An article by Richard James Rogers (Award-Winning Author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management and The Power of Praise: Empowering Students Through Positive Feedback). This blog post has been beautifully illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati
Accompanying podcast episode:
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What Exactly is Genius Hour?
The Benefits of Genius Hour
1. Fosters Intrinsic Motivation
2. Encourages Critical Thinking
3. Promotes Ownership of Learning
4. Supports Diverse Learning Needs
5. Sparks Creativity
6. Develops Research and Presentation Skills
How to Implement Genius Hour in High School Teaching
1. Introduction and Goal Setting
2. Time Management
3. Resources and Guidance
4. Sharing and Celebration
5. Reflection and Assessment
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Teachers are crucial for creating psychologically and physically safe school and classroom environments, and their relationship with the learners entrusted to them is key in preventing and responding to all kinds of school violence.UNESCO Bangkok
Local Level: Building a Foundation of Safety
National Level: Policy and Standards
International Level: Global Exchange of Ideas
Recommended further reading
- SchoolSafety.gov | School Safety Resources
- NCPC School Safety and Security Toolkit
- School Safety – Family Resources | National PTA
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Hello, fellow speaker! Are you ready to conquer the stage and captivate your audience with your words? Public speaking can be a nerve-wracking experience, but fear not! In this blog post, we’ll explore some invaluable tips to help you become a confident and engaging ‘sage on a stage’. So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive in!
#1: Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience is the first step towards delivering a memorable speech. Research their demographics, interests, and knowledge level to tailor your content accordingly. Speak their language, incorporate relatable anecdotes, and address their pain points. Remember, your ultimate goal is to connect with your audience on a personal level.
#2: Structure Your Speech
A well-structured speech can make all the difference in keeping your audience engaged. Begin with a compelling opening that grabs attention, followed by a clear introduction of your topic. Organize your main points logically, supporting them with relevant examples or stories. Finally, end with a strong conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.
#3: Practice, Practice, Practice
Rehearsing your speech is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the content and practice it aloud multiple times. Pay attention to your tone, pace, and body language. Consider recording yourself or rehearsing in front of a mirror to assess your delivery. The more you practice, the more confident and natural you’ll become on stage.
#4: Embrace Non-Verbal Communication
Effective communication extends beyond words. Pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, and gestures. Stand tall, maintain eye contact, and use appropriate hand movements to enhance your message. Be mindful of your posture and avoid fidgeting. Confident body language will help you establish a strong presence and connect with your audience.
#5: Utilize Visual Aids
Visual aids can reinforce your message and make it more memorable. Use slides, props, or multimedia presentations to complement your speech. However, be cautious not to overload your audience with too many visuals. Keep them simple, clear, and visually appealing, while serving as a visual support to your spoken words.
#6: Engage Your Audience
Interaction is key to keeping your audience engaged throughout your speech. Encourage participation by asking rhetorical questions, inviting volunteers, or using audience polls. Incorporate moments for small group discussions or brief activities to break the monotony. Consider using live quizzes that the audience can participate in using their devices (e.g. Kahoot!, Blooket and Quizlet Live). Remember, an engaged audience is more likely to retain your message. They’ll also be happier and will enjoy themselves during your presentation, and you’ll be more likely to get referrals afterwards.
#7: Connect Through Storytelling
Humans are wired for stories. Incorporate personal anecdotes, real-life examples, or relevant narratives to connect with your audience emotionally. Stories evoke emotions, enhance relatability, and help your audience connect the dots. Make your speech memorable by sharing stories that resonate with your audience.
#8: Be Authentic
Authenticity is the secret ingredient to captivating your audience. Embrace your unique voice, personality, and style. Avoid imitating others or trying to be someone you’re not. Embrace your imperfections and let your genuine passion for the topic shine through. Audiences appreciate speakers who are genuine and relatable.
#9: Handle Nervousness
Even the most seasoned speakers experience nervousness. Embrace it as a natural response and use it to your advantage. Channel that energy into enthusiasm and excitement. Practice deep breathing, visualization, or other relaxation techniques before stepping on stage. Remember, nervousness is a sign that you care, and your audience wants you to succeed.
#10: Seek Feedback and Learn
After each speaking engagement, seek feedback from trusted sources. Analyze what worked well and areas that need improvement. Join public speaking clubs or workshops to refine your skills further. Remember, mastery takes time, so be patient and committed to continuous growth. If you would like to earn a Certificate in Public Speaking, then check out my Powerful Public Speaker programme, which can be delivered online wherever you are in the world (or on-site, if you happen to live in Thailand).
