Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Starting Point

Where do I start?

I was asked to rank these in importance and explain why: Planning, discipline, methods, evaluation.

Discipline should be the first thing to work on. Once you have your students in order, you can teach them anything. If they learn the classroom procedures and your rules, you will be able to work with individual students in order to find out what their needs are. You will not be wasting time dealing with classroom behavior.

Evaluation comes next because you need to know what the students' needs are. Your evaluation can be through formal or informal techniques. I first determine what skills are important for a student to know and see if they are proficient in them. This can be done by making a test asking sample questions for each skill. You need to decide how many the student needs to answer correctly in order to be considered proficient. Another informal survey that I take, which I feel is very important, is to ask a student what the best way he/she learns new material. You need to find out if the student is a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic-tactile learner so you can plan your lessons to be most effective.

From your evaluation you would need to plan the best way to teach the necessary skills. Once you determine your goals and objectives, coming up with alternate assignments can be interesting and fun. I sometimes asked the students for suggestions of projects. If they feel they have some input, they tend to put more effort into the final results.

Once you have your plan, it is time to think of the methods you will use. Realistically, you will not be able to do all your lessons the same way because it would be impossible to accommodate all of the students at the same time but it is important for them to see that you are willing to try. Teach lessons using a variety of techniques so that you touch all different learning styles. You can offer choices so students can choose the assignment that best meets their needs.

You might say that all of this takes a lot of time, but if you put the time in, you will be more effective in the classroom.

1 comment:

Joel said...

Good stuff there! I look forward to reading more from your blog.