If you are about to enter the classroom as a teacher for the first time in 2017, it will be an experience that will amaze and overwhelm you.
The responsibility of teaching the next generation of children is one that you may relish, but the profession also comes with its own share of challenges as well.
There are principles underlying learning that will help you reach students effectively. In this article, we will go over cornerstone truths that will help you improve rapidly during your first year on the job.
1) All students learn in different ways
One of the most important lessons that any new teacher can internalize is that a student’s ability to learn is not a one-size-fits-all affair.
If you just open your teacher’s guide and follow the instructions to the letter, you are going to be leaving behind a significant segment of your class, as some will struggle to grasp the concepts that you are trying to get across.
In the days when Thomas Rollins Teaching, he was able to reach people of all kinds because he recognized that not everyone was the same.
For example, not every student is an aural learner; use flashcards or diagrams to accommodate visual learners.
Additionally, introduce kinesthetic activities when possible, as there are students that learn best through tactile examples.
2) Weave lessons into contexts that students can understand
Subjects such as physics, history, and mathematics can be boring to many students in your class. However when you work the principles behind these lessons into contexts relevant to their lives, it will be much easier for them to internalize the concepts that you will be teaching them.
For example, physics can be taught by talking about the forces imparted when a baseball player hits a baseball.
History can be demonstrated by taking students on a field trip to museums, and by imagining how events in the distant past would have transpired if today’s technology had been present back then.
Mathematics can be demonstrated by talking about its concepts in the context of cooking and shopping for groceries.
Any subject can be re-purposed into a lesson that will be far more engaging than what you’ll find in a run-of-the-mill textbook, so let your creative impulses run wild.
3) Failure is not a bad thing
Throughout the 20th century, we were taught that failure was to be avoided at all costs. This was fine when the system was producing workers for predictable environments such as factories and tightly-controlled offices, but in a 21st century economy that values creativity over conformity, teaching our kids to fear failure will effectively doom them to a lifetime of struggle.
By failing, we quickly find out which techniques don’t work, allowing us to move on to ideas that may have a better chance of success.
The economy of today involves work where many answers aren’t known beforehand, unlike the workplace of yesterday, when all workers had to do was answer phones, install widgets, and crunch numbers.
By giving your students permission to fail at the creative pursuit of learning, they will be able to put two and two together more effectively then if you were to simply spoon-feed them the answer.