Get students moving. If they are bored, let them stretch. Use yoga or chants to energize them, incorporate movement into your activities when possible. We call it Total Physical Response or TPR, where we act out different things. So, I would say as a teacher you should also be in control of the energy levels in your classroom.
You can start off with a fun ice-breaking activity, then when you lecture them, their energy goes down. You then push their attention level back up by using a fun activity, then they do another reading or writing activity and at the end of class, your review in another fun way.
You have to manage the students’ energy levels. You don’t want them overexcited because that leads to trouble, but you also don’t want a boring class because then some students will act out, or they will fall asleep.
You are in control of the energy in your classroom. When you see the students are getting bored and yawning, wake them up. Tell them, “Okay, everyone let’s do a yoga pose!” Or, “Now, with your friend quickly act out a different word.” Do some charades or let them stand up. Let them stretch, do a simple ‘Simon Says’.
There are so many activities that you can do, but try to incorporate movements into the activities in your class. Obviously, you want it to be controlled, but incorporate TPR into your classroom.
Make connections between what they are learning and what they already know. This is maybe the most logical thing about teaching. You want to teach your students something new, but you have to connect it to their prior knowledge.
How do you do that? First, bring up their previous experience or previous knowledge, their previous skills, and then you want to add to it because that’s how the brain works. It makes connections and the more connections you have to something, the better you will understand it and the better you can use it in the future.
So, what we have to do is we have to understand our students and we have to ask them questions. We have to present it in a way that they can connect with.
If you’re going to teach your students something, maybe explain it from a point of view that they understand. Bring up an experience that they are familiar with when you teach them something new.
New teachers often try to teach something new without making sure what prior knowledge the students have. Do not teach new concepts out of the blue. Explain using scaffolding techniques, as discussed in Tip 11.
Scaffolding learning breaks new learning material down into manageable chunks for students. It connects to prior knowledge, using what the students already know. Pre-teach new vocabulary; use visual aids to introduce new concepts; teach step by step and check for understanding.
Build a growth mindset with your students. They can learn almost anything if they spend time and energy and focus on it. This idea comes from Professor Carol Dweck where she talks about the growth mindset.
Many times, people think, “Oh! I’m not able to do that, because I don’t have that ability,” or, “I’m not good at speaking,” or, “I’m not good at math. I’m never going to get better.” But actually, we should start building our students’ growth mindset. We should encourage them to learn and emphasize that if they spend time and energy on it, they will become better.
That is why many parents send their kids to music classes, so if they’re learning the piano. They know if they spend time, energy, and focus on it, if they put in the commitment, they will improve.
That mindset translates to everything that we attempt in life. So, as teachers, we should tell our students that we can do almost anything we set our minds to. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re not very good at that skill, tell them if you commit yourself and constantly work at it, you will improve and you can achieve your dreams, or whatever you put your mind to.