By Teachers, For Teachers
Being a teacher means that sometimes you have to come up with a few unique ways to get through the day. Whether it’s using teaching strategies to figure out how to get your students to focus, stop procrastinating, or how to respect authority, teachers are always coming up with new tips and tricks that work for them. Here are a few time-honored teaching strategies on a variety of educational topics all designed to help you out.
It’s never easy to keep a child’s attention. These days, it’s getting even harder to keep students focused, especially with the average child attention span being only about 8 seconds. Here are a few tips to help your students minds stay focused while they’re learning.
The number one way that you can help your students to focus is give to them a few brain breaks throughout the day. A brain break is a simple physical and mental exercise that is designed to restore attention. The theory is that learning through movement increases oxygen into the bloodstream, which leads to improved concentration. You’ll be able to find something that will help your students unwind and refocus in this brain breaks guide.
You can easily help students focus simply by removing distractions. If a light in the room is distracting for many students, you can turn it off. Or, if students are too loud in the hallway, you can shut the door. Remove anything that you notice that is, or can be, a distraction to the students.
How many times have you told a student to stop procrastinating? You are not alone -- many teachers feel your pain. The problem with procrastinating students is that many of them think that by procrastinating, it is saving them time, when in fact they end up spending more time learning information that they’ll just forget. Here’s how to stop them from doing this.
Many students find that goal-setting is a great way to avoid procrastination. Have students think of a small goal they’d like to accomplish, and once they achieve their goal, have them receive a reward for completing it. This is can be a great motivator for students.
Have students create a “To do” list to help them visually see what needs to be done. Once they create their list, they should prioritize it. For example, their list may say, “Finish homework in ELA and science today, and study for test in Social studies for Friday.” They would then prioritize their homework and studying so they know what to do first, next, last, etc. Taking a few minutes to write out this information can help avoid procrastinating.
You need to earn students’ respect first in order for them to respect you. However, there are a few tricks that teachers use to speed up the process. Here are a few suggestions.
You must always mean what you say and say what you mean. Your word is golden. Never go back on your word, or your students will have a hard time respecting you. When you tell your students something, make sure that you mean it and that you do it.
Your students want to know that they have some sort of control over themselves and their learning, so give it to them. Give them choices on homework, projects, etc. By giving students a sense of control, you are showing them that you trust their judgment, therefore giving them the opportunity to respect you.
As you know, honesty is an important quality to have. This character trait can help students’ relationships thrive. Here are a few of the best tips for teaching students about honesty.
To give students a better understanding of what being an honest person looks like, have them role play different scenarios. One student is an honest person in the scenario, while another is dishonest. This will visually show them how they should and should not act.
One thing that many children (mostly teenagers) do is compare themselves to others (my nose is too big, my hair is too frizzy). They do this because they are not confident or comfortable in their own skin yet, and they think that lying or even exaggerating about themselves will help to make them look better. Teach students to never compare themselves to others and to always strive to be individuals. You can have them play the comparison game, where students look at photographs and find similarities in themselves, not faults.
If you’re having trouble getting your students motivated, then you will need to try both of these teacher-tested tricks.
If you want to create some excitement in your classroom, then create a friendly competition. Divide students into two groups and compete in a relay race or play a Jeopardy!-style game. Any kind of academic spin that you can put on a fun competitive game will help to boost student engagement.
Sometimes all you need to spark student interest is to move your students out of the same old learning environment that they are used to, and into somewhere new and exciting. Take students on a field trip, move them into the hallway or another classroom for one subject. Or try taking your lessons outdoors. These can all be great ways to gain student interest.
What are your favorite teaching strategies and tricks for the classroom? Please share them in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.