As a teacher, you will be in charge of several different classes which will include pupils of different age groups and varying abilities. Teachers therefore need to hold within themselves the flexibility to comfortably adapt themselves to a range of teaching methods. The pupils in these different groups will have their own unique way of learning and understanding the work, therefore a method of teaching used for one group of students may have to be modified for a different group of students. This is something you will learn to do step by step as your teaching career progresses and even though initially you may find it to be quite daunting, be assured that this is something you will soon familiarize yourself with.
Regardless of which teaching method you adapt to, which resources you prefer to use and which techniques you decide is best in order to engage the students, the key to a successful lesson most probably lies within the whole concept of creating a positive classroom atmosphere; without this, no matter how well you have planned your lesson, the pupils may not engage as well as you would hope. There are a few points I would like to share which will hopefully provide you with a useful insight into the ways this can be possible:
- Make learning fun
No matter which age group you are teaching, it is vital to grasp the student’s attention by making sure you convey the message that learning can be fun, and is not just something teachers do to punish them! By all means, set aside some quiet working time within the lesson, but also try to incorporate discussions, debates, and possibly role play so that the students can interact with each other in a fun way and learn at the same time. Try to create puzzles or games which will help them to understand the topics in an exciting way as opposed to the conventional way of teaching where the teacher merely dictates the work.
- Connect with the students
You are in charge of the classroom so understandably there needs to be some level of authority which you need to express in order to earn their respect; however this does not mean you have to be entirely formal with them. Regular informal discussions with the students is also a good way of creating a positive environment. This does not have to take over the whole lesson, maybe 5-10 minutes at the beginning or end of the lesson on some occasions. Ask them what they did at the weekend, maybe share a few of your own stories. Talk about your hobbies, try to make them comfortable enough to talk about things they enjoy doing. Discuss current affairs, politics, pop culture, music, sports, TV programmed etc. This way you can develop a comfort level with them, and the positive discussions which take place will provide a positive impact on their learning environment too.
- Be approachable
It is important to understand that the role of a teacher is also that of a carer and well wisher, therefore you need to create an environment where the students can feel safe.