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Features For New Teachers
Volume 7, Issue 14
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"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." (William Ward)
For an ordinary person, a teacher is a person who teaches students, but for students, the role of a teacher is far beyond our expectations. A teacher is a role model for many children. They imitate their teachers and many a times share all those things which they can’t even express in front of their parents.
When I joined the profession of teaching a decade ago, I had no idea about this field; but as time passed, I realized that this field has given more than what I had expected. But this field demands love, care, sympathy, understanding, and above all, a good relationship with students.
It's truly said “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 lack of attention or extreme care, they’ll be destroyed.” (Munir Moosa Sewani, 2006).
A teacher is a very important person in every student’s life. Understanding the needs of students is a challenging task for teachers. That trust can only be built if there is a good relationship between a teacher and a student. Research was conducted and 50 students were asked the question: what is the one line, which comes to your mind for your teachers? (Research conducted by Munir Moosa in March, 2007) Few of the responses are given below: I am fed up of my teachers because of their stupid threats! My teachers always support us and they always think good for us. They are really concerned about our future.
I am sure that sir (name undisclosed) was given severe punishments during his childhood. Now he has become mental and throwing tantrums on us. My teacher always insults me in front of all the students. I want to kill my teacher one. I love my teachers because I truly feel comfortable in taking their views in solving my personal problems.
These are some of the statements commented by students. What makes them say all that is something, which is to be assessed by us. Despite reading so many articles, news headlines, laws, etc., some teachers love to be staunch all the time. But a challenging teacher begins his/her teaching career by building understanding with their students.
During my 4th year of teaching, one of my students of class 3 said the following words to me “Sir, mayray daddy smoke kartay hai- mujhay bohat ganda lagta hai lekin woh kisi ki nahi suntay aur mummy ko be maartay hai isi liye may bohat darr jata hu. Aap please daddy ko bolo woh aap ki baat maan lay gay.” (Sir, my dad is a smoker and I dislike his habit of smoking, but he never listens to any one and always hit my mom, that’s why, I often feel insecure. Please talk to my dad; he will surely listen to you). I was deeply touched when the first time student started trusting me. That trust was based on student-teacher relationship. Students start trusting you if you are sincere to them. Days are gone when a staunch teacher was considered as the best one. Today, students need a good teacher not a villain; they need to learn rather than listening to dictating lectures; they need a friendly teacher rather than a strict one.
The relationship of a teacher and student is very sensitive. Once it is built with a positive gesture, a teacher can expect good outcomes of teaching.
According to a research review co-authored by Christi Bergin and David Bergin at the University of Missouri, students with positive attachments to their professors and institutions display higher grades and higher standardized test scores. Moreover, research was conducted in which the results concluded that children are more comfortable with their teachers than their friends, only if teachers are sincere to them. We all are teachers in some way or the other, but how many of us have achieved the level of satisfaction, is the question we need to ask ourselves. I would appreciate the readers to read the story provided below:
Once, a new child got an admission in my class. He just shifted to Pakistan from Afghanistan. When all the students saw him, they started hitting him, and made faces as if they did not like him. Few of the students even complained to me about his dirty clothes, while the others made lame excuses because they did not want to sit with him. One of the brilliant students of my class complained, "Munir Sir, this boy smells horrible. He is so shabby! I don't want to sit with him at any cost." At that time, an idea clicked to my mind to solve this dispute. The very next day, when I entered the class, that innocent Afghan student was sitting at the back, while other students were making fun of him.
One of the students, who were just sitting beside me, informed me that my socks were torn. Another student looked at my shirt and informed me that my shirt sleeves were torn. (Actually, I was already aware of that, but pretended as if, I had no idea). I replied, "Oh! I didn't know that; what should I do now? I think it's better for me to leave the class because I have worn tattered shirt and socks, and it's my presumption that you all would not allow me to be in your class in such a scruffy way."
One of the students exclaimed, "So what if your shirt sleeves and socks are torn. You
must not leave the class at any cost. We don't want any other teacher to teach us."
Another student exclaimed, "Hey! I have an idea. Let me ask the section head if she can
arrange a safety pin for you?" At that time, I sparkled and replied, "My dear students, you
all know that I have worn torn clothes, then why have you all requested me to be in your
class?” One student responded, "You are our beloved teacher, and we don't want you to
leave the class because you are the best teacher and we have no problem with your torn
The above story clearly reflects student-teacher relationship. If your students trust you, then the teaching can be performed successfully.
