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!
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.
Illustrated by Sutthiya Lertyongphati
As teachers, it can be challenging to navigate the diverse groups of students in our classrooms while also upholding the values and principles we believe in. With the current trend of progressive ideologies being pushed in schools, it can feel overwhelming at times to combat ideas that are contrary to our own. However, there are strategies that teachers can implement to promote critical thinking, encourage diverse viewpoints, and foster an open-minded learning environment. Here are some ways to combat ‘woke’, or ‘progressive’, ideologies in schools:
#1: Promote Critical Thinking
One of the most effective ways to combat progressive ideologies in schools is to promote critical thinking. Encourage your students to think independently, question assumptions, and analyze facts. Give them the tools they need to evaluate arguments objectively, and let them come to their own conclusions. Encourage debate and discussion, and create an environment where students feel comfortable expressing their viewpoints without fear of judgment or ridicule.
Here are some good resources that can help you facilitate the critical thinking process in your lessons:
- 10 Great Critical Thinking Activities That Engage Your Students. Crockett, Lee. Accesssed 6th May 2023
- 50 Super-Fun Critical Thinking Strategies to Use in Your Classroom. Bored Teachers. Accessed 6th May 2023.
- 7 Ways to Teach Critical Thinking in Elementary Education. Walden University. Accessed 6th May 2023
#2: Teach the Value of Diversity
Another way to combat progressive ideologies in schools is to teach the value of diversity. Encourage your students to appreciate different cultures, religions, and perspectives. Emphasize the importance of tolerance and respect, and create opportunities for your students to learn from one another. When students understand the value of diversity, it becomes harder for progressive ideologies that promote exclusivity to take hold.
#3: Encourage a Growth Mindset
Progressive ideologies often promote victimhood, entitlement, and a lack of personal responsibility. To combat these ideologies, teachers can encourage a growth mindset. Teach your students that they are capable of achieving anything they set their minds to, and help them develop a sense of personal responsibility for their own success. Encourage them to embrace challenges and see failures as opportunities for growth.
Here are some resources that can help you get your students to adopt a growth mindset:
- How to Foster a Growth Mindset in the Classroom. American University, School of Education. Accessed 6th May 2023.
- 7 Strategies to Develop Students’ Growth Mindset. Global Indian International School. Accessed 6th May 2023.
- Promote a Growth Mindset. Carnegie Mellon University. Accessed 6th May 2023.
#4: Help Students Develop Strong Values
To combat the influence of progressive ideologies in schools, it’s important for teachers to help students develop strong values. Encourage your students to think about what they believe in, and teach them the importance of virtues such as honesty, integrity, and respect. When students have a strong sense of values, they are less likely to be swayed by ideologies that conflict with their beliefs.
#5: Stay Informed
Finally, it’s important for teachers to stay informed about the progressive ideologies that are being promoted in schools. Attend workshops and seminars, read blogs and articles, and participate in discussions with colleagues. By staying informed, we can better equip ourselves to combat these ideologies and promote a learning environment that is free from political bias.
In conclusion, it’s possible to combat progressive ideologies in schools by promoting critical thinking, teaching the value of diversity, encouraging a growth mindset, helping students develop strong values, and staying informed. As a teacher, it’s our responsibility to create an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity, promotes debate and discussion, and encourages students to think independently. By doing so, we can help our students become well-informed, thoughtful, and responsible citizens who are able to make a positive impact on the world.
As learning becomes more software-driven, and cognitive offloading becomes more frequent via apps like ChatGPT and Google Bard, we are sure to see ‘soft skills’ (i.e., those skills unique to humans which cannot be replicated by computers) become more important for students to master.
Colin Salmon, Head of Faculty for Technology and Life Sciences at The City of Liverpool College, has this to say about AI and soft skills:
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about AI is that it will overtake soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking and emotional intelligence and, while AI can replicate certain tasks, it cannot yet replicate the human touch or the level of creativity that is required in many industries.Colin Salmon, Courtesy of FE News [Accessed April 2023]
Today, I’ve invited Jessica Robinson, educational writer at The Speaking Polymath, to share her insights and tips for getting the creative juices flowing with your students.
