Having reflected on my teaching over the last few months I have realised more and more that my methods are frantic and chaotic. Although creative at the moment, I feel as though I need to simplify my lessons somewhat.
I read an article online this week, I can’t remember where due to the chaos of ideas reigning in my life at present. It said that lessons need to be simpler- we shouldn’t try and squeeze in EVERYTHING to EVERY lesson but slow down so that learners can develop and make progress rather than be bombarded with learning. This is the way to foster a love for learning. I can see how this makes sense and it’s certainly something I want to aim at: for my students’ sanity as much as my own!
Some parts of my chaotic lessons remain brilliant (even super-critical me can admit to that one). The starts of my lessons are amazing. I can grab the students’ attention. I can ‘activate their schemata’ creatively and engage them in many brilliant ways. Lessons always begin as I feel they should. Come to the end of a lesson and it’s a whole other story.
When I completed my CELTA traning in the summer of 2012, I received consistent feedback that my lessons were engaging, well facilitated and I built great rapport with learners very quickly… but we never got to the end. My tutors were desperate to see an ‘end’. In fact, thinking back to my first ever observation in September 2009, things were much the same. I was in a literacy lesson for a catering class and the end of the lesson process resembled a stampede of elephants barging out of the door, with my voice floating across the tops of their now distracted heads. Here’s where I admit one of my many faults as a teacher: I frequently still feel that way now. This is such terrible practice and I know how important it is to gain feedback at the end of a lesson. I decided on a cheat’s way around this problem until it could be sorted fully. Since it’s been ingrained in my practice since 2009, I’ve got a way to go.
I resolved that one way forward might be to do something at the end of the lesson that would help me to inform the next lesson and collect fedback quickly and easily. It could be something that would be reviewed at the start of the next lesson but at least the students would have left the room having reflected on their learning and I could evaluate it all afterwards after the chaos had subsided. It’s not my style to have too much ‘teacher input’ and as long as I could see that progress had been made in some way or I could judge what questions still remained, then I would have achieved something.
Go to Today’s Meet and you’ll be met with this screen:
Type in the name of your class for the weblink and how long you want it open for. Click on ‘Create you Room’.
You then have a blank feed ready, a weblink to send to your students or to put on the IWB and a ‘join’ box.
Once they’ve accessed their link (via. phones in my case), students type in their name and click join, then their message box appears.
Once they’ve typed in their message (140 char. limit), they can click on ‘say’ and it appears in the ‘listen’ box for everyone else to see/ read/ hear!
Here’s how I’ve used it:
I wanted GCSE students to leave 1 thing they wanted to work on next lesson before their assessment. I’ve only JUST noticed this, but you can click on ‘projector’ and it’ll make the feed screen bigger so that everyone can see- EVEN BETTER!
I wanted AS learners to state what they’d learnt and a question they still had. I now know what they ‘think’ they’ve learnt and what needs to be looked at again. I wondered how many lessons students had left amongst the chaos with questions or ‘false learning’ that would never