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.
Flipped learning is gaining a well-earned reputation as being an effective method for intense, yet engaging, method of knowledge acquisition. The Brookings Institution, for example, describes students in the flipped classroom as viewing digitized or online material as “pre-class homework”, which they complete before they spend in-class time “engaged in active learning experiences such as discussions, peer teaching, presentations, projects, problem solving, computations, and group activities.”
Today, I’ve invited Kiara Miller from The Speakingnerd to share her ideas on why teachers should try out flipped learning for themselves.
With the goal of improving the quality of education and students’ academic performance, many instructional methodologies have popped up. The modern world currently presents a range of innovative teaching methods that can make a difference in any classroom. Besides active learning strategies, flexible learning environments, and personalized learning, flipped classrooms are now a common instructional method worldwide.
Flipped classrooms were introduced by Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams in 2007, who were high school chemistry teachers by then. They elaborately discussed what flipped classroom is and its importance in their book: “Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class every day (2012)”. At this juncture, we would like to explore what flipped classrooms are and some of the major reasons for teachers to try them out.
What Flipped Classrooms Are!
A flipped classroom is a form of blended learning model where students learn about new concepts at home. They then discuss their findings with their teachers and the rest of the students in a classroom. With this teaching approach, students interact with the course material beforehand and while inside the classroom, they engage in interactive group learning activities.
Students aren’t bombarded with new material, but rather, they come with their own understanding of the concepts. That is through online videos and any other supporting content that can be text-based. It can also be provided by a teacher or students can do their own research.
With flipped classrooms, students get the chance to research topics, develop their own pace while learning at home, assess findings, and compare insights. Within a classroom, students make presentations, perform experiments, and engage in face-to-face discussions.
This helps them share their insights and attain an in-depth understanding of the material. Due to the benefits associated with them, flipped classrooms are now a popular pedagogical approach in many educational institutions worldwide.
They cater to some degree of personalization in learning which improves learning results. But how and why should teachers try out flipped classrooms?
Reasons for Teachers to Try Out Flipped Classrooms
Flipped classrooms can be advantageous to both learners and teachers in many ways. Besides improving learning spaces, flipped classrooms are associated with the following benefits:
#1: Reduce the Pressure of Teaching
Introducing learners to new concepts right in the classroom may not be impactful as letting students research the topics before discussing them in class. Flipped classrooms help students to attain a good level of background knowledge on a topic. They are able to leverage reflection models to assess their learning capabilities in conjunction with the learning mediums that can help them understand the material better.
On the other hand, teachers face a range of challenges that most times impact their mental health, productivity, and lesson delivery efficacy. Introducing intricate topics to students will require a lot of time to make learners comprehend the topics effectively.
Teachers have to explain a lot to ensure that every student grasps the content. A teacher is also tasked to try out different teaching methods to help a class understand better. This reduces the amount of free class time.
However, with flipped classrooms, teachers can optimize classroom time and focus on making topics more comprehensible. For example, depending on the students’ doubts, a teacher can opt for a teaching method that solves problems effectively. For example, leverage a presentation, video, or whole class discussion. This lessens the pressure on teachers and allows them to enjoy their profession more.
#2: Cultivates Independent Learning Skills
The traditional teaching methods heavily depend on teachers’ input. Students largely have to sit in a classroom and listen to what teachers say or observe what they are doing. However, flipped teaching mediums are the opposite. They are a reversed medium of learning and require a student to research topics, assess material and develop a personal understanding of it.
Flipped classrooms encourage independent learning. Learners take ownership of the learning process and are able to track their progress. Commonly, this instructional approach eliminates spoon-feeding which is highly noticed with the traditional learning medium.
Rather, students are able to attain prior knowledge about a topic. Through this, they develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking capabilities, and independent learning skills. With that, they are able to become active learners who know how to apply concepts in real life.
On the other hand, this optimizes student-teacher interactions in a classroom. Teachers are able to deliver more within a single session rather than wasting a lot of time explaining a concept.
#3: Can Improve Lesson Engagement
One of the major challenges that modern teachers face is the increasing rate of student disengagement. It is quite difficult to keep students focused and interested in learning in the modern days. Yet, engagement is key to material comprehension and memorization.
Engagement is important for academic success and over 70% of educators agree with this. Without engagement, students become passive learners. They are hindered from grasping the material to the core or even being creative with it.
However, introducing flipped classrooms to students can boost their morale in learning. It also instills a sense of accountability as they must produce their research in front of the class. Also, as they listen to others’ findings, they are able to competitively make suggestions.
In the long run, this improves classroom engagement and learning experiences. On the other hand, flipped classrooms can pave the way to better classroom management. This happens with the fact that teachers are able to alter learning environments which eliminates monotony.
#4: Teachers Can Reuse Learning Material
The good thing about flipped classrooms is that teachers don’t need to keep on creating study material for the same concepts. Also, students can leverage the material they create afterward. Both teachers and students only need to make improvements in the content as per the latest findings.
