Educating the youth is perhaps one of the most important and crucial tasks that the older generations must undertake. Giving the tools and teaching the students of today the ways to solve problems, think creatively, and discover new knowledge is so essential to the advancement of not only our society but the human race as well. Today’s youth will become the next leaders in politics, the next business people shaping the world’s economy, the next doctors and scientists solving the problems of the human race and the world. Taking the time to further understand the process of learning, how to foster students in the classroom to help them reach their full potential is never ending.
For a teacher, the success of their students should be their number one priority. However, each student may measure success in the classroom differently. Some students may strive for the best grades, while others may view success as increasing their involvement or improving their grades. However the success is measured, it is up to the teachers to finding out and focusing on how to help their students achieve it.
There is always something more that can be done, techniques that can be improved upon, approaches to help those that think a bit differently understand, there is always something that can be improved upon when it comes to teaching. Below are some strategies and ideas that can be implemented in the classroom to help your students achieve even more. Take what you want, leave what you don’t, there is no one right way to teach today’s youth, but the failure comes from not continuing to grow as a teacher yourself, not from letting yourself down but your current and future students.
Strategies and Ideas to Help Your Students Achieve Even More:
High Expectations– the essential aspect of setting high expectations for your students is that they are high enough that they have to strive and work for but not impossible. Expectations that are unreasonable or impossible for your students to achieve will lead to frustration, discouragement, and failure of reaching the goals. However, well thought out and high expectations can push students to achieve more than they thought they could. Your students will rise to the occasion.
Effective Classroom Procedures– creating and implementing structured routines and procedures for how your daily classes will run can go a long way in keeping your students focused. By laying out the structure of your class, you will minimize the time between switching activities and eliminate any possible disruptive issues that can cause students to lose focus. Here are five tips to help keep your classes structured and flowing:
- Start on time and on point- just losing a few minutes each day can add up fast. So always be prepared to have your students start right on time.
- Create a restroom system- asking to use the restroom can be disrupting to the flow of teaching, so have a system that will cause the least amount of disruption.
- Questions- always encourage students to ask questions, but at the appropriate times.
- Homework- choose and enforce a specific method for when homework is due each class and how it will be collected or turned in. Allowing students the flexibility to turn in when they feel like can cause distractions during your class.
- Ending class- wrap up each class with a review of the main points of the class, handing out the homework and giving a layout of what the next class will include. Also, include some time to answer questions that may have been unanswered. Finishing each class up efficiently is just as important as starting on time and on point.
Continue Your Education– students are not the only ones who should continue to learn and grow. Continuing your education, as a teacher, is crucial to new research, ideas and strategies are discovered and developed to help increase the efficiency of teaching. Take classes, seminars and attend conferences during the summer to further develop yourself as a teacher. Online forums, workshops, and professional journals are all great ways to stay up to date with the latest information (including scheduling software). Investing in your techniques, your knowledge, and yourself will directly impact your students in an incredible way.
Adapt Your Techniques– perhaps one of the hardest aspects of teaching is figuring out how each student learns best. There is no universal cookie cutter method to teach or have each and every student learn the exact same way. Find ways to incorporate different teaching methods into each lesson. Ask your students for feedback on what parts of the lessons they found most helpful, and you shouldn’t wait for the grades to show who learned what material. Teaching should be a give and take situation in the classroom so let your students help you help them more.
Transparency About What is needed to Succeed– explaining to your students exactly what you expect out of them and what they should expect from themselves in order to succeed in your classroom should start on day one. You should layout a syllabus that contains your grading policies, what your tests will cover and big assignments during the year. Your students should know exactly how they would be graded on every assignment. Rubrics and grading sheets help clarify this issue. Giving your students the tools to succeed is your job as a teacher, whether it is teaching the material, helping them learn ways to learn or just by laying out clear expectations of what is expected of them for grading.
Believe in Your Students Ability to Succeed– as a teacher, you should truly believe in each of your students’ ability to succeed and believe that they will. It may be hard, even frustrating at times trying to teach students that don’t seem to care. However, it can be a vicious cycle because students can sense when a teacher has written them off or given up on them. You should care about each and every student, and do everything in your power to help him or her succeed, that is ultimately the reason you became a teacher.
Express Your Passion For Teaching– your enthusiasm and passion for teaching should be contagious. Your students should feed off of your energy and passion, be engaging, be exciting, and create an environment that fosters a passion for learning. Your students can read your body language and tell by the tone of your voice if you really care to be there or not. If you don’t want to be there, how can you expect them to want to be and learn from you?