Introduction to Creativity in Students
Creativity involves breaking out of unexpected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.Edward De Bono
Creativity helps students use their imagination to their fullest. It helps them to learn new things by opening doors to new thoughts, emotions and expressions. This is the reason why it is important to foster creativity in young minds so that it can improve their future prospects. A student’s learning experience is enhanced when they put their own creativity into a subject, lesson, task or project.
Every student develops skills that reflect their own set of creativity. When they learn subjects using their creativity, it helps them to:
- Make learning fun
- Work upon their emotional quotient (EQ)
- Manage stress
- Boost critical thinking
- Improve communication skills
Let us discuss the 5 best ways educators can foster creativity in their students.
5 Best Ways for Educators to Foster Creativity in Students
#1: Engage students in activities that encourage creativity
In order to foster creative thinking, teachers need to engage students in activities that promote creativity. Though these activities, teachers should guide students to develop and improve their creative skills such as problem solving, innovation and communication skills through inquiry-based learning.
Let us consider an activity that fosters creativity in a student in the early years. Teachers can ask students to make different structures using building blocks. Students can bring in their creativity and make something that isn’t commonly made by students of that age. Teachers can tell students to creatively think upon the uses of the structures they have made.
Teachers can boost creativity in students when they actively engage students in learning activities. In addition to the above, other activities such as storytelling, writing poetry, generating musical ideas, completing the incomplete figure to create new figures, etc., also help to expand creative thinking skills.
These activities can help students to become more mindful and conscious of their creative skills in this manner. Teachers who encourage such innovative solutions foster creativity and flourish a genuine output. It is a teacher’s role to brainstorm a students’ mind in a positive way to foster curiosity and view varying perceptions and their impacts thereof.
#2: Think outside of the box
There is no denying the fact that the role of teachers is to encourage creativity in the classroom by allowing varying ideas to be welcomed and discussed. Allowing students to think outside of the box, beyond boundaries might help them in deciphering something unusual and new. But also, it is important to know that creativity is a skill that not every student is born with. It is the role of a teacher to help a student discover such capabilities. There are various methods to do so.
One method is where a teacher can challenge students by questioning them about the dynamic aspects of a topic and how outcomes can vary with changing inputs. Each aspect (input) could foster different levels of creativity in a student and help the student to engage in innovative learning methods that would be useful to develop problem solving skills.
A What-if Analysis can be an excellent way to foster creativity in students. A teacher can ask a student, “What if the prices of your favorite pizza in the market increases?” or “What if Covid persisted for a longer period of time? How would it have affected your education?” Pondering upon the asked questions, students would automatically start thinking over it, considering their own creative sense. Henceforth, it would encourage students to have a growth mindset and improve on their own personality traits.
3. Give constructive feedback
To give students the right direction for initiating creative processes, it is important for educators to provide them with constructive feedback. Appreciations and criticism, both form an integral part of feedback. It forms a great tool to induce ideas into a student’s mind.
Educators can relate giving constructive feedback to students with a Pareto analysis. The Pareto principle emphasizes on focusing on the 20% of work needed to achieve 80% of the output. Educators can foster creativity by letting students know which activities form the major portion that can help to deliver maximum output. With this belief, students can focus more on the 20% to achieve a lucrative output, through an educator’s valuable feedback.
The concept of constructive learning from educators helps in providing the right guidance to students for constructive learning and training methodologies.
There are 3 constructive feedback techniques that teachers might use in classrooms for an effective study environment:
- Feedforward – As coined by Marshall Goldsmith. While feedback focuses on past events, feedforward is the antonym for it. This approach helps educators or teachers to describe the correctness of future probabilities to a student with respect to the current solution of processing information. The main aim is to let a student know beforehand the adversity or favorability of their current performance and take their creativity in the right direction.
