Skills mentioned in Module 3B are the key to effective teaching.
The lessons learned in this module reaffirmed my faith in certain strategies that I have been following in my classroom and taught me some new ones. Armed with the tried & tested and new strategies, I feel more confident in teaching my students and ensuring meaningful learning by them.
The skills that a teacher needs to be effective are:
- Planning instruction:A teacher goes in the class with the intention to teach and educate the students. Planning instruction which is of value for the learners becomes a top priority for the teachers. But this can happen only when the teacher knows the students well.
At the beginning of every academic year, I emply various methods to gather as much information about my students as possible. First and foremost, I meet the previous year’s teachers and the school counselors to know more about the strengths/weaknesses/needs of my students. Then, I send a detailed questionnaire to the parents of my students to find out their concerns and expectations from their children and from me. All the data gathered helps me in knowing the background of my students.
Once I have this information, I try to modify my lessons (though it is not possibe nor desirable to create individual plans to suit the requirements of each student).
In our school, we try to follow ‘Backward by Design”. So According to the curriculum, we design what we want our students to learn at the end of the unit, how to teach so that those outcomes can be acheived. The unit starts with pre-assessment and formative assessments happen throughout followed by the summative task.
- Class management- all lesson planning is ineffective if a teacher cant manage the class. An unruly class can never learn. In the 1st week of the school year, I make ‘essential agreements’ with my students. I pass the onus to make these on my students so that they feel the ownership and will follow the same more diligently. I am still experimenting with the procedure for tracking HW submissions.
- Motivation- A motivated class learns willingly and this learning becomes life-long. Knowing my students, treating them as intelligent and capable individuals, spending free time with them, keeping the content relevant and meaningful, giving appropriate challenges are some of the ways in which I try to keep my class motivated. However, I still have to learn to let the intrinsic motivation run deep as rewards/recognitions dont go well in the long run. A student must learn for the sake of learning and not for the rewards.
- Communication skills- I try to maintain open channels of communication with my students. This means that I make them feel comfortable and valued so that they can come and talk to me anytime. Non-verbal communication is as important as verbal communication.
- Managing diversity in the class- A group of students bring them diversity in terms of gender, religion, race, needs,etc. A teacher must know about these and manage them well in the class to maintain harmony. I do not encourage gender differences in my class as I feel, there are really not many differences as far as learning is considered. I encouarge cultural differences as my students can learn more about others and become tolerant and open-minded.