Mutual Respect– this can be a difficult concept to handle at times. Being a teacher, you are in a position of power and authority inside your classroom and school. You must expect a level of respect from all of your students that go hand in hand with you respecting your students. You must show respect to gain respect, and this will go a long way in the relationships you develop with your students. This doesn’t mean be their friend because they have friends in the classroom, but be their teacher, not a bully or authoritative figure. Mutual respect in the classroom will help create an inspiring learning atmosphere.
Beyond the Comfort Level– retouching along the lines of high expectations, getting students comfortable with performing beyond their comfort level is crucial to help them reach their full potential. Give them work that encourages them to use high-level critical thinking, assignments that require them to use outside-of-the-box thinking and allow them a workload that you know they can handle. Teaching them how to handle things that may seem uncomfortable at first but are achievable will give them confidence. They will develop a confidence that will grow as they face and conquer new problems not only in school but in life as well. Teaching them to look at problems in different ways, pushing them past their comfort zone, and knowing they have the tools and skills to solve bigger problems will be rewarding to not only your students but to you as a teacher as well.
Active Engagement– as teachers, you all have sat through countless boring lectures in college where it was a struggle to stay awake not to mention try to pay attention and learn. Remember those lectures for when you are teaching. Sometimes there is no alternative for some material than to lecture and give notes, but make sure you are always striving for ways that your students can engage in your lessons. Incorporate discussions or active learning exercises. When you find ways to have your students participate, they will learn more and engagement can increase passion for their learning.
Focus on the Writing– becoming a proficient writer early on in school will not only help students with the rest of their schooling but in life after their education is done. Writing promotes critical thinking, develops language skills, and an intellectual curiosity and should be incorporated heavily in all their work. Research papers, lab reports, interpretative and analytical essays, journals and many more types of assignments can be given to help students develop their writing skills. Even encouraging them to take notes during class will help them learn the material along with their writing skills. Students should not only learn to write and write proficiently, but they also should be writing to learn as well.
Analyze the Data– just like routine feedback from your students can be extremely helpful, the data (test and homework scores, writing grades, standardized test scores) can be just as useful. Look at the areas each student excels in and the ones they struggle in. The data does not lie, so use it to your advantage by adapting your teaching to help each student perform better. Also, let your students know exactly where they are after each assignment, this goes along with the transparency discussed earlier. Your students should not be kept in the dark about how they are performing in your class because it is always better to address an area of weakness early on rather than waiting until it becomes difficult or impossible to correct. Acknowledging your students’ good work also is important. Letting them know they have done a good job will encourage them to continue the hard work and effort they have been giving because who doesn’t love some acknowledgment for their hard work?
The importance of Time Management– students of all ages can greatly benefit by developing efficient time management skills. Whether it is time management for their homework at night mixed with sports or other after school activities, for standardized tests, or for long-term assignments, students should learn how to prioritize their tasks based upon importance and time necessary to complete them. Ways to help promote this include:
- Assignment sheets
- Calendars- laying out long-term projects and assignments can actually help students keep them in mind and work on them a little at a time.
- Student Planners- geared more towards daily and weekly assignments encourage students to write down everything at the beginning of the week that they need to do and to add new items as they come up. Not only will this help with forgetting assignments but also help students plan their daily and weekly schedules.
These skills will not only be helpful and crucial as the students enter college, but also in jobs that they will hold during or after college.
Teach Students How to Learn– you can present the material to your students in many different ways until you’re blue in the face, but you can only do so much to help them learn it. You, as a teacher, must teach your students how to learn in general. Perhaps one of the main reasons students struggle when getting to college is that all through their prior education, they were given a step-by-step curriculum that basically is spoon fed to them along the way. College requires students to learn on their own after the professor presents the material, a lot more responsibility is put upon the student. Early on, students should be taught how to self-regulate their learning, set academic goals and a plan to reach them, and ability to learn from their mistakes and weaknesses. Teaching them how to learn may be just as important, if not more important, than what they learn specifically from your class.
Another important aspect that can significantly improve the success of your students and all the students of the school where you work is an efficient academic advising office. Many times the advisors and counselors are severely outnumbered and faced with too many tasks to complete in the hours during a day. If you think that your school’s advising office could benefit from some help, let AppointmentPlus streamline the process by managing student appointments, classroom scheduling, and record keeping. Visit www.appointment-plus.com for more information on how AppointmentPlus’s appointment scheduling software and classroom scheduling software can help!