Here are some tips for teachers to have better relationships with their students. Few of the advices, I would like to give to the teachers are:
* Always love your students and care them like your own children.
* Respect your students and never hurt them in front of other students.
* Avoid corporal punishment; that will only left scars in their minds.
* Take your students for outing with the permission of your school so that students can feel cozy with you.
* Become a good counselor and provide them your valuable suggestions, whenever necessary.
* Mother Theresa beautifully quoted “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless. So be kind to your students.
* If the student fails to learn, the teacher fails to teach." –Therefore, we must look into our pockets rather blaming children for any failure.
* A sincere teacher does not look for one who performs the appearance of work. It means that appreciates student’s efforts and never let them down. If they do not perform well, help them to learn it and try to find the reasons behind it.
* Student-teacher relationship must be healthy, based on cooperation, mutual understanding with little bits of strictness.
* Never discourage students in sharing their ideas. Let them speak and give their views without any discrimination.
* Always be natural and express yourself without any hesitant.
* Give them chance to write on their own. Don’t ever try to showcase your skills. A sign of a good teacher is appreciating children efforts rather making them promoting rote learning.
* Know each an individual child’s capabilities and abilities and explore their creativity.
* Give them time to relax in class.
* If they regularly feel bored when you teach, try to arrange educational activity for them as an alternative resource to complete your curriculum.
* Give them incentives or reward when they perform good work. The reward could be a gift, star, stamp or just a good verbal slogan like Bravo! Keep it up! This positive gesture is required especially in primary classes.
* Try to teach according to the psychology of the students.
* Always remember that children are very sensitive, so treat them with gentle love.
* They notice each and every thing- from our dress to our gestures, so always be prepared for every thing.
Children usually ask us many questions and sometimes we don't know the answer to some questions. At that moment, just try to be loyal and tell your students that you'll search it and will tell them tomorrow or day after. In this way you'll not only gain trust and confidence, there will also be a strong bond of relationship on both sides.
Be a role model for your students not only by wearing extremely nice apparel, but also through your positive attitude and knowledge.
If any student makes any mistake in their copy, don’t punish them to re-write. That is the worst solution for a teacher. Look at your mistake because it is the teacher’s fault if a child does any mistake.
The tips will surely help all the teachers to build a stronger relationship with their students.
Have we ever thought about the question, ‘What is the purpose of the classroom observation?" If it is an informal visit to a classroom, or if we are guests and want to see the classes, or we are donors and want to investigate the infrastructure, etc., then certainly we would get in and out very quickly. But if we are teachers and are engaged in a process of learning, then our response would be entirely different.
it is first agreed between observer and the observee then there are also
other points to be determined. For instance, whether the teacher
initiated the process of observation by suggesting his/her name
voluntarily, or it is enforced on him/her? Does s/he willingly
accept the visitor in the classroom? Then s/he must have thought about
both positive and negative (improvement) areas to be highlighted by the
visitor or observer. Thus all would be based upon the mature relations
with each other, the purpose of the observation, and it would enable us
to determine the outcome of the observation.
In my professional career as teacher and then teacher educator, I have had many opportunities to be observed and then observe others. Many times it was institutional policy, control and enforcement, but there were quite a few times when new teachers invited me to become their critical partners. Furthermore it was to suggest to them how to be more effective in various aspects such as handling of content knowledge, pedagogical skills, time and resource management, classroom management, etc.
there are many other informal ways to provide feedback to teachers for
· Sharing opinions in an informal ways projecting oneself at his/her place using structure like, “If I was at your place, I would have…..’.
· Invite him/her for observation of my own or another teacher’s class and discuss wanted and unwanted behavior and its impact on students learning
·Audio or video recording of the taught lesson could be analyzed either individually
(there s/he get more time to reflect) or together
· Engage him/her in an open discussion on taught plan and its execution plan, etc.
and/or peer coaching could be another way to invite comments
Taking down observation notes is a skill that matures with time in the life of a teacher or teacher educator. In my career I have seen myself growing in that skill; initially I used to take down what is good or bad inthe lesson, then gradually I noted down how the objective/s of the lesson are achieved. In the later years as teacher educator, I started observing a lesson with two major themes focusing on ‘What was the teaching saying?’ and ‘What were students saying?" Then I fine tuned my own observation by linking teachers’ instructions, explanation, and discussion points with students’ learning and outcome. I used to highlight my analysis (positive and areas to be improved) about each lesson.