- DESC – Elaborating the abbreviation, DESC stands for describe, express, specify and consequence. It defines valuable feedback as elaborating to a student the reason behind what could have been done to improve upon the given solution. This fosters a way to diligently assess a student’s creative performance and establish effective standards to calculate the positive and negative effects of that performance.
- What & Why – This is the simplest of the above methods that can easily be applied in classrooms. Explaining to students, or asking them to explain, the What and Why ofa situation or outcome could enhance creativity.
#4: Promote the sharing of ideas
Sharing concepts in the classroom can broaden the range of viewpoints of the audience on a certain topic. Teachers should encourage such a classroom environment as it increases students’ productivity. It simultaneously fosters a competitive environment as each student is given a voice to shed light on their own creativity and spread it to others.
Instead of having a feeling of being judged and afraid of criticism, teachers encourage students by guiding them to increase their scope of improvement.
Sharing techniques used by teachers in classrooms to promote creativity are mentioned below:
- Think-Pair-Share – Brainstorming of ideas in pairs, writing those ideas and later sharing them with the entire class helps to indulge in and accept different perspectives and fosters creativity.
- Sticky-Note Storm – Thinking out of the box in small groups within a stipulated period of time helps to activate the brain cells and generate as many answers as possible.
- Quiz, Quiz and Trade – This activity is very good in engaging students to be as creative as they can. Teachers hand out cue cards to students and students exchange and circulate them to their peers. At last, whosoever is left with the number of cue cards gets to put in their creativity and answer those questions.
#5: Put breaks into routines
It is usual for students to feel lethargic with the same monotonous routine in their daily life. This situation has a direct impact on their creativity because creativity decreases with repetitive and unexciting methods of learning.
Teachers who acknowledge this bored atmosphere again and again in their classroom environment, can find ways to foster creativity in their students by not teaching in the same way, continuously.
Teachers can do something different from their routines and increase students’ creative thinking skills.
To conclude, creativity is one of the most important aspects of a child’s development and needs to be integrated in children from a very young age. Hence, it becomes the responsibility of the educator to foster creativity in children at a young age. That being the case, the above given tips can effectively help educators in making their students more creative.
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati
Originally posted December 2017. Updated December 2022.
The Christmas vacation is finally here. Many of us in the teaching profession can now look forward to a good couple of weeks of much-needed rest and recuperation.
Our students deserve a break too.
I agree that time spent with family and friends is an absolute essential right now, but I’m also mindful of the workload and duties that will hit me like a tornado when I return to school in January.
When it comes to school holidays, I always see them as time to ‘go at my own pace’. The way I see it, I have two choices:
- Do nothing for the whole holiday and totally chill out, returning to the normal barrage of work that hits every teacher at the start of Term 2
- Still have a holiday and some rest but do some little things to get a head-start on things before I return to school
I’ve always found that trying to do option 2 is the best, even if I don’t get through all of the ‘head-start’ work that I plan to do.
Is this an admission of failure before I even begin? Maybe, but here are my plans made as realistic as possible: meaning that I can have a rest and do around 50% (minimum) of these things too:
- Requisitions and orders: I’m a Science Teacher, so I need to order chemicals and equipment for my lessons each week. This Christmas my first priority will be to get all of my requisitions done for each week of Term 2, ahead of time. This will save me many a long night when I get back to school, and will help me to plan ahead and reinforce my long-term curriculum mapping.
- Termly review: Every Christmas I make it a priority to evaluate where I am at now, and where I want to be with my classes by the end of the term. This kind of self-analysis allows me to see where I’m behind and where I’m ahead and how to address those issues. This is really important for final-level exam classes as they must have covered the whole syllabus and have revised by the time the terminal exams come along.
- Getting back to gym: I’ve been slacking off lately (I said this back in 2017 too!). No excuses this time. I’ve got every day free for a few weeks so I’ll be up early and out for a jog before hitting the weights later in the day.
