Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Changing the Way I Teach

boringIn You are boring. What are you going to do about it? From Blogush, Paul Bogush 

“So what are you going to do about it?  Tomorrow just stop.  Stop and look out at your kids.  For the daring amongst you ask your kids…”Am I boring?”  For the daring but not brave, ask your kids to answer the question anonymously on a piece of paper.   For the daring but not ready to make it personal yet amongst you…ask them the question but make it about your lesson or unit.  For those of you who are just curious but not ready to talk about it with your kids…just pause long enough to look at the expression on  each kids face.  Are those the faces you imagined on your kids when you started teaching?  Based on what you see, based on what your hear or read from them…what’s your plan?”

I remember taking a class in public speaking in high school and even in college. I hated it! In fact, I don’t know many people who liked it. Public speaking is hard and scary.

Sometimes I get so involved in my lesson that I forget about my audience. Have you ever told a hilarious joke and then look around and see that no one else gets it? Sometimes I get so excited about my lesson that when I’m done, I look around and no one else is excited like I am. What I am hoping for is that students will pick up my excitement and feel excited about the lesson too.

Sometimes I over practice a lesson and it loses its thrill. Then I teach the lesson and I’m bored before I even get started. Students can pick up these feelings and if I am bored, they will start off being bored.

I need to remember to look at my student’s faces and their body language as I am teaching the lesson. When I see that they are bored or misbehaving, I need to ask questions and check for their understanding. Maybe I’m going to slow and I need to pick up the pace. Maybe I think they don’t understand a concept and I’m over explaining it because they already understand that part. Maybe I’m going too fast and they don’t understand it so I need to slow down. The important thing is that I need to pay attention to my student’s reactions.

I might need to change the activities because I am talking too much and I need to have the students be more interactive. Or maybe there is too much group work and the students are overstimulated and need more direction.

There are no magic solutions to this. The key is for me to gauge my lesson according to how the students are responding to my lesson. If they are bored, I can’t necessarily change their behavior but I can change my own. I can change the way I teach and try to make it more interesting.

What do you do when you think students are bored? Please share.

Image: 'Day 2 - Boring'
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