100 Teacher Tips #11-13 | Scaffolding | Control Emotions | Rephrase Questions|

Tip 11: Scaffolding

Start with the basics and progressively increase the difficulty. The problem is that a lot of teachers want to teach something, but they think of an at a higher level and they try to teach students at that high level. Then the students who don’t actually understand, don’t want to learn anymore because they feel left behind.

So, what you want to do is you want to scaffold your content or activities. What you want to do is to teach students step-by-step until they can do something. When you scaffold content, teach them the basics first and give them a solid foundation, then you progressively add more content to it until they can master the whole thing.

Just because teachers are at a certain level, doesn’t mean that all our students will be able to reach that from the very start. You need to raise your learners up by using scaffolding in your lessons.

11.1 Scaffolding techniques

Scaffolding learning breaks new learning material down into manageable chunks for students, using the following techniques:

1. Connect to prior knowledge: Start with what the students already know, activate their prior knowledge. Make connections to concepts and skills they have already learned. Give them the big picture.

2. Pre-teach new vocabulary: Teach new vocabulary specific to the new learning material as part of the early scaffolding steps.

3. Use visual aids to introduce new concepts: Show a video, pictures, or props, use graphics, demonstrate or model something to provide students as much of a concrete understanding as possible of the new topic.

4. Teach step by step: First, make sure students understand step one before moving on to the next. Explain from different angles in multiple ways. Scaffold in chunks, provide a checklist.

5. Take it Slow: Give students more time to process sizeable chunks of information, pause instruction after each step. Give students talk time to discuss the topic in groups and give feedback.

6. Check for understanding: Do not just ask, “Do you understand?” Rather, ask strong students to repeat or explain in their own words their understanding. Reinforce their understanding. Let strong students coach others in groups. Also, use structured ways for students to indicate if they are good, still not 100%, need more explaining through thumb signals, sticky notes, etc.  

Tip 12: Control Emotions

Never let students control your emotions, be the mighty oak, standing firm in the breeze. Students will test you; this is part of life. Don’t ask for them not to test you, ask to be stronger. By growing in confidence and growing in strength as a teacher and as a person, the comments students make, all the attacks, the nasty words, or whatever they are doing, won’t affect you.

When students see they can’t affect you and they can’t control your emotions, you will be much stronger and be able to take control of the classroom.

Expect students to test you and every time you get that test, smile because when you will pass it and show, “I am a strong individual,” you will also grow and you will be a better teacher in their eyes.

Think of it logically and don’t play into their games. You are the adult; you are not a student, you will not play games with them, so disengage if they want that emotional reaction. Just say, “Listen, I’m not going to play these games; I’m sorry, those are the rules and that’s what we going to do.”

They can say anything to you; remember the one that loses control is the loser! You want to be the teacher, the adult. You control your emotions. Nobody else can influence the way you feel. Think back on your strongest teachers; anything you said would just bounce off them. So, never let students control your emotions, keep strong, and don’t let them affect you.

Tip 13: Rephrase Questions

Rephrase questions when students don’t understand. Always give them a second chance to answer when you. When you ask the students a question or explain something and they don’t immediately understand, or they don’t immediately answer correctly, rephrase the question in simpler language so it gives them another opportunity to answer.

Also, some students might not understand the first time and, by rephrasing what you have said, give them another opportunity to understand what you are teaching them. This is very important.

In my English classes, I would often ask students a question and they would be quiet, or not understand. I then ask them again and just slightly change it, or make it easier and then the second time they understand and reply.

Remember, as teachers, we should be patient and we should allow our students to succeed, so rephrase your questions. Rephrase how you teach something because there might be someone who doesn’t understand, so give them a second chance.

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