- Responding to student e-mails: Some students in my exam classes will be e-mailing me with questions about past-papers, coursework and subject-specific stuff. If I can help, then I will help. However, if not urgent, then I will deal with these queries when I am back at school.
- Clothes: I’m running out of a few things (such as shirts that actually fit me!). Time for a wardrobe mini-makeover so that I continue to look half-decent at work.
- Writing my next book: My first book was quite well-received, as was my second (The Power of Praise: Empowering Students Through Positive Feedback) so I’ve decided to have a go at writing another. Ten Techniques Every Teacher Needs to Know will explore the themes of classroom management and assessment to inform learning in even greater depth and breadth than my first book, and will build upon the fundamentals covered in one of my most popular blog posts. I see this as ‘downtime’ for me because I really love writing. Can I count this as ‘relaxation’?
- Going back to karate: Another thing I’ve been putting off. Time to get a regular schedule set up.
- Contacting people I should have contacted ages ago. Chasing up old leads and projects that I’ve allowed to slip.
Of course, as well as all of this I plan to enjoy my freedom in Thailand as much as possible. A trip to Pak Chong (where The Big Boss was filmed), along with my long-awaited visit to the Death Railway in Kanchanaburi (still haven’t done that yet – it needs to go on the list!).
How will you use your free-time this Christmas? Is it all one-big holiday or can you think of some small ways to make your life easier when you get back to school?
Teenagers and young people really can be the agents of change the world needs when it comes to sustainability. Fortune Magazine, for example, recently told the story of how global giant UPS was started by two teenagers and a bike back in 1907, and how the company went back to being eco-friendly with its e-bike delivery service in Hamburg back in 2012 (a service which has now expanded to many more cities). Today, I’ve invited Claire Maguire from online student magazine, The Day, to describe some great ways in which teachers can teach sustainability to their students.
Accompanying podcast episode:
How do we teach sustainability to school students?
World news is dominated by reports of extreme flooding, droughts, forest fires and severe storms. It can seem overwhelming for young people; the generation who will increasingly shoulder responsibility for tackling climate change.
What can educators do to empower young people to take positive action?
With more global sustainability events happening around the world every day, it’s the perfect time to bring students into the conversation.
Whether it’s discussing world events such as COP27 or confidently tackling conversations around climate disasters such as floods and fires, there’s no rulebook on how to teach sustainability to school students. But there are a number of approaches that can be effective to really engage young people to take positive action.
The complexities and political implications of sustainability can make it a challenging topic to teach. By following this guide, we hope sustainability can be accessible for your classroom, and you can confidently learn how to teach sustainability to school students in a way that inspires and empowers your class to really engage with these critical issues.
Fortunately, there are so many resources out there to help you tackle these topics.
Online newspaper for schools, The Day, has a team of journalists covering the big issues behind the headlines in climate change in a child-friendly way that aids healthy debate and discussion in the classroom. For example, The Day’s free Build the Change resource, developed in collaboration with the LEGO Group, focuses on a sustainability news topic every week and challenges pupils to come up with creative solutions to environmental issues.
Keep it relevant
Students are much more likely to pay attention if something affects them directly, or it’s something they’ve heard about already. By using the news as a guide, it can transform conversations that might take place at the dinner table or on the bus into a learning experience. From discussions about veganism to debates on electric cars, by honing in on current issues, students are more likely to engage with topics that affect their everyday lives. As sustainability is so broad and intricate, by focusing on specific issues, it can be easier to teach and to digest as a student.
By using the news as a starting point, real-world events become an opportunity for learning. It might be learning that the eighth billionth person will be born and thinking about if the world can cope with the volume of people that really gets your class thinking. Or it might be discovering Sir David Attenborough receiving a knighthood for his sustainability efforts that engages a child who is particularly fond of the English broadcaster and biologist.