Congratulations! Armed with these public speaking tips, you’re well on your way to becoming an exceptional speaker. Embrace the opportunity to share your ideas, inspire change, and leave a lasting impact on your audience. Remember, every great speaker started somewhere, so don’t let fear hold you back. Embrace the stage, believe in yourself, and let your voice be heard!
Hey there, fellow educators and Instagram enthusiasts! Today, I want to talk about a nifty feature on everyone’s favorite photo-sharing platform: Instagram Threads. We all know that Instagram is great for sharing snapshots of our lives, but did you know it can also be a fantastic tool to support teaching and learning? That’s right! In this blog post, I’ll walk you through some creative ways teachers can leverage Instagram Threads to engage their students and make learning a whole lot more exciting. Let’s dive in.
#1: Creating a Private Classroom Community
Imagine having a space where you can interact with your students outside the traditional classroom setting. Instagram Threads provides just that! You can create a private group solely for your class, allowing for open discussions, sharing resources, and fostering a sense of community. It’s an excellent platform to keep the conversation going beyond the classroom walls and make learning a collaborative experience.
#2: Sharing Timely Updates and Reminders
Remember those times when you had to make last-minute announcements or reminders, and you wished your students could see them instantly? With Instagram Threads, you can quickly post updates, reminders, or even schedule them in advance. It ensures that important information reaches your students promptly, and you can bid farewell to those “I didn’t know about it!” excuses.
#3: Encouraging Visual Storytelling
Instagram is all about visual content, and Threads takes it up a notch! As a teacher, you can leverage this feature to encourage your students’ creativity through visual storytelling. Assign projects where students can capture and share images or short videos related to the topics they’re studying. It adds an exciting dimension to learning and allows students to express themselves in unique ways.
#4: Instigating Dialogue and Debates
Discussion is an integral part of education, and Threads provides an ideal platform for fostering meaningful conversations. Teachers can initiate discussions by posting thought-provoking questions or prompts related to the lesson material. Students can then respond, share their perspectives, and engage in healthy debates. This helps develop critical thinking skills and encourages active participation.
#5: Showcasing Student Work
Who doesn’t love recognition and appreciation for their hard work? Instagram Threads can be an excellent avenue for showcasing student achievements. Create a designated space to highlight exceptional projects, artwork, or any other outstanding work by your students. Not only does this motivate them, but it also inspires others and creates a positive classroom culture.
#6: Conducting Virtual Q&A Sessions
Want to provide additional support or address student queries outside regular class hours? Instagram Threads offers a seamless way to organize virtual Q&A sessions. Dedicate specific time slots where students can post their questions, and you can respond with detailed explanations or clarifications. It promotes active learning and demonstrates your commitment to student success.
Remember, while Instagram Threads can be an incredibly useful tool, it’s crucial to prioritize privacy and ensure all interactions are conducted in a safe and secure manner. Always adhere to your school’s guidelines and obtain necessary permissions from parents or guardians.
So, there you have it! Instagram Threads can be a game-changer when it comes to supporting teaching and learning. By tapping into its features, teachers can create engaging, interactive, and visually appealing learning experiences for their students. So why not give it a try? Your classroom is just a click away from a vibrant online community.
Stay connected, stay inspired, and let’s explore the incredible possibilities that Instagram Threads brings to our educational journey. Happy teaching, everyone!
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
Firstly, I’ll begin with a big hello and a salute to every teacher reading this right now. Many of us taught through the grueling COVID years and made it (unscathed, albeit exhausted) to the other side.
That is an achievement in and of itself.
Those of us who stayed in teaching have shown tremendous resilience. COVID destabilized so many schools and demoralized so many teachers – so much so, that more teachers are leaving the profession than those that are applying for open vacancies.
For those of us who did decide to stick to our guns, post-pandemic teaching has brought with it some new challenges that were somewhat unexpected:
- Children are fed up of doing online tasks, and now expect more human-interactivity in lessons. Teachers need to be more active within their lessons than ever before – we simply cannot get way with setting our kids some work to do whilst we check e-mails and do admin. This kind of dovetailing simply cannot happen anymore.
- AI has been thrust upon us – possibly the biggest challenge to education since COVID
- Many of our students are way behind, since they picked up misconceptions and did not learn deeply enough during the COVID years. Many of us are now trying to teach advanced concepts to children who have little foundational knowledge.