Classroom observation and feedback process becomes demoralizing when the element of force directs the process, when the mutual coordination and trust building seems impossible due to misunderstanding. This culture creates a bossy attitude among the observers which cause humiliation and lack of trust, and eventually fosters hatred, jealousy, and unwillingness to work. To avoid such a condition where colleagues would play ruler and subordinate role, it is necessary to understand and practice a diversity of perspectives; to respect other ideas and avoid unnecessary impositions on a fresh teacher; rather it is suggested to inspire them by modeling one’s role appropriately when unconsciously s/he learns and adapt where necessary.
Teaching leads to inspiring other young peopleand adults. It is a voluntary process and no one can dumb his/her ideas on others’ heads; thus it is suggested to keep this (classroom observation and giving feedback) process lively when both the partners show willingness to share and create new knowledge.
Further it is suggested to create a friendly bond between observer and observee by co-planning and peer coaching. As one cannot be perfect in knowledge, it is therefore important to remind all those who are TEACHER EDUCATORS to become nurturing and not be perfectionists; And above all, avoid creating model of imposition and enforcement.
This topic has been hotly debated recently in the International Reading Association newsletter. I'm not trying to enter this debate. This article will simply describe what we in our school have observed and detail what we've done in our classes that has worked for our students.
First off, let your students choose what they read, whether it is a
book, magazine, or whatever. It makes a huge difference in peaking their
interest. Teachers already give (and require) plenty of specific
readings through activities, literature, and in textbooks.
Students need the opportunity to read about what interests them, and
this can occur when you allow them to choose what they want to read.
By all means, continue with your regular activities, but find a way to
give your students time (in class is best) to read on their own.
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This is part one of a three part look at what teaching is all about.
Everyday, as teachers, we work hard to have students learn material and
acquire skills they will need in the future. Along the way, we attempt
to see if they understand the material by asking questions of individual
students, or giving them a quiz. This is called formative assessment.
From this type of assessment we make decisions how to proceed with the
material. In the end we may give a final test to measure their final
understanding of the material. This final form of measurement is called
Everyday, as teachers, we work hard to have students learn material and acquire skills they will need in the future. Along the way, we attempt to see if they understand the material by asking questions of individual students, or giving them a quiz. This is called formative assessment. From this type of assessment we make decisions how to proceed with the material. In the end we may give a final test to measure their final understanding of the material. This final form of measurement is called summative assessment.
What is this formative and summative assessment about, you may ask?
Giving final tests have been around forever (summative assessment).
Asking questions of the students isn’t new either (formative
assessment). But what have you done with the answers the students gave?
Did they help in guiding where you were going with the material? Did it
help you assess the success of your teaching strategies? Let’s look a
little deeper at this.
What is this formative and summative assessment about, you may ask? Giving final tests have been around forever (summative assessment). Asking questions of the students isn’t new either (formative assessment). But what have you done with the answers the students gave? Did they help in guiding where you were going with the material? Did it help you assess the success of your teaching strategies? Let’s look a little deeper at this.
What is your motivation in teaching the curriculum, or skills, that you,
as a teacher, are expected to present within your subject matter or
grade level? Is your motivation to get through the material and
hopefully the students will get it, or is it to teach for mastery? If
I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material I have to teach in a
year, I’m going to teach in a way that gets me through the material.
Is this what we are called to do? Do you know, at any point in time,
where each individual student is in their comprehension of the subject
matter or skills? What is
your motivation for giving worksheets or answering questions on paper?
Is it to just get a grade or practice the skill? Or should there be
more? I know these are
heavy questions, but we, as professionals, should be asking them each
time we teach. Today’s 21st century teacher is being called
upon to raise the bar, but do we know how?
What is your motivation in teaching the curriculum, or skills, that you, as a teacher, are expected to present within your subject matter or grade level? Is your motivation to get through the material and hopefully the students will get it, or is it to teach for mastery? If I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material I have to teach in a year, I’m going to teach in a way that gets me through the material. Is this what we are called to do? Do you know, at any point in time, where each individual student is in their comprehension of the subject matter or skills? What is your motivation for giving worksheets or answering questions on paper? Is it to just get a grade or practice the skill? Or should there be more? I know these are heavy questions, but we, as professionals, should be asking them each time we teach. Today’s 21st century teacher is being called upon to raise the bar, but do we know how?