Let them have an opinion
Young people are going to be the most affected by the impact of sustainability issues. Encouraging them to form their own point of view on different issues is the best way to really ignite a passion for sustainability.
With the “you decide” feature of the Build the Change resources, students are posed with a thought-provoking question and an option to agree or disagree with the statement.
As sustainability issues are highly debated anyway, it offers the chance for students to work out where they stand on key issues affecting our planet.
Is climate change history repeating itself? Can children save the world? Can the planet cope with 8 billion people? Presenting students with questions like these is a great way to teach sustainability to school students as it allows them to think beyond the news and really analyse the facts, evidence and information in front of them.
You can set up a whole class debate or put students into groups to challenge each other’s way of thinking, and see if they can form a judgement on the topic.
Slot sustainability into the school day
83.1% of educators wish sustainability issues were more broadly implemented across the curriculum*. Time is a luxury most teachers don’t have, and with a jam-packed curriculum having to take priority, sustainability education tends to have to take a backseat.
Yet 45.4% of educators believe sustainability education is very important, and if we want to help students become agents of change, we need to give them the tools to make a difference.
When sustainability lends itself naturally to different subjects across the curriculum, it can be threaded through different lessons over the course of the day. For example, you might learn about passive houses in a science lesson, or rising sea levels might be a conversation topic in a geography class.
The Build the Change weekly resources cover sustainability from a range of angles and allow you to pick and choose activities. This means it can be incorporated into lessons or the school day whenever makes the most sense. You might decide to weave this Build the Change resource on how smart computers can save forests into a technology lesson, or get your science class fascinated by the idea of lab-grown hamburgers. Yet it can also fit nicely into short pockets of the day, with short bursts of activity suited to form time or after lunch.
Source ready-to-go resources
We know lesson planning can be the bane of educators’ lives. Sustainability is a huge topic that young people have lots of questions on, so planning lessons can be time-consuming. But there are a whole host of engaging sustainability resources out there that you can simply get up on the interactive whiteboard or print off and use with your class.
The Build the Change Tuesday worksheets are free, no-prep, no-fuss resources written by journalists and educators that can be used instantly to bring children up to speed on sustainability issues and enable them to voice their opinions. Members of The Day can also receive other climate resources as part of their subscription, from whether economic growth is preventing us from meeting climate targets to whether the world has done enough to prevent climate change.
Think practical and simple
Inspiring the next generation of changemakers starts by getting them to think about how they would tackle these issues. That doesn’t mean students need to solve global warming, but they can begin to explore solutions and ways of living that cause less harm to the planet, such as creating a habitat for endangered animals to survive.
The aim is to engage young people in the issues and inspire them to feel they can make a difference. By giving them practical design, problem-solving or creative challenges to address sustainability issues, they can begin to feel empowered.
Every Build the Change Tuesday article features a hands-on Build the Change challenge related to the news story. For example, an article about rising sea levels inspires students to think about how humans might one day live underwater and challenges them to build an underwater habitat using craft materials or LEGO® bricks. These ideas can be shown to real-life sustainability figures by entering the LEGO competition, where a photograph of students’ ideas just needs to be submitted to the gallery. You can download this pack to find out more.
Empowering your students
When you’re thinking about how to teach sustainability to school students, the most important thing to remember is that you’re preparing them to make a real difference.
Igniting a passion for sustainability where they understand the impact of human actions and genuinely want to make a difference is the best way to give students the tools to become agents of change. How does what they read in the news affect their local community, their home life, or their school?
Put learning into practice
When you’re thinking about how to teach sustainability to school students, think about your school. How sustainable is it? How can you make it more eco-friendly?
Giving students projects that can enable a change right away is a fantastic way to put their passion for sustainability into practice.
You can use students’ ideas to put real-life projects to improve your school’s sustainability by entering The Day’s competition with the LEGO Group. Winning entries can win £2,000 for their school to put towards these projects and take the next step in sustainability.