Teachers Can They Be Taught

TeachersIf you are at all interested in education, you have no doubt wondered about the best ways of educating children. How do some educators receive remarkable results with students, while others do not? Is there some special secret? Method? What do these teachers, educators, do that make them so successful? And, why do others fail to garner results?

Some have attempted to “bottle” the methods of successful teachers by documenting their practices, movements, the words they use, their stances, positioning in the classroom, and interactions with students. They have written books, which have become bestsellers, guaranteeing that simply by practicing these techniques, anyone can become a master teacher.

It’s teachable. Transferrable. Has nothing to do with luck. Or, innate skill.

Yet, observations in classrooms of people attempting to mimic the style of highly effective teachers reveal minimum, if any, success. Novices are not becoming master teachers. People with years of experience in classrooms have not suddenly begun to push the needle on what students are able to do. It just isn’t happening.

In fact, more people entering the teaching profession have become disillusioned with their jobs. Breakdowns in classrooms and during professional development trainings, where staff are asked to practice techniques in front of coworkers pretending to be students, are more common than optimal results.

It is rarely said aloud, but the truth is effective teaching is not something that can just be duplicated, borrowed, or adapted. And achieving results like those of skilled teachers is not something that can just be rehearsed and replicated. You either have it or you don’t.

So, what is the “it” that talented teachers have? What is “it” that the rest are missing?

Passion. A desire to do good. A longing to promote and be a part of ensuring equity in education and society. Participating in the work necessary to give all children the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential. Right?

Maybe.

But, of all the highly effective teachers I have met, spoken to, and know, not one wakes up in the morning; hangs student work on their bulletins; stays late tutoring; meets students during the weekend to study; repeats, rephrases, and reteaches; yells at, hugs, gets frustrated; cry when they graduate; cry when they don’t; are on a first name basis with every and any family member; and questions whether they gave their best that minute, hour, day, week, month, and year, because they are driven by a mantra.

No.

When asked, it’s the faces of the students. It’s what they know about the children seated in their classroom and what those students are capable of, scared of, and yet to conceive, that compels them. It is the potential they see in every child. It’s that they care.

That caring transcends philosophies. It is how their methods were formed. They don’t scan their classrooms because they practiced hawking students to catch one not following directions. No. They look into the faces of each one of their children because they need to know whether or not their kids get it. Because in that moment, when confusion and self-doubt sets in, they know it’s time to reset, reteach, to use props, different materials, explain it in another way, to do anything, until “I got it!” registers on every child’s face.

Can technique be rehearsed? Are the methods lifted off of talented teachers and compiled in books able to be transferred? Is there any benefit to practice?

Of course.

Practice is helpful – necessary, even. It is just not enough. Practice comes secondary to the why. And there are many why’s. Whatever the why, when genuine and combined with practice, amazing teachers emerge.

Better Management Of The Education Sector

Management Of The Education SectorDuring the process of admissions, the parents need to be more vigilant. There might be false claims to attract more students. Such gimmicks include false number of results, other achievements, infrastructural details, quality of the residential premises, etc. In other words, the parents are required to check the background, achievements, reliability, reputation, etc very carefully. The employers major concern might be to enhance their profits. They might be in the process of expansion of their institutions. The parents have rights to get all the relevant data. They can even visit the classrooms, observe the teaching, hostel, and other promises made by the management.

Some educational institutions seem to be not adhering strictly to the rules related to the accounts management. Their fee structure has not been checked by the government officials strictly. In other words, the regulatory mechanism does not work properly. The parents need to think whether the high fee needs to be paid. In other words, is the institution worth the money paid. The quality of education imparted to their children, the infrastructure, qualifications of teachers, their quality, management of the non-teaching staff, etc should be the concerns for the parents.

There are also reports that some educational institutions do not check the quality of the teachers strictly. The mere checking of the certificates of the aspiring teachers may not be the right way. Some faculty members knowledge levels do not match the expected standards. Two or more rounds of oral testing, written examinations, demonstrations, might go a long way in selecting the teachers.

The conduction of examinations too needs some constructive remedies. The purpose of examinations is to find out the level of understanding or depth of the knowledge of the students. Hence, there is also need to change the methodology of teaching too. Such transformations would ultimately lead to the over all development of the student community. Work shops, seminars, science fairs, educational tours, other practical methods, would be of immense help.

Rules and regulations of the institutions should also be framed according to the wishes of the students and the parents. For instance, the sudden ban of mobile phones on the campuses is responsible for wide spread protests by students and also the parents. There should be consensus on several controversial issues to avoid violence. Similar protests might occur due to the unilateral decisions by some of the institutions.

The institutions cannot violate the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.

