Teaching is like dancing. The teacher should try and create harmony with his students. It’s not easy to get your students excited about learning. Most of them would rather be doing something else than sitting in a classroom. It’s not easy for the teacher because he has to find a way to relate with every student.
Here are a few things I’ve learned from dancing with many students.
Find out what students like. What are they interested in? What are their hobbies? What music do they like? Don’t just accept answers from them like, “I like playing football” or “I like k-pop”. Dig deep and get detailed answers from your students. Learn about your students. Build lessons around those things to keep them motivated.
Try a change a scenery. Take them out of the classroom. Try a field trip to a beach or a park. Play some silly games with them. These games don’t have to be about what you’re teaching them. For example, a race where you have to hold a spoon in your mouth with an egg balanced on it. When the games are done, have them sit in a circle. Have a discussion topic or questions ready. Give them a list of words they can use to talk about a given topic. Ask your students to speak with two sentences or more. Get them to ask follow up questions. Students tend to keep quiet when they have to speak a second language. They’ll talk more if it’s something they like to talk about.
Build a relationship with your students. It’s important. It takes time. Learn the names of your students. If you’re always telling them to be quiet or sit down in the class, that’s not good. A little discipline is ok. Try rewarding good behavior and ignoring the bad. If they’re rowdy, it might mean that they’re bored, not engaged in the lesson or not paying attention to you. Talk to your students like a friend. Don’t talk to them like a teacher talking to a student.
The attitude of the teacher is crucial to a harmonious classroom environment. It’s up to the teacher to set the mood of the class. If the students are bored, scared or stressed it will be very difficult to get them to participate in the lesson (and to learn). Try to think of quick “mood changer” games or short activities that you can do at the beginning of the lesson to lighten the mood to get everyone comfortable and relaxed. Showing a short funny video (Mr. Bean, Pixar shorts, Tom & Jerry) can relax your students. If the teacher is having fun and relaxed, the students will have fun and be relaxed (and learn more).
Most students are afraid of asking questions in the classroom. They’re afraid the teacher might think they are stupid or they’re classmates might laugh at them. At the beginning of the lesson, tell them it’s good to ask questions. You have to repeat this over many lessons so it sticks. You could even put a sign up in the classroom that says, “questions make me happy”.
Teaching isn’t just about transferring facts from one person to another. It’s about creating harmony between the teacher and the students.
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