialisation. Interaction does not only promote language development but it also fosters the development of social skills (e.g. politeness, respect for others) that people need to operate successfully in any culture.

Motivation

Motivation is a fundamental aspect of successful learning. Interaction gives learners the opportunity to use language successfully and to measure their progress which in turn should lead to an increase in motivation.

Problems faced when trying to increase interaction :

Student Resistance

It is unfortunately true that some learners are not enthusiastic about pair and group work, particularly in mono-lingual classes in which it is a little unnatural to communicate to someone who speaks your language in a language you are both less proficient in!

Self-consciousness

Many learners become very nervous and embarrassed when asked to speak English.

Large classes

While theoretically the more students there are in a class the more possibilities for interaction there should be, this is not the case in practice. The more learners there are, the more difficult developing interaction can be since there are more people to monitor and, therefore, more chances of problems

Mixed abilities

Pairing and grouping students appropriately in classes that have a wide variety of levels (e.g. secondary schools) is much more difficult than in small classes of a homogenous level.

Lack of motivation

If learners have no need to interact or don’t want to, they probably won’t.

Insufficient language

Perhaps the most common reason for interaction in English breaking down, or indeed not starting in the first place, is that the students don’t have the language they need to interact and, therefore, complete the task successfully.






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