If you notice, I haven’t mentioned No Child Left Behind, until now. As
frustrated as we get with the way this concept is being carried out, the
idea isn’t bad. How many students have been dropped through the cracks
over the years because of how we approached teaching? How many times
have we been frustrated because students act like they have never seen
the material, even though we know the previous teacher had taught it? It
is time we start looking at out teaching strategies and ask ourselves if
this is working. We need to be willing to talk with other teachers about
what we are doing in the classroom and sharing among ourselves what has
worked and what hasn’t. From this dialogue we can make adjustments to
our strategies so that all students can be successful in some way.
If you notice, I haven’t mentioned No Child Left Behind, until now. As frustrated as we get with the way this concept is being carried out, the idea isn’t bad. How many students have been dropped through the cracks over the years because of how we approached teaching? How many times have we been frustrated because students act like they have never seen the material, even though we know the previous teacher had taught it? It is time we start looking at out teaching strategies and ask ourselves if this is working. We need to be willing to talk with other teachers about what we are doing in the classroom and sharing among ourselves what has worked and what hasn’t. From this dialogue we can make adjustments to our strategies so that all students can be successful in some way.
Now, I know I haven’t addressed formative and summative assessment. I
haven’t dealt with the many questions I brought up and the motivation
behind our teaching. This first part was to get you thinking. In the
next part I will address these questions. So think about it.
Now, I know I haven’t addressed formative and summative assessment. I haven’t dealt with the many questions I brought up and the motivation behind our teaching. This first part was to get you thinking. In the next part I will address these questions. So think about it.
Concrete examples and hands-on activities must be part of the economics curriculum. Vocabulary also must be learned in terms of a middle school students’ world. And, give our young consumers credit. They know quite a lot about money, choices and the way a free market system works. They just don’t know they know it because of the vocabulary! That’s our job as educators to take what they recognize, help them translate it into accepted econ vocab and principles, and apply it to economics to situations they observe or experience in society. Now that TRULY sounds like a daunting task!!
I choose to start with vocabulary. My students like to hear “things” to do as we started with a workbook. As we read through our economics workbook, all the italicized (economic) words went on the word bank list, with definitions, of course.
The word bank
eventually evolved into flashcards. Now it’s an activity kids really
like. We stay each other, review or quiz each other, all the while
sorting flashcards from the “don’t know” to the “know that”
piles. Flash card review is an activity before a test, when they finish
something and are waiting for everyone else to get done, or as a fun
game to end the class period. Using the vocab word in their own sentence
checks for understanding. Can they use their sentence, deleting the econ
vocab word, and have their partner figure out the word? Can they give an
example for each word? Practice as a single proprietor, in a
partnership, or in a (class-size) corporation.
Single-sex education is the practice of conducting education where male and female students attend separate classes or in separate buildings or schools. The practice was predominant before the mid-twentieth century, particularly in secondary education and higher education. Single-sex education is often advocated on the basis of tradition, as well as religious or cultural values. It is practiced in many parts of the world. A number of studies starting in the 1990s are showing statistical data that children from single-sex schools are outperforming students from coeducational schools, although some studies also say that these are non-conclusive. In 2002, because of these studies and bipartisan support, the US law of 1972 was revoked and funding was given in support of the single-sex option. There are now associations of parents who are advocating for single-sex education.
The practitioners of single sex school state that boys and girls learn differently. The brain is a sexed organ. There are significant differences between male and female brains.
On the other hand, intersexuals and trans gendered individuals would defeat the purpose of single-sex education, as they would not be one or the other.
Critics of the single sex education argue that without the presence of the opposite sex, students are denied a learning environment representative of real life. This deprives them of the opportunity to develop skills for interaction with peers of all genders in their work environment and fosters ignorance and prejudice towards the other gender.
However, the defenders argue that socialization is not the same as putting together, but is a matter of educating in habits such as respect, generosity, fairness, loyalty, courtesy, etc. And this can be done with more success knowing the distinct tendencies of boys and girls.
Defenders also state that there are more teenage pregnancies and sexual harassment cases in coeducational schools. Catholics usually refer to teachings of Pope Pius XI in 1929. He wrote an encyclical entitled "Christian Education of Youth" where he addressed the topic of coeducation. He said: "False also and harmful to Christian education is the so-called method "co-education." This too, by many of its supporters is founded upon naturalism and the denial of original sin.
See more in part 3 of this series, coming soon!
Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word
game in the world. However, according to George Elliott of the American
Crossword Puzzle Tournament,
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Common advice from knowledgeable horse trainers includes the adage, "If the horse you're riding dies, get off."
Seems simple enough doesn't it? Yet in education we don't always follow that advice. Instead, we often choose from an array of other alternatives which include:
Will we ever learn?
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