FEATURES FOR TEACHERS
Features For New Teachers
Volume 4, Issue 11
|StarTeaching Store||Advertise with us||Previous Articles||Submit an Article||FREE Reports||Feature Writers||New Teacher's Niche||Tech Center|
Reflecting upon my teaching always provides me with many dimensions of learning. It helps me to improve and overcome my weaknesses. When I entered the field of teaching, I was an amateur. I had many questions in mind. Will the students accept me? Am I really creative enough to bring about changes in the teaching profession? For a couple of months, I was in denial - I did not accept criticism, and thought myself as the best teacher! But I wasn’t. I learned gradually that without reflecting on my teaching practices, it wouldn’t have been possible to improve. As time passed, I started reflecting upon my teaching. This was actually a transformation process and it taught me how to be a reflective teacher.
During eight years of secular and religious teaching, I came across many challenges. I accepted these and they’ve served as a real evaluation tool for analyzing my teaching growth.
Here I’m sharing two students’ examples whose lives were changed because of my little effort.
On the first day of my teaching at the Religious Centre to class 1, I came across a slow learner child. While I was teaching, he distracted the attention of the others. He started patting his book on other students. When I asked questions, he gave blank stares back. For a few days, I avoided him. The more I avoided him, the more he misbehaved. I called his parents. When his parents told me that he was a slow learner, I felt ashamed how I ignored him on the basis of his behavior. That event changed my life. At that time, I decided to carry on learning about his problem. I read books and developed different activities and designed easy lessons. I also gave him extra time. I used activity based methods of teaching. At the end of a year, he was able to learn few things. However, the Headmaster decided to fail him. Being a responsible teacher, I decided that rather than de-motivating the child, we should appreciate him for learning something. He was shifted to class two. After few years of repetition, he was promoted to class three, where fortunately, I was given a chance to be his teacher again. His mother was guided by the Headmaster to send him to a Special School. Being a responsible teacher, I denied this and provided him with “Adaptive Behavior Skill” testing, which I learnt during my Master Trainer in special education, identifying him as a slow learner, not a disabled child.
During class 3, I involved this student more in class activities. He was allowed to sit wherever he wanted to sit in class. I also taught him basic skills. His parents were happy with my efforts. At the end of the year, he learned a few things. But again, his gradual learning and improvement in behavior was an achievement.
While teaching him, I observed his interest in graphics, so I told his parents about it. Wherever possible, I've raised my voice to keep him in the centre, continuing to learn. I feel it’s important to cater to such children, for there will be many more like him who’ll need the attention of the teacher and the Centre. We as a team can make a difference in their lives. This is something which hopefully will be understood in years to come with more awareness of children with special needs.
The tool of appreciation and extra attention brought a change in this student's life. Today, I’m happy - he’s studying in the REC gradually, and working as a graphic helper with his dad.
I believe that every child can learn, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Accepting challenges and demonstrating confidence to bring change is the sign of a reflective practitioner.
A child may be aggressive toward his teacher or to his classmates. Such behavior may be due to his not receiving due attention at home. When he comes to find a free life at school, he behaves like an animal released from a chain.
I also dealt with an aggressive student. He had an arrogant attitude. Once, I gave him a sheet of paper to draw picture; he tore the paper and told me that he wasn’t a kid. Many times, I discouraged him, even when he wanted to share anything. Once I taught students that no one can become the master of all. He told me that he’s a master. I calmly denied his sayings. The very next day, he brought a chair made of old wooden box. I was sure he hadn’t made it. But when he told me the steps for assembly, I was astounded. It was my mistake to de-motivate him. I should’ve encouraged him rather than discouraging him. I realized that if we are to criticize, it should be done constructively. We should appreciate children to share rather than taping their lips.
“Children are like a pot of flowers. If you'll give them proper attention, they'll grow up properly; but if you'll give them a lack of attention or extreme care, they’ll be destroyed.”
This time, I tried a tool of encouragement. I asked for friendship. He taught all the students how to make different things. Whenever he brought anything, I showed him appreciation. Gradually, I learned about his talents of music and painting, among others. Currently, he’s in grade 7. His vision is to be a scientist. Just a little appreciation and parent counseling brought a great change in him. Today, he has proven to be a brilliant gem.
Today, I’m happy to call myself a reflective teacher whose objective is to mold children ethically, to nurture them, to explore their creativity, and to cater to the needs of children with special needs.
There are many great, hard-working teachers who are trying to do the best for their students. But all of us (teachers) need to ask ourselves one question. Are we preparing our students for their future, or our past?
You may wonder what I mean by that statement. Let
me explain. For most of the 20th century, classrooms were run throughout
Towards the end of the 20th century, things began to change. Industry moved out of the country, and the economy became global in nature. Technology changed the way we live and continues to change it at an increasingly faster pace. Communication happens instantly. No longer are we in our little local world. The skills that were important before are no longer needed because those jobs have gone elsewhere. We have a whole new set of skills that students need. As I've talked about before, skills such as collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking are major parts of this new skill set.