- The ways in which we taught students before COVID are not necessarily the ways we should teach students in the post-COVID years
As a result of these challenges, we need to be more organized than ever before if we are to stay in the game. So, are you ready to level up and become even more efficient? Well, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we’re going to explore five practical ways you can boost your efficiency in 2023 and beyond. Get ready to embrace new strategies, tools, and ideas that will make your teaching journey a breeze. So, let’s dive right in!
#1: Embrace the power of technology (but don’t let it take over)
In this digital age, technology is your trusty sidekick. From interactive whiteboards to educational apps, find tech tools that align with your teaching style and make your life easier. Harness the power of online platforms for grading, communication, and lesson planning. Let technology be your secret weapon in conquering classroom chaos!
- Utilise live quiz apps like Blooket, Quizlet Live, Quizziz, Kahoot! and iSpring Quizmaker to get your students interacting with lesson content. It’s important that the teacher is active during these tasks too – comment on scores along the way, use humor and walk around the classroom to help students.
- Use G Suite tools to aid with collaborative project work. Google Sheets, Docs, Sites and Slides all allow students to create high-quality outputs in real-time, in groups. Think of ways to utilize these tools to your advantage. Some ideas are given here.
- Utilise Virtual Learning Environments to share resources and communicate with your students. Google Classroom, Firefly, Moodle and Class Dojo are all great platforms that I highly recommend. Share slides and summaries ahead of time if you can – this will allow your students the opportunity to read ahead.
Technology warning – do not replace human teaching with technology-driven teaching. Whilst there’s so much great software out there that will literally teach children all they need to know about a subject or topic, the children attending school today do not want this. They’ve had enough of educational software as they were heavily exposed to it during the COVID years when they were learning remotely. It’s back to basics, I’m afraid – paper-based tasks, spatial learning and active engagement are in-vogue and will be for some time to come.
#2: Streamline Lesson Planning
Create a system that saves time and energy during lesson planning. Organize resources, templates, and activities in a central location for easy access. Collaborate with fellow teachers and share ideas to lighten the load. Remember, a well-planned lesson is a successful lesson! Read my top 7 strategies for efficient lesson planning here. Here’s a quick summary:
- Plan in a way that works for you personally: The methods of lesson planning that I use personally have changed and evolved over the course of my career, just as I have changed and evolved too. The methods I use work for me, and that allows me to express myself in the best and most natural way possible.
- Always get a quick starter activity ready: You’ll often find that there are many great workbooks full of activities and worksheets published and ready for you to use. A small investment of money in resources like this can save you loads of time that you may have spent making resources from scratch.
- Always include a quick plenary: This can be as simple as getting the students to stand at the front of the class and do some quick-fire questioning, playing a learning game or even getting groups of students to verbalize their own summary.
- Keep your plans and reuse them year after year: There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. Keep your planners safe and organised and use them again and again when you teach the same or similar content. Modify as you go along.
- Look online for Schemes of Work, Programmes of Study and lesson plans that other people have created: You’ll be surprised at the wealth of information available. I’ve personally done this many times in the past. A quick search on a search engine can pull up many documents that you can use, modify and change to suit your own lesson planning.
- Use published Schemes of Work to assist you: All examination boards produce Course Guides or syllabuses, and some will even provide Schemes of Work. Use the content from these to inform your lesson planning, particularly if you’re filling in an ‘Objectives’ or ‘Learning Outcomes’ section.
- Take a long-term view: If you teach students who will take exams in May, for example, then you should know which exact topics you’ll need to cover each month in order to give you enough time to do revision and get the students ready for their exams on time.
#3: Automate Routine Tasks
Don’t let paperwork and administrative tasks steal your precious time. Seek out apps and software that automate grading, attendance, and reporting. Free yourself from the never-ending stack of papers and focus on what you do best—teaching!
Check out these blog posts and sites for some great ideas on how to automate some of your routine work:
- Automated schools: 7 school processes you can automate [Jotform, January 2023]
- 6 Ways to Use ChatGPT to Save Time [Edutopia, March 2023]
- EdTech Evolution: Automating Administrative Tasks and Processes Using AI [Educating Adjuncts]
#4: Prioritize Self-Care
I’ve mentioned this point many times before in blog posts and podcast episodes, but I really must emphasize again that we must PRIORITIZE self-care.