Tips to Encourage Positive Behavior in Classrooms

Positive Behavior in ClassroomsOne of the profound challenges that teachers face these days is – classroom behavior. Disruptive behavior results in lost teaching time and un-conducive learning environment. The key to nipping behavioral problems in the bud; is to create a positive environment in classroom.

There are a lot of ways and means to encourage positive behavior in classrooms, but, to begin with – laying a good foundation in pupils is the most important aspect.

Here are some tips and guidelines to bring about positive behavior amongst students.

Perseverance

This is one of the most important regimen which a teacher can deploy to bring about order, discipline and attentiveness in a class. A teacher should resist from conducting a class until there is complete order restored. Persistence is one of the fundamental and effective tools, which a teacher can use to get the class to behave.

Expectations

Students should ideally live up to the expectations of teachers. It is the duty of the teachers to ensure that students behave in a manner appropriate and conducive to learning. Teachers should avoid getting angry at irresponsible or reprehensible behavior of students. Instead, teachers should exude a compassionate outlook to bring about behavioral changes in students.

Consistency

It is the duty and moral obligation of every teacher to recognize, understand and address behavioral problems in students. This has to be done on a consistent and gradual basis. Change cannot be brought about overnight. So, the efforts should be concerted, consistent and focused. Students may find the regimen to be rigorous, but, teachers should be consistent in their efforts to bring about positive change in students.

Visualization

Teachers should have the acumen to envisage teaching challenges that they may encounter in an unruly classroom. Visualizing these challenges and bottlenecks will help the teachers in dealing with unruly students successfully.

Boundaries

Teachers should define a boundary line for every class at the outset. Students should be clear on what areas they can tread and what areas they cannot. Drawing up an analogy to a box, teachers should clearly define what goes inside a box and what should stay outside.

Encourage

A word of appreciation can do wonders. Instead of expressing disappointment, despair or resentment, teachers should try to appreciate good behavior in a class. This can have a positive effect on students who tend to behave badly in a class.

Respect

Respect is a reciprocal phenomenon. To earn respect, teachers should learn to treat students with respect, compassion and dignity.

Choices

Teachers should always provide students with choice. It is incumbent on the students to make the right choice. If students happen to make a bad or wrong choice, they should be prepared to face the consequence of the wrong choice. Likewise, a good choice should be duly appreciated and rewarded.

Voice

Teachers should learn to control the tone and tenor of their voice when they conduct a classroom. The tonal quality of a teacher’s voice can determine how students react or respond. If the voice is calm and soothing, students tend to respond positively. On the other hand, if the voice is harsh, then students are likely to turn repulsive,

Humor

Humor should be an integral part of our lives. We should be courageous enough to admit and laugh at our mistakes. This can act as a counterbalance when you are left facing with an annoying situation.

It is not possible to have a disciplined teaching and learning environment always. It is one thing for the students to know about the rules and another thing to follow and adhere to the rules. But with a little patience and perseverance, a foundation for respect and positive behavior can be laid in a classroom.

3 Helpful Tips to Teach Grammar for ESL Teachers

Teach GrammarTeaching grammar is an imperative element of school education. Without proper grammar, written or spoken words usually lose their exact meaning and much of their value as well. It is a significant part of language to get right for which, teachers take special care on imparting the real importance of it to their students. However, the task becomes much tough to teach in an ESL setting.

One common way is to focus on the different forms and rules and helping students to learn the subject with help of rote memorization. But, for ESL teachers, the process is different as because the target audience treats English as their second language.

Going Out of One’s Comfort Zone

For teaching a topic, one needs to understand the very same. Teachers must know about different parts of sentences, rules and tenses including basics of the subject as well. The process of just running into the classroom and going through a series of answers and exercises is not the ideal way. Mostly, ESL students do not learn English in the same way by which native English speakers learn. So, the ideal job is to help them understand their mistakes, difference between spoken and written grammar and the perfect usage of specific grammar forms.

Learn to Offer Overt Grammar Instruction

Clear instructions help students to learn the language efficiently, however, incorporating more number of communicative activities into the lesson plan will make students get the right grip on the subject. This is so because, mostly people learn from observation, learning and practice. One can break the entire session into manageable sections including; introducing the lesson, showing the way of using it in contextual situations, play interesting games by putting into practical usage.

Never Bore the Students

The subject includes a series of forms and rules; however, there are ways of making the class enjoyable. The primal goal is to allow students to understand the subject and use it for communicative purposes. The teacher can start a game by asking few questions from textbooks or from earlier oral practice sections. While playing the game she can either further introduce several examples relevant to the subject or ask students to come up with own examples.

Facilitate learning is the pivotal thing to do for an ESL teacher. So, providing students with various interesting learning exercises is the ideal task. However, since rules and forms related to grammar are quite tedious, therefore engaging them into the session will help students to learn and instill the lesson properly.