Teachers can also tailor the content to learning gaps. Also, the material can be shared online and reviewed at any time. Students can also revisit the material to clarify areas they never understood properly. This can add to third-party sources such as educational apps that support personalized learning.
These possibilities optimize learning experiences and allow teachers to attain good leeway when it comes to planning and delivering lessons.
#5: Improves Academic Outcomes
When students are tasked to study on their own, it imposes a certain level of responsibility. Flipped classrooms are a good way to help students optimize their learning period and make classroom interactions more productive.
It should be noted that personalized learning cultivates a deeper understanding of the course material. It also improves cognitive skills, for example, analytical and critical thinking. Students are able to dimensionally analyze concepts and learn how to apply them. This helps them perform academically better.
It is a teacher’s responsibility to help students learn and excel academically. With this, the traditional teaching mediums are no longer effective in meeting the ever-changing learning needs. Modern students must possess innovative skills to solve problems and remain relevant in this technologically driven world.
If you’re a teacher looking for some of the best ways to alter your classroom environment, and improve student engagement or online learning experiences, then try out flipped classrooms. They are reliable in helping students get the best out of their study time. On the other hand, they can reduce heavy workloads and optimize the limited personal time on the teachers’ side.
More so, they can help teachers manage learners’ behaviors and student excuses. Therefore, every teacher can try out flipped classrooms to modify learning environments.
Accompanying podcast episode:
The best definition I have found for what ‘Classroom Management’ actually means comes from Carol Weinstein and Nancy Schafer at Oxford Bibliographies:
Classroom management can be defined as the actions teachers take to establish and sustain an environment that fosters students’ academic achievement as well as their social, emotional, and moral growth. In other words, the goal of classroom management is not order for order’s sake, but order for the sake of learning.
When order breaks down in the classroom, student learning is affected and teachers’ stress levels, burnout and anxiety rise – which sometimes leads to teachers making the decision to leave the profession (McCarthy et. al., 2022). It is therefore in every teacher’s best interest to master the fundamental techniques of effective classroom management.
I’m not sure if what they say about classroom presence is true or not – either you’ve got it or you don’t! If you do, it’s likely that you won’t have too many problems with classroom management, because more than half the battle is won just by your presence in the classroom. Students look up to you, and you have complete control over the class because you demand high standards from them.
If you need help, here are five tips that may assist with classroom management. As with most ailments: prevention is better than cure. Once you’ve lost their attention, it’s harder to rein them back in.
Here’s how you could prevent problems from cropping up:
- Be prepared: Being prepared for your lesson shows in your body language and this reflects in your delivery of lessons, conversely being under-prepared shows too! A good plan, a complete set of resources (from working whiteboard markers and flashcards, to crib notes) – anything you need should be organised and ready for use, without you having to worry about them. As you segue from one stage to the next, your students shouldn’t have time for distractions. If, however, your transitions lead to dead time (time with your back to the class), you’re likely to have bored students who will find something else to do.
- Use students’ names: calling out their names ensures they’ll do what they need to do, to not be “called out” for negative reasons. Rather than pointing and saying, “You at the back, please be seated”. (‘YOU’ will probably turn his/her head and pretend to look at another student and pretend they’re not at fault.) Using their names will leave no room for doubt. Learning their names also shows that you care, and knowing that their teacher cares, will give them more reason to stay engaged.
- Limit distractions: This could mean anything from distractions on a student’s desk, to visuals in a classroom, to views outside the classroom, to sounds. Try to limit whatever is within your control. Establish classroom routines where students start the class with cleared desks – or have only what is required on their desks – no extra books, stationary, or even water bottles. If your students have phones, request them to turn OFF vibrate mode, or put their phones inside their bags, rather than in their pockets.
- Use non-verbal hand signals: Avoid students calling out aloud to request permission to use the toilet, for example, by having a hand signal for the same. Design similar signals for other circumstances too. When the student gets your attention by doing the signal, a simple nod of your head will grant permission. Rather than him asking you a question and having you answer it – thereby distracting the entire class and possibly diverting your train of thought.
- Call and response: We know all too well that even at the best of times, you’re going to have situations when you’ve lost their attention, the class is loud and they’re bouncing off the walls and you do actually need to try and rein them in! Here are my favourites:
- T (teacher): “Yo! Yo! Yo!” Ss (students): “Yo! What’s up!” (Great for middle-schoolers.)
- T: “1-2-3” Ss: “Eyes on me” T: “1,2” Ss: “Eyes on you“
Start the chant and continue till the whole class is responding. The first few times you do this, maybe some students won’t join in. Carry on – even if it means you’ve said it 8-10 times, and the rest of the students will egg on the “stragglers”.
And, finally, when all else fails, and your voice won’t work – stand still and silent with your right hand raised over your head. As you make eye contact with the students they must raise their right hand, stop doing whatever they’re doing and stop speaking. They make eye contact with the others who must in turn do the same. Think of this as the opposite of a flash mob. Once the entire gathering is quiet, you have their undivided attention.