When we look after ourselves, we are better able to teach. It’s that simple.
Burnt out, stressed teachers occupy too many classrooms (often through no fault of their own). We must do what we can to counteract the stressors that affect us.
Being an efficient teacher starts with taking care of yourself. Remember to recharge your batteries, both mentally and physically. Get enough sleep, exercise, and enjoy hobbies outside of the classroom. A happy teacher is a highly efficient teacher!
Read more tips on how to be a happy teacher in this great blog post by Jessica Robinson.
#5: Embrace Flexibility
The ability to adapt and be flexible is a superpower in the ever-changing world of education. Embrace innovative teaching techniques, experiment with new approaches, and adjust your lesson plans to meet your students’ evolving needs. Stay open-minded, and your efficiency will skyrocket!
Read this great blog post by Gill Murray (Founder of Alba English Class Online and Homestay) on the topic of being a flexible and adaptable teacher for some great tips you just can’t miss!
We stayed in the profession despite the massive challenges we faced during COVID, yet new challenges have presented themselves since schools reopened. Being a teacher in the post-COVID years is, and is going to be, more challenging than it has ever been before. For those of us who are tired and fed up, we MUST find ways to raise our energy levels so that we can engage our students. Our paperwork, once a task we could partly do within lessons, must be completed in our free periods and our free time – and that requires good organizational systems to be in-place.
On top of all of these new challenges we face professionally, we also find ourselves on a common personal battlefield – that of our wellbeing. Here’s a big newsflash just in case you missed the memo – your school, your district and your government are NOT responsible for your personal mental and physical health and will probably do little to help you anyway. We must prioritize our own happiness and wellbeing. For some of us (me included), this means that everything must change – from how we wake up in the morning, to how we embrace fitness opportunities and get deep, restful sleep.
Recommended further reading
- Barnum, M. (2023) “The teaching profession faces big post-pandemic challenges – Chalkbeat,” Chalkbeat [Preprint]. Available at: https://www.chalkbeat.org/2023/6/27/23774375/teachers-turnover-attrition-quitting-morale-burnout-pandemic-crisis-covid
In the ever-evolving landscape of education, it is crucial for teachers to empower their students with not just knowledge, but also the tools to become self-regulated learners. Metacognitive strategies provide a powerful framework to cultivate students’ ability to think about their thinking, leading to enhanced learning outcomes. By explicitly teaching metacognitive skills, educators can help students become more aware of their learning processes, develop effective problem-solving approaches, and ultimately become lifelong learners. What follows next are ten practical ways to incorporate metacognitive strategies into your lessons and promote student growth.
#1: Set Clear Learning Goals
Begin each lesson by explicitly stating the learning objectives. Encourage students to reflect on what they already know about the topic and identify what they hope to achieve. This metacognitive approach helps students understand the purpose of their learning and fosters a sense of ownership over their educational journey. One creative way that I advise you do this is by using the Three As technique.
#2: Think Aloud
Model the thinking process by verbalizing your thoughts as you solve problems or analyze information. Demonstrate how to monitor comprehension, clarify doubts, and adjust strategies when faced with challenges. This modeling helps students develop metacognitive skills by providing them with concrete examples of how to approach different tasks. Use my blog post on the Metacognition Cycle if you’re looking for ideas on how to verbalise your thoughts correctly.
#3: Reflect on Learning
Introduce reflective practices, such as journaling or class discussions, where students can express their thoughts, insights, and challenges encountered during the learning process. Regular reflection encourages metacognition by prompting students to evaluate their progress, identify areas for improvement, and consider alternative approaches. This great blog post by Martyn Kenneth describes some excellent self-reflection tools that can be used by students and teachers, so check it out!
#4: Promote Self-Questioning
Encourage students to ask themselves questions throughout the learning process. Teach them how to generate thought-provoking questions that assess their understanding, probe deeper into a topic, or anticipate potential difficulties. Self-questioning helps students activate prior knowledge and monitor their comprehension, fostering metacognitive awareness.
#5: Scaffold Metacognitive Strategies
Teach students specific metacognitive strategies, such as summarizing, predicting, visualizing, and self-monitoring. Provide step-by-step guidance initially, gradually shifting responsibility to the students. These strategies become valuable tools for students to manage their learning independently, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
#6: Use Graphic Organizers
Incorporate graphic organizers, such as concept maps, flowcharts, or KWL charts, to help students organize and visualize their thoughts. These visual aids facilitate metacognition by enabling students to connect new information to existing knowledge, identify knowledge gaps, and track their progress. A good place to start for ideas is this blog post on differentiating texts, which provides examples of some types of graphic organizers that can help students to digest large bodies of information.
