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Teachers Need to do Some Things Differently.....
By Rebecca T., Grade 10, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Rules for successful teaching

1. Use multiple forms of media to communicate a message. Use photographs, music, literature, video and manual demonstration to explain concepts. Every student learns differently; some through reading, others through hands-on experimentation, or through graphs and charts, and so forth. By incorporating all of these methods into a lesson, there is a greater chance that each and every student will succeed in grasping the material.

2. Keep lessons brief and concise. The average child does not have an attention span capable of processing information for extended periods of time. To avoid boredom or frustration, change subjects at least every 45 minutes to an hour.

3. Never give up on a student. It is a teacher's primary duty to insure that each student has every possibility to grow to his or her potential. A student's achievements are a direct reflection of their teacher's success. Where there is a student who is not putting in as much effort as he might, there is a teacher in the same situation. Do not, at all costs, allow a student to fail.

4. Set a high standard of achievement for all students. There are some breeds of fish that grow only to the size of their environment. Give them a small tank and they will remain petite, give them an ocean and they will grow to be huge. The same is true with children. If you set a standard of excellence and encourage children to reach it, then they will try harder and achieve more than if you expect only mediocrity.

5. Praise effort. Not all children have the same talents, and some have to work harder than others to attain success in certain areas of their lives. Whether or not a child succeeds, offer them praise for simply trying.

6. Hold all detentions personally. Instead of seeing detention as a punishment for misconduct, treat it as an opportunity to find the root of the behavior. Encourage the student to explain why they did what they did, then help them understand why their actions were wrong. If the transgression seems to stem from stress outside of the classroom such as family issues, peer pressure or similar problems, give the student positive tactics for dealing with such things. This method allows you to correct the unwanted behavior, not merely suppress it.

7. Encourage children to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Offer alternate resources where a student can delve a little deeper into classroom topics, or topics above and beyond the standard curriculum. Teach students that independent study can be an interesting and rewarding affair.

8. Remember the purpose of teaching is to educate AND inspire a desire to learn. Some teachers unfortunately lose sight of this goal in a world that is based on test scores and perfect attendance. Do not attempt to drill your students into equation-spouting, essay-writing robots! Someone who has developed a passion for learning will work harder and longer than someone who has simply learned to cram for a test.

9. Get students actively involved in lessons. Writing notes and doing assignments out of a textbook are monotonous activities that will soon leave children restless and bored. Instead of reading a passage from a novel or a historical event, reenact it! In science and applied technology classes, use an experiment to reinforce important principles.

10. Be passionate about the subject you are teaching. If you are not enthusiastic about the material then how can you expect your students to be? If the subject you are teaching does not excite you, or if the profession itself is not satisfactory, it is advantageous for both you and your students if you seek another line of employment.

11. Don't bribe. Give treats only well genuinely merited. If the only reason a student has for working hard is the promise of a reward, than they are not learning that a job well done is a reward in itself.

12. Do your homework! Nothing is worse than a teacher who is just one lesson ahead of their students. Attend seminars, read books and talk to other teachers in your line of expertise so that you will be able to enhance your classes with interesting facts and extra information. Even if you are never directly questioned on your knowledge, your class will benefit from the additional insight you will be able to incorporate into your lessons.

13. Don't overanalyze a subject, especially literature. Comprehension questions are supposed to draw out significant details that may be hidden in a text, and to inspire a student to read between the lines. When a story is picked apart, it loses its magic and often students begin to lose interest completely.

14. Be accountable for your actions and decisions. This is less about teaching and more about being a role model to your pupils. If you say you're going to do something, do it. If you make a bad decision, accept the consequences. This is the easiest way to teach your students to take responsibility for their words and actions.

15. Respect others. Like every other aspect of life, this is the golden rule. Treat people with kindness and courtesy, and they will respond positively.


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