A Good Classroom Management Strategy
This is a term I first saw in video lessons of Cult of Pedagogy, a method I believe most teachers use to redirect the attention of one or two students who are off track, not listening while we are giving the lesson. So the way it works was, instead of calling the students’ names and yell at them, just asking a content-related question so that their attention can be redirected back to the content everyone else is working on. The class thus will still focus on the content and not the students who are off track. Sounds pretty familiar!
The first few minutes of the video was the usual introduction as I expected it to be - Jennifer (I hope she doesn’t mind me calling her that) explains how this method works. When she finally talks about why the specific type of questions she chose to ask the distracted students. I was totally in awe!! This is what she said,
...the question needs to be easy enough so the students can answer, so that the dignity of the students and teacher-student relationship can be maintained and preserved.
Well, if you are as shock as I am, we are probably coming from similar education system....
I guess teachers who are like me raised and educated by the traditional Asian system can share similar feelings. When practice this method, what we normally do is to directly put the kids on the spot with no mercy so that they know what they are doing is wrong and humiliation is something they deserve.
Does yelling at the kids change anything? The answer is obvious if we look at what’s happening in the class and on the streets - the escalated tension that finally erupted in upper grades, and the vrooming motorcycles in crowded streets.
If I had learned anything from this video, a teacher’s empathetic mind is probably the beginning of any educational revolution here in Taiwan. How we talk to the kids matters more than what we preach. You might say but it’s inevitable and the kids are ... but, seriously, if we WANT to see any changes, it has to to start with ourselves.
Here is the link to the video if you are interested in the original video clip:
Distract the Distractor by Jennifer Gonzales.
Jennifer Gonzales in her podcast Cult of Pedagogy, episode 92, talks about how worksheets have been used as busy sheets to keep students busy and waiting for the time to pass. While worksheets can be used to as a pacifier in class, it can, on the other hand be used to engage the learners better if designed critically. When teachers create worksheets with a goal to engage learners in thinking, collaborating and sharing, it is a great tool in class and thus termed as Power sheets.
Jennifer moves on to talk about a variety of ways worksheets can be applied in the classroom with better learning. One of the ideas which has been discussed in vast is differentiation.
Of course worksheets can be powerful tools to aid students learning in a multi-leveled classroom. I am guessing that for all the worksheets handed out, we teacher either discuss the worksheets as a class or individually give feedback to the students who are having problems. As a subject teacher with 150 students with whom we meet only 120 minutes per week, I am wondering whether there are ways to reach the students better with differentiated worksheets...
For those who are interested. Here is the original link to the website and podcast.
An enthusiastic ELT/CLIL teacher, passionate educator, researcher, teacher trainer, Apple Teacher. Seesaw ambassador and curriculum developer.