#7: Encourage Peer Collaboration
Promote collaborative learning activities where students work together, discuss ideas, and provide feedback to their peers. Peer interactions create opportunities for metacognitive dialogue, allowing students to articulate their thinking processes, challenge assumptions, and gain alternative perspectives.
#8: Provide Timely Feedback
Offer constructive feedback that focuses not only on the final product but also on the thinking and problem-solving strategies employed. Help students reflect on their performance, identify strengths and weaknesses, and suggest strategies for improvement. Effective feedback promotes metacognitive development by guiding students’ self-reflection and self-adjustment.
#9: Foster Metacognitive Reading
Teach students reading strategies that enhance metacognitive awareness, such as previewing texts, making predictions, asking questions, and summarizing key ideas. Encourage them to monitor their comprehension while reading, using strategies like self-questioning or visualizing to deepen understanding. Reading can often be coupled with group or self-reflection to encourage deep learning (as opposed to surface learning). Please see my blog post about developing a passion for reading in students, here.
#10: Teach Metacognitive Transfer
Guide students in applying metacognitive strategies across various subject areas and contexts. Help them recognize the transferability of metacognitive skills and encourage their application beyond the classroom, fostering lifelong learning habits.
By incorporating metacognitive strategies into your teaching practice, you can equip your students with essential tools for self-regulation, critical thinking, and lifelong learning. The deliberate cultivation of metacognition empowers students to take ownership of their learning processes, fostering a sense of autonomy and self-efficacy. As they become more aware of their thinking and learning strategies, students can monitor their progress, identify areas of growth, and adapt their approaches accordingly.
Integrating metacognitive strategies into your lessons not only enhances academic performance but also nurtures valuable life skills. By encouraging students to reflect on their learning experiences, set goals, and analyze their own thinking, you are fostering metacognitive transfer—the ability to apply these skills in various contexts beyond the classroom. This transferability prepares students to navigate the challenges of higher education, careers, and personal growth.
All of this promotes deeper engagement and active learning in the classroom. Students who are metacognitively aware are more likely to approach tasks with a growth mindset, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth rather than being discouraged by setbacks. They become more resilient learners, willing to persevere through difficulties and develop strategies to overcome obstacles.
As educators, it is our responsibility to empower students with the tools they need to become self-regulated learners and successful individuals in an ever-changing world. By incorporating these ten strategies into your teaching repertoire, you are setting the stage for transformative learning experiences that will equip your students with the metacognitive abilities they need to thrive academically, professionally, and personally. Embrace the power of metacognition, and watch your students blossom into confident, self-directed learners who are prepared to tackle any challenge that comes their way!
Illustrated by Sutthiya Lertyongphati.
As a teacher, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the principles that underpin effective instruction. One set of principles that has gained widespread recognition is the set proposed by Barak Rosenshine, a former professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 ways you can apply Rosenshine’s principles to your lessons to help your students achieve their full potential.
#1: Start with a clear objective
According to Rosenshine’s principles, the first step in effective instruction is to start with a clear objective. Before you start your lesson, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want your students to learn.
You may wish to use the ‘Three As‘ to present objectives to the students via a self-discovery process (very powerful). The ‘Three As’ stand for Assign, Analyse and Ask. It’s a simple three-step process for starting each lesson, and allows for the teacher to be as creative as he or she wishes when articulating lesson objectives:
- Assign a starter activity, that links to the topic somehow. This can be as simple as a video playing on the screen as the kids walk in, a worksheet or even a learning game.
- Analyse the starter activity: This may involve peer-assessing the task, having a class discussion, quick-fire questions or a ‘True or False’ activity
- Ask the students: What do you think we are learning about today? This may generate some discussion, but if the ‘Assign’ and ‘Analyse’ parts have been designed properly, then it should be obvious.
For ideas on good starter activities, this blog post is really useful.
#2: Use a variety of examples
Using a variety of examples is a great way to help your students understand the concepts you’re teaching. Use different types of examples, such as visual aids, case studies, or real-life scenarios, to help your students better understand the material.
