7 Ways to be a Better Teacher
Teaching can be difficult in this day and age, with students constantly distracted by portable mobile devices, peer-pressure, and the stress of achieving good grades and getting into college. Teachers are also under pressure to make education more exciting and fun for their students. In order to help teachers on this mission, we’ve come up with 7 ways teachers can improve the classroom experience for their students.
Introduce Game-Based Learning
Students love competitive games. This could involve a simple task in which the classroom is divided into two teams that compete in a quiz, or could involve educational technology such as language learning apps which are great for competitive students who will do their best to get the most points. Some school systems, such as those in America and Sweden, have even begun using digital games such as Minecraft in their schools. These games are said to not only increase problem solving, collaboration and enthusiasm among students, but can teach students vital STEAM skills in science, urban planning and even foreign languages.
Get students to work together
Cooperative learning has been shown to improve students’ success in school. While many traditional forms of education involve students interacting with textbooks, educational material and the teacher themselves, how students should interact with one another is often neglected.
Some teachers may implement a peer tutoring system in their classes, which could take the form of a student who performed well on the last assignment being paired with a student who needs additional help. Research has shown that how teachers structure student-to-student relationships has a large impact on long-term student success and their own self-esteem and confidence.
Humor is one of the ‘secret weapons’ many experienced teachers claim has transformed their career. Many younger teachers often claim they can’t see the role of humor in their classrooms – but after a few years, when their skills and confidence have developed, teachers often let their guard down and can actually be funny or silly with their students. This not only makes teaching and learning more fun, but can increase students’ confidence and enjoyment of coming to school.
Create a welcoming environment
Everyone loves to feel welcome. Students can come from a variety of social, economic or cultural backgrounds, and it is important to make sure they all feel comfortable. There are many ways to promote diversity in the classroom. A teacher could examine the curriculum and ensure they are covering historical events from different angles, or ask students themselves to share something from their culture. This often takes the form of a ‘diversity day’ in which students bring food or dress as someone famous from the nation they are from.
Teachers can also make sure their language promotes inclusivity and deconstructs stereotypes. For example, if a teacher hears phrases such as ‘man up’ – which reinforces the stereotype that all men must be strong and cannot talk about their feelings – then it could be a good idea to discuss these issues with students.
Understand the different learning styles of students
Every student learns differently. When teaching students about renewable energy or hydrogen, for example, it’s always a good idea to cater for different types of learning. This means integrating material which serves visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or reading and writing learners. It can also be beneficial to use one teaching material which covers all of these learning styles simultaneously. A STEM kit, for example, allows students to read the manual, listen to the teacher explain how the equipment works, see the informational videos, diagrams and charts, and physically construct the kit itself. This allows for not only a comprehensive understanding of the topic, but serves all types of learners at the same time.
Share your passions
People often say passion is contagious. If a teacher has a passion for the potential of solar power, batteries or hydrogen to save the planet from climate change, chances are students will pick up on this and are more likely to develop a passion for it themselves. It is always advisable, therefore, to bring your own passions to the classroom.
Make the subject mysterious
What is unusual, exciting, strange or unique about the subject? Maybe it’s an interesting scientific process – such as electrolysis – or a strange historical fact. By incorporating a sense of intrigue into education, teachers can keep students focused while also making learning fun.