5 changes to make in your Classroom
Every profession makes technological advances. Every patient expects their doctor to know the latest and most cutting edge techniques. When asking a contractor to create a custom kitchen, you expect to have top model appliances. Yet, in the classroom, there are subjects covered and lessons taught just as they were fifty years ago. How can we expect to prepare students for the an unknown future, when we teach lessons from the past. As teachers, we must realize that changes must be made. Here are 5 changes to make in your classroom, that can add a whole new dimension to your teaching.
Although changes can feel terribly hard to make, they are necessary. Often we can begin to feel comfortable in our own routine. When we reflect upon our practice, it is easy to say that the students are passing the necessary exams, so I must be doing the job that I need to do. But is it really true? Is our job to have students pass a test or is it to be prepared for life? The following list gives ideas for 5 changes to make in your classroom that won’t be too painful and will have a big impact on students.
- Group Work
The structure of the workplace has evolved a great deal. People spend less time in cubicles and more time collaborating. This type of shared work is not easy or comfortable for many people. Practice is needed to learn how to set common goals, work around schedules and to truly share the workload. By provided students with the opportunity to work in groups, they will have the opportunity to hone the skills needed for the workplace.
Student Led Learning
2. Student Led Learning
Relinquishing control in the classroom is terribly difficult for a teacher. We often believe that without our direct instruction, the classroom could simply not go on. But the truth is, students are often much more demanding teachers than teachers are. Children are inquisitive and creative, when given the opportunity to stretch, they will. Begin by giving the class a topic and allow them to come up with the assignment or project. When students are empowered in the classroom, their passion and productivity increase.
The world has changed and the biggest change is the technology we use. We went from microfilm to saying “Ok Google” to our phones. The children we teach will have as many, if not more changes in their lives. It is our job not only to teach them how to adapt, but to model it as well. Of course a student can “learn the content the old way”, but then all we are teaching is content. If we take the time to learn a new program, access a new webpage or embed a new technology, we then teach not only our content, but that new technology as well. Two birds, one stone. More about teaching and technology here.
4. Timed Work
Although this may seem like a high stress, traditional and dated activity. It actually provides many different opportunities for student learning and simulates a real life situation that creates motivation for students. Timed work can come in the form of writing, reading or completing an activity. After the time period is completed, both teachers and students can evaluate of effective the work was in the given time.
Creating opportunities for students to complete authentic research allows them to put all we teach into practice. As teachers, our end goals is to support children and allow them to learn how to teach themselves. Our end goal for student learning should not be to have students memorize facts, but to learn how to learn. Research provides the avenue to work on all of the skills needed to become lifelong learners. Research can come in a variety of forms, however, it is up to us to select the research strategy best suited for our work.
By using these 5 changes to make in your classroom, we can far better prepare our students for a life of learning. Of course it is easy to continue to do the same thing, especially if we see students passing tests and hitting benchmarks. But as educators, we must push ourselves and model how to be the best we can be. When students see us evolving, changing and growing, it will inspire them to do the same.