Different types of examples can help students to better grasp the concepts being taught, as they provide a range of contexts and perspectives from which to view the material. Visual aids, for instance, can be especially effective in conveying complex information in a way that is easy to understand and remember. Case studies and real-life scenarios, on the other hand, can help students connect abstract concepts to real-world situations and make the learning experience more meaningful.
When selecting examples to use in your lessons, it’s important to choose ones that are relevant to your students’ interests and experiences. For instance, if you’re teaching a science lesson on environmental sustainability, using examples that relate to your students’ local community or region can help to make the material more relatable and engaging. Additionally, it’s important to use a mix of examples that are both challenging and accessible. Providing examples that are too easy may bore your students and cause them to disengage from the lesson, while using examples that are too difficult can lead to frustration and discouragement. Striking the right balance between challenging and accessible examples can help to keep your students engaged and motivated throughout the lesson.
#3: Provide guided practice
Guided practice is an effective way to help your students develop their skills and knowledge. Provide your students with opportunities to practice what they’ve learned, but make sure you’re there to guide them through the process.
During guided practice, the teacher provides students with guidance and feedback as they work through problems or exercises related to the material being taught. This can help students to develop their skills and knowledge more effectively than if they were simply left to work independently. Guided practice can take many forms, such as structured activities, group work, or one-on-one interactions with the teacher.
When implementing guided practice in your lessons, it’s important to provide clear instructions and expectations to your students. Make sure they understand what they’re supposed to be doing, and provide them with any necessary resources or materials. Additionally, it’s important to monitor your students’ progress and provide feedback along the way. This can help them to identify areas where they need to improve and make adjustments accordingly. Finally, it’s important to ensure that guided practice is appropriately challenging for your students. Providing practice that is too easy or too difficult can lead to disengagement or frustration. By providing practice that is appropriately challenging, you can help your students to develop their skills and knowledge more effectively.
#4: Use frequent checks for understanding
Frequent checks for understanding can help you gauge how well your students are understanding the material. Use questions, quizzes, or other methods to assess your students’ comprehension of the material throughout the lesson.
Checks for understanding help to ensure that students are comprehending the material being taught and can identify areas where additional support or instruction may be needed. Frequent checks for understanding can take many forms, such as questions, quizzes, or discussions. By incorporating frequent checks for understanding into your lessons, you can help to ensure that students are engaged and actively learning throughout the lesson. Verbal questions are often all that’s needed, just ensure you are not asking the same students to answer. Consider using random name generators (my favorite is the Wheel of Names). Live quiz apps, such a Blooket, Kahoot!, iSpring Quizmaker and others are also great ways to frequently check understanding within lessons, in real-time.
When using frequent checks for understanding in your lessons, it’s important to provide feedback to students on their performance. This can help them to identify areas where they may need additional support or instruction and make adjustments to their learning strategies. Additionally, it’s important to vary the types of checks for understanding used in your lessons to accommodate different learning needs and abilities. For example, some learners may benefit from diagrams or graphic organizers, while other learners may benefit from class discussions or lectures. By using a variety of checks for understanding in your lessons and providing regular feedback, you can help your students to develop a deeper understanding of the material and achieve their learning goals more effectively.
#5: Scaffold your instruction
Scaffolding your instruction can help your students learn more effectively. Start with simpler concepts and gradually increase the complexity of the material to help your students build a strong foundation of knowledge.
Scaffolding your instruction means breaking down complex concepts into smaller, more manageable pieces that build upon each other. This approach can help students to understand and retain information more effectively by giving them the opportunity to build a strong foundation of knowledge before moving on to more complex material. Scaffolding can take many forms, such as providing students with background information, asking leading questions, or providing step-by-step instructions for completing tasks. By gradually increasing the complexity of the material, students can develop their skills and knowledge in a structured and supportive environment.
When implementing scaffolding in your lessons, it’s important to keep in mind the needs and abilities of your students. This means providing scaffolding that is appropriate for their level of understanding and adjusting your approach as needed. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that scaffolding does not become overly restrictive or limiting for your students. While providing structure and support is important, it’s also important to allow students the opportunity to explore and make their own connections between concepts. By striking a balance between structure and flexibility, you can help your students to develop a strong foundation of knowledge while also allowing them the opportunity to think critically and creatively.
#6: Provide feedback
Feedback is an important component of effective instruction. Provide your students with feedback on their performance, both positive and constructive, to help them improve.