What do we need to do to make this change? Something I haven't seen in my 22 years of teaching. We need to start discussing pedagogy. Pedagogy is the art or science of teaching. Constantly we are bombarded with assessment, or aligning the curriculum in this atmosphere of No Child Left Untested. But other than assessment, do we take a look at our teaching methods and how they relate to today's students learning styles? Because of the multi-media atmosphere our students live in today they learn differently. Their brains are being rewired to a more visual and tactile way of learning. We grew up in an age of auditory learning. So are we meeting the needs of our students if we continue to teach the way we were taught? The answer is a resounding NO!!!
Think about this statement: Sometimes we don't know what we don't know. The more I think about this the more I see how relevant it is in so many situations. How can I change if I don't know I should? Do we ever talk much about the art of teaching and I'll add, learning? It's time that whenever we talk about curriculum we need to talk about pedagogy. Teaching and learning isn't about just turning the page in your textbook. I think sometimes we are too reliant on the textbook and that is why we don't think or talk about what good pedagogy looks like. Ask your students - they'll tell you how they like to learn. I've gotten more insight into learning when I started to talk to my students. They have become the teacher at times.
The problem is it's summer, and the students aren't around. What should
you do next? You can start by going to http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/
. They have many resources available. Set up an iGoogle account and add
Google Reader. Then find blogs like 2¢
jukes, Weblogg-ed, Blue
Skunk Blog, and others. Sign up on a social networking
site for educators where discussion of pedagogy is common place such as http://www.classroom20.com/.
This will get you started in a new world of thinking. Since summer is
here, it's a great time to learn and prepare for the fall.
The problem is it's summer, and the students aren't around. What should you do next? You can start by going to http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/ . They have many resources available. Set up an iGoogle account and add Google Reader. Then find blogs like 2¢ Worth, ian jukes, Weblogg-ed, Blue Skunk Blog, and others. Sign up on a social networking site for educators where discussion of pedagogy is common place such as http://www.classroom20.com/. This will get you started in a new world of thinking. Since summer is here, it's a great time to learn and prepare for the fall.
Service learning is a method of teaching, learning and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service, frequently youth service, throughout the community. As a teaching methodology, it falls under the category of experiential education. More specifically, it integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities.
Service-learning combines experiential learning and community service opportunities.
It can be distinguished in the following ways:
Curricular connections- Integrating learning into a service project is key to successful service learning. Academic ties should be clear and build upon existing disciplinary skills.
Student voice - Beyond being actively engaged in the project itself, students have the opportunity to select, design, implement, and evaluate their service activity, encouraging relevancy and sustained interest. In community settings, this is alternatively called youth voice.
Reflection - Structured opportunities are created to think, talk, and write about the service experience. The balance of reflection and action allows a student to be constantly aware of the impact of their work.
Community partnerships - Partnerships with community agencies are used to identify genuine needs, provide mentorship, and contribute assets towards completing a project. In a successful partnership, both sides will give to and benefit from the project. In order for this partnership to be successful, clear guides must be implemented as to how often a student engages in service to a particular community agency.
Authentic community needs – Local community members or service recipients are involved in determining the significance and depth of the service activities involved.
Assessment - Well structured assessment instruments with constructive feedback through reflection provide valuable information regarding the positive 'reciprocal learning' and serving outcomes for sustainability and replication.
SQ3R is an instructional strategy for improving reading
comprehension. It is an acronym for Survey, Question, Read, Recite,
Review. Each of these activities focuses on a technique integral to the
reading process. The uses in the language arts seem rather obvious, but
SQ3R is great for other areas too. This can be used in social studies
classes when reading through a new section of the textbook. Science
teachers use it to kick off new units and in new labs. Math teachers can
even use it to teach students to take notes from their books.
Possibilities are endless.
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use
immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our
writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm
Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be
plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the
following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
See more of our Freebies as well as Special Reports on our website by clicking the quick link below:
Make sure to BOOKMARK our website so you can keep up with more changes and additions through the year. And feel free to share our site by EMAILING it to a friend.
In This Week's Issue
Don’t be just a Guest! Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, delivered right to your inbox! FREE tips, ideas, and articles.
imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
THE PLACE FOR ALL TEACHERS!
Do you have a great TEACHING TIP or ACTIVITY to share?
Are you using an innovative TECHNIQUE in your class?
Have you created WRITING PROMPTS that you’d like to add to our WEEKLY CALENDAR?
We welcome, and are always looking for teachers to share successes, stories, and ideas with our readers.
Submit an article to this newsletter by emailing:
Orclick the following link:
All articles will be proofread, and may be edited for content and/or length.
10 days of writing prompts
Are there other teachers in your district who would enjoy this FREE newsletter delivered to them bi-weekly?
YOU could qualify for FREE offers when referring others.
Click the quick link below for more information:
Are you interested in advertising with us?
Preparing for Student Teaching
Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum
Getting Ready for Next Year
Setting Up Your Classroom
(Affiliated with Amazon.com)
Website design by Carrie's Creations Inc. ©2005