Why Effective Teachers Have Minimal Classroom Problems

Effective classroom teachers tend to have strengths in classroom management efforts. Teachers who know how to manage their classrooms create an effective environment that is conducive to educating students. The challenge for some teachers is knowing how to organize their classrooms so they have minimal behavior problems. In college, teachers are generally taught how to put together a discipline plan for their classrooms; this plan is supposed to resolve any behavior problems in their classrooms. We know that effective classrooms require more, and teachers who are successful end up creating a classroom environment that is caring, thought-provoking, challenging, and exciting. These classrooms serve as examples of how effective teachers run their classes.

One strategy these teachers use begins on the first day of school. Veteran teachers have learned that how they start the year off will determine the success of their classes for the entire school year. Initiating classroom procedures on the first day of school helps the teachers acclimate students to a well-managed classroom immediately. The sooner students can begin positive routines, the greater the chance that the teacher will run an effective classroom for the rest of the year. Moreover, student achievement is directly related to effective classroom management.

It is imperative for teachers to implement classroom procedures to which students should adhere at all times. These procedures serve as expectations for the students and should include what happens at the beginning of class, how to quiet the class, what to do if students need help, what kind of movement is allowed by students, and what happens at the end of class. Every successful classroom should have these few basic procedures. Additional important procedures include what students should do when they need to get supplies, turn in papers, respond to the fire alarm, behave when dismissed from class, and what to do when they are tardy or absent.

To help teachers become organized, they should identify a location within the room where they post classroom procedures. They should also provide a location within the room to post rules, schedules, and the calendar. Organized teachers also have assignments for the day posted in the same location for consistency, and some teachers require students to come into class and immediately begin working on their “do-now” assignments. This helps students get involved immediately, which sets the tone for the class.

Teachers can get support for their classroom procedures by sending a letter of introduction home with students and including a copy of the classroom procedures for the parents to review. This is a great way to start developing that all-important relationship with parents. Additional information to send to parents includes an academic action plan or syllabus for the semester. Students have a tendency to behave better when the teacher has developed a relationship with their parents.

In addition to classroom procedures, successful teachers have well-managed classrooms that are student centered; they are conducive to students’ collaboration and enable students to feel as if they are a part of the class. Student-centered classrooms generally have special seating arrangements so classmates can share throughout the day. In addition, student-centered classrooms provide students with options for projects and assignments. Students in these classrooms spend a lot of time working on group assignments, which helps students become confident in working with people. Student-centered classrooms also bring students closer together, which should lead to greater student achievement and fewer classroom problems. This strategy helps teachers successfully organize their classrooms, which is an excellent classroom management technique.

To add to the success of these classrooms, teachers should incorporate activities that are meaningful and engaging for their students. This will keep students interested, which is critical in successful classrooms. Students need to feel that they are part of the class and that the material they are learning is important. When students demonstrate that they understand these lessons and are invited to provide feedback about them, it contributes to the success of the class. Teachers can enhance such success by encouraging students to participate and celebrating their successes whenever possible. Some teachers celebrate with verbal praise, some with written acknowledgment, and some by posting students’ works throughout the classroom.

This entire process promotes efforts to establish positive teacher-student relationships. When students form close relationships with their teachers, they feel a sense of belonging, which is a critical factor in effective classroom management. In summary, teachers who effectively manage their classrooms demonstrate a positive attitude, treat students fairly, are caring, have high expectations for students, know students’ needs, are organized and prepared, and provide meaningful and engaging lessons.

The Young Teacher’s Guide to Long Lessons

Lessons with duration of 60 minutes or more in a high school create a new set of conditions for the teacher and the students in his/her class.

It is important to understand the issues and to devise ways to overcome these issues and make use of the advantages that the longer lesson period gives the teacher.

These issues discussed below come out of my own experience in the class room when my school changed from six 40 minute periods per day to four 70 minutes per day. It also reflects the experience of the staff of my department.

The issues are in no particular order of significance but I thought it was important to raise them.

1. It’s hard work for teachers and students. It is impossible for most students and teachers to concentrate effectively on one topic for long periods such as one hour. There must be short breaks or changes in what you are doing to sustain the interest and concentration of both students and teachers.

2. Your available teaching time must become “SACRED”. Don’t let anyone have it without a fight – even the administration. Longer periods mean less numbers of periods. Therefore, one lost period becomes a significant percentage of your teaching time in any teaching week.

3. You must have a homework/study strategy for students. Since you will see the class less often, you will need to suggest when they do homework and when they do study, e.g. do the homework tonight to keep the learning fresh and reinforce quickly or do it the night before the next lesson to have it fresh in the students’ minds.

4. Lack of continuity. This occurs when students are absent simply because they lose such a large percentage of their learning time making it difficult to catch up on the missed work. Additionally, for students who are present in class, there may be as many as four days between successive lessons.

5. Work ethic is difficult to develop. Points 2 to 4 above support this point.

6. Strategy for absent student. It is important to ensure that absent students do not get left behind. What I did was to keep in my diary a detailed account of what I achieved in each lesson. I made sure I kept any handouts for absent students. I wrote the names of all absent students on any handout ready to give to the absentees in their next lesson. With the longer period, I was able to spend a little time with them to bring them up to date.

7. Strategy for absent teachers. With the longer lessons, a teacher’s absence had a greater impact on the class. Therefore, it is important to plan an effective lesson to cover that absence.

8. Detailed planning and full use of time is essential. It is easy to “waste” time. Plan some extra, short activities for any unexpected spare time that comes in a lesson, e.g. quiz or problem solving activity.

9. Group planning will be essential. If you are part of a team of teachers allocated to the same year level and/or subject, Team Teaching could ease the burden of long lessons and add variety to help maintain student interest and concentration. Students enjoy a change of teacher from time to time.

10. I always seemed to be rushing to cover the course when long lessons were first introduced. This is why you must plan minutely how to use every minute of the long period. What I did was to plan to complete the work program for the term or semester at least a week ahead of any planned assessment.

11. You need to divide your lessons into short segments to survive. Each segment allows you and your students a respite and a chance to “recharge your and their batteries”. Have a basic structure for each lesson. Your students should be aware of this structure. Publish it on your board each lesson.

12. Teach skills first and foremost. Good basics enhance a student’s chance of being successful in all areas of your course, especially in the more challenging areas of problem solving and critical thinking.

13. Student Mentors. Encourage older students to form study groups of four or five to work together out of school. In class, use your talented students to explain ideas to the class as a whole or to individual students. This is good for their personal development. Students often learn much from their class mates as they tend to “speak the same language”.

14. There is time to teach students skills that need extensive time to develop, e.g. develop a logical decision-making process, experimental procedures in Science, developing an argument in History.

15. You can teach a whole topic in one lesson and use subsequent lessons to consolidate. You can give an overview initially, showing where the topic is leading.

16. Students must become more accountable for their learning, homework, study and examination technique. Teach these skills in class in short bursts over time. Revisit these skills as often as you can to reinforce and develop.

17. Learn to work smart – use every available tool or idea you can, e.g. multiple intelligences, listening skills, variety of teaching strategies.

18. Help students learn to think, write and speak using the language and the terminology of your subject disciplines. Give short, subject vocabulary tests/quizzes to enhance these skills and to add another segment to your long lessons.

Elementary School Teachers, Counselors, and Career Education

As teachers and counselors, you know that the elementary school years are important. During the elementary school years, your students build visions of what they desire to do in their lives as they contribute to the workforce. With your help, your students remain open to new career ideas and possibilities. As you work with your students, your students do not make premature career choices or career preparations. For your students, elementary school is a time to build awareness.

As elementary school teachers and counselors, you use career education to promote self-worth, skill development, and decision making strategies. Your activities are designed to build self, family, school, community, and career awareness. You use age-appropriate materials that match your students’ developmental levels. These activities expose your students to a variety of different jobs, career information sources, and the reasons why people work.

When you prepare to develop age-appropriate materials products, tests and tools, you use career models like the National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG). The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) have domains, goals, and indicators. Each domain represents a developmental area. Under each domain, there are goals or competencies. For each goal, indicators highlight the knowledge and skills needed to achieve the goal. The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) prepares you to make materials that are suitable for your students.

As a elementary school counselors and teachers, you create individual career plans and portfolios. Individual career plans (ICP) –

  • Develop self-awareness
  • Identify initial career goals and educational plans
  • Increase employability and decision making skills

Individual career portfolios summarize career awareness activities and experiences that occur during the school year. In addition to individual career plans and portfolios, you use a variety of resources –

    Career days

  • Career fairs
  • Community speakers
  • Field trips
  • Information interviewing
  • Literary works
  • Mentors
  • Collages, murals
  • Educational games
  • Job shadowing
  • Dramatic presentations

All of the career activities and tools combine academic work with career pathways. Career activities serve as foundations for future skills. As teachers and counselors, you help students build connections between academics and real life situations. You use career education activities to stress the importance of language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.