I’ve written a LOT about feedback in the past, and there’s lots that we could explore here. However, if I were to distil the essentials into a few bulletpoints, they would be as follows:
- Praise often: See my blog post about the Four Rules of Praise, and check out my acclaimed book, The Power of Praise: Empowering Students Through Positive Feedback, for detailed strategies on how to use praise as a tool for rapport-building, character-building, empowerment, behavior management and learning.
- State the negatives first, then follow with positives
- Use verbal feedback, but make sure the students take action on what you have said
- Use time-saving marking strategies which are efficient and effective (e.g., ‘live’ marking, peer assessment, self-assessment and automated assessment)
#7: Use models and examples
Using models and examples can help your students better understand the concepts you’re teaching. Provide your students with examples of how to apply the material to real-life situations to help them make connections.
Models and examples can take many forms, such as diagrams, charts, or simulations. By providing students with concrete examples of how a concept works, you can help them to build a mental model of the concept and understand how it can be applied in different situations. Additionally, using a variety of models and examples can help students to see the same concept from different perspectives, which can lead to deeper understanding and better retention of the material.
When using models and examples in your lessons, it’s important to choose ones that are appropriate for your students’ level of understanding. Providing examples that are too complex can lead to confusion and frustration, while using examples that are too simple can lead to boredom and disengagement. Additionally, it’s important to provide students with opportunities to interact with the models and examples, such as by asking them to explain how they work or to identify different features. By providing opportunities for active engagement with the material, you can help students to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught.
#8: Use a variety of instructional strategies
Using a variety of instructional strategies can help keep your students engaged and interested in the material. Use different methods such as lectures, discussions, group work, or hands-on activities to keep your students engaged.
Every student has unique strengths, and by using a variety of instructional techniques, you can help to accommodate these differences and ensure that all students are able to engage with the material being taught. Some effective instructional techniques include direct instruction, group work, hands-on activities, and multimedia presentations. By varying your approach, you can keep students interested and engaged in the learning process, which can lead to deeper understanding and better retention of the material.
When using a variety of instructional techniques in your lessons, it’s important to keep in mind your learning objectives and the needs of your students. Different techniques may be more effective for different types of learning objectives or for different groups of students. Additionally, it’s important to provide clear instructions and expectations for each technique you use. This can help to ensure that students understand what they’re supposed to be doing and how the technique relates to the material being taught. By using a variety of instructional techniques in your lessons, you can help to create a dynamic and engaging learning environment that supports the needs and interests of all your students.
#9: Review and revise
Review and revise your instruction to ensure that you’re meeting your students’ needs. Regularly assess your students’ progress and adjust your teaching methods accordingly.
Providing opportunities for regular review is an essential part of effective instruction. Review allows students to reinforce their learning and connect new concepts to previously learned material. It also helps to identify areas where students may need additional support or instruction. Regular review can take many forms, such as quizzes, games, or discussions. By incorporating review into your lessons, you can help to ensure that students are retaining the material being taught and developing a deeper understanding of the concepts.
When implementing regular review in your lessons, it’s important to provide opportunities for both formal and informal review. Formal review activities, such as quizzes or exams, can help to provide a structured and systematic approach to review. Informal review activities, such as class discussions or games, can be more flexible and allow for more creative and interactive review. Additionally, it’s important to provide regular feedback to students on their performance during review activities. This can help them to identify areas where they may need additional support or instruction and make adjustments to their learning strategies. By providing regular review opportunities in your lessons, you can help your students to develop a deeper understanding of the material and achieve their learning goals more effectively.
#10: Provide closure
Provide closure at the end of your lesson to help your students solidify their understanding of the material. Summarize the key points of the lesson and provide your students with an opportunity to ask any remaining questions they may have.
Channeling the energy of your students in a healthy and competitive way should be one of the core aims of all plenaries. Reviewing the content and skills learnt in class in a fun, competitive and energetic way can really help with memory and concept retention. Do this consistently each and every lesson and watch your students make tremendous progress as the weeks and months roll by!
See my blog post entitled 7 Plenary Activities for PGCE Students and Newly Qualified Teachers for some great ideas for ending your lessons with a fun review of the concepts and skills taught, thereby providing closure.
By applying Rosenshine’s principles to your lessons, you can help your students learn more effectively and achieve their full potential. Remember to start with a clear objective, use a variety of examples, provide guided practice, use frequent checks for understanding, scaffold your instruction, provide feedback, use models and examples, use a variety of instructional strategies, review and revise, and provide closure.