You show students that Language Arts have many uses in the work force:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening skills

You provide examples that show how people solve problems when they use Mathematics. Different types of Mathematics include:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division

In Social Studies, your students learn how skills that are necessary to be successful in the global marketplace. In Social Studies, your students learn about –

  • Countries
  • Languages
  • Cultures

Your students learn the importance of Science gaining skills to solve problems. You show your students how applications of Science are used in different industries, such as –

  • Food
  • Media
  • Agriculture
  • Automotive industry

The connections between academics and real life situations reinforce, develop, and expand previously learned skills. In summary, as a elementary school teachers and counselors, you help students:

  • Know and value self
  • Build self-esteem and confidence
  • Learn and apply the academic material
  • Identify interests and build relationships between the school environment and the work force
  • Build academic, communication, problem solving, and social skills
  • Increase awareness of the need for future jobs skills
  • See the connections between learning in school, academic skills, job related skills, and careers
  • See career possibilities
  • See themselves as a future contributor to the job force
  • Receive empowerment
  • Build self-determination

As counselors and teachers, you build self-awareness, family awareness, school awareness, community awareness, career/ work awareness, attitude development, skill development, decision making strategies, and self-worth. You use age-appropriate materials that match the developmental levels of the students. Examples of activities include individual career plans (ICP), individual career portfolios, career days, career fairs, field trips, information interviewing, and library book reports.

After completing career education activities, your students are prone to get higher grades, academic achievement, school involvement, and interpersonal skills. In addition, your students are more adept to complete more complex courses and have higher graduation rates from high school. As your students get older, they will achieve their career visions and goals.

References

1. American Counseling Association, Office of Public Policy and Legislation. (2007). Effectiveness of School Counseling. Alexandria, VA: Author.

2. Angel, N. Faye; Mooney, Marianne. (1996, December). Work-in-Progress: Career and Work Education for Elementary Students. (ED404516). Cincinnati, OH: Paper presented at the American Vocational Association Convention.

3. Benning, Cathleen; Bergt, Richard; Sausaman, Pamela. (2003, May). Improving Student Awareness of Careers through a Variety of Strategies. Thesis: Action Research Project. (ED481018). Chicago, Illinois: Saint Xavier University.

4. Career Tec. (2000). K-12 Career Awareness & Development Sequence [with Appendices, Executive and Implementation Guide]. (ED450219) .Springfield, Il: Author.

5. Carey, John. (2003, January). What are the Expected Benefits Associated with Implementing a Comprehensive Guidance Program. School counseling Research Brief 1.1. Amherst, MA: Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research.

6. Dare, Donna E.; Maddy-Bernstein, Carolyn. (1999, September). Career Guidance Resource Guide for Elementary and Middle/Junior High School Educators. (ED434216). Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

7. DuVall, Patricia. (1995).Let’s Get Serious about Career Education for Elementary Students. AACE Bonus Briefs. (ED386603). Hermosa Beach, CA: AACE Bonus Briefs.

8. Ediger, Marlow. (2000, July). Vocational Education in the Elementary School. (ED442979) Opinion Papers

9. Gerver, Miriam, Shanley, Judy, O Cummings, Mindee. (2/14/02). Answering the Question EMSTAC Extra Elementary and Middle Schools. Washington, DC: Technical Assistance Center, (EMSTAC).

10. Hurley, Dan, Ed.; Thorp, Jim, Ed. (2002, May). Decisions without Direction: Career Guidance and Decision-Making among American Youth. (ED465895). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Ferris State University Career Institute for Education and Workforce Development.

11. Maddy-Bernstein, Carolyn; Dare, Donna E. (1997,December).Career Guidance for Elementary and Middle School Students. Office of Student Services Brief, v9 n1. (ED415353). Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

12. Ohio Department of Education, Division of Vocational and Career Education, Ohio Career Development Blueprint, Individual Career Plan, K to 5 (ED449322). Columbus, Ohio, 2000

13. Splete, Howard; Stewart, Amy. (1990). Competency-Based Career Development Strategies and the National Career Development Guidelines. Information Series No. 345. (ED327739). Columbus, Ohio: ERIC Clearinghouse on Education and Training for Employment & Ohio State University

14. U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education. (1994, 2004). National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG). Washington, DC: Author.

15. Williams, Jean A., Ed. (1999, January). Elementary Career Awareness Guide: A Resource for Elementary School Counselors and Teachers. (ED445293). Raleigh, NC: NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Job Ready.

16. Woal, S. Theodore. (1995). Career Education–The Early Years. AACE Bonus Briefs. (ED386603). Hermosa Beach, CA: AACE Bonus Briefs.

Tips for High School Teachers with ADHD Students: Presenting Your Lesson

Thank you to all of our professional educators who dedicate themselves to our children! We know how difficult it can be working with ADHD children, so here are your teacher tips for the week, brought to you by the ADHD Information Library and ADDinSchool.com. This is a sampling of over 500 classroom interventions for your use at http://www.ADDinSchool.com.

Here are some tips on presenting your lesson ADHD students. Remember, the best interventions are the ones that will help all of your students be more successful, not just the ADHD students.

Try to provide an outline with the key concepts or vocabulary prior to lesson presentation. The students can follow along and see the main concepts and terms as you present the lesson.

ADHD kids are easily bored, even by you. Try to increase the pace of lesson presentation. Resist the temptation to get sidetracked. Get excited about your lesson! And communicate your excitement to your students!

Include a variety of learning activities during each lesson. Use multi-sensory presentations, but screen audio?visual aids to be sure that distractions are kept to a minimum. For example, be sure interesting pictures and or sounds relate directly to the material to be learned. Many teachers are now using PowerPoint presentations or Astound presentations for their students with great effect.

Provide self-correcting materials for immediate feedback to the ADD ADHD student.

Use computer assisted instruction, both in terms of the student at a computer, and also in terms of presenting information via PowerPoint presentations.

Use cooperative learning activities, particularly those that assign each teen in a group a specific role or piece of information that must be shared with the group. Pair students to check work. Provide peer tutoring to help ADD ADHD student’s review concepts.

Let ADD ADHD students share recently learned concepts with struggling peers. Use peer tutoring whenever possible. Older students to help your attention deficit students, and perhaps allowing him to tutor a younger student.

The more exciting a subject is to an ADD ADHD students, the better he will learn.

Hopefully these will help the ADHD students in your classroom to be more successful. You can learn more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder at the ADHD Information Library.

Piano Teaching Tips For Highly Motivated Music Teachers

Are you a music teacher who intends to improve himself and gain professional growth? Well, read on as this blog aims to cite and identify some relevant and effective piano teaching tips – applicable to all music teachers out there.

Music education as well as learning various musical instruments has become more and more interesting, competitive and in-demand. Aside from arts, science and technology, music generally has turned out to be both the passion and the profession of most music teachers, musicians and music educators. With this, music teachers around the globe are motivated and inspired to learn new tricks, strategies and techniques more than to what they are used to. Here are some of the useful piano teaching tips that can make you both effective and efficient:

Time and stress management. Music teaching as well as teaching any other subjects requires time, effort and other resources. When you leave your classroom or private music studio, your work doesn’t stop. Sometimes you bring your work along with you at home – accomplishing unfinished businesses, unchecked and unrecorded activities, worksheets and quizzes. With these tedious tasks, you need to learn how to manage your time and organize your workloads. Proper time management draws you closer to a more successful and happy teacher life; thus, eliminating risks and chances of getting stressed out.

Continuous learning. Music teachers enhance their skills and achieve professional growth through various workshops, seminars and conferences. These series of training sessions help them in building enough self-confidence and self-esteem in teaching individuals from different ages with different lifestyles. With the kind of professional development they have, they have become fully-equipped with the right skills, knowledge and expertise. Also, they tend to update themselves with the latest piano teaching tips as well as the newest and most effective music teaching strategies.

Professionalism. This term has a wide array of meanings and significance. From one level to another, this needs continuous learning, dedication and passion. This also refers to good and reliable customer service, work ethics, and business integrity that are often grouped together and mixed up in other people’s minds as one big concept. Others see this as one’s personal commitment to anything that he does, thinks, says and feels

It is true that music teaching is one big responsibility and noble profession; thus, it requires much time, effort and resources. To be tagged as a professional, music teachers must learn how to handle different kinds of learners, situations and circumstances with all composure, character and fairness.

Consequently, music and piano teachers must willingly improve themselves for more effective comprehensive, innovative and interactive teaching strategies and techniques – making their students appreciate and love both learning music and music as a whole. As music educators, remember that you can inspire your students in many ways and touch their lives as well – more than just motivating and encouraging them to learn.

The above piano teaching tips allow many music teachers around the globe consider themselves professionals and have become worthy of respect, trust and appreciation at all times. So make yourselves equipped with the right weapons to make your students and parents realize that teaching is both your profession and passion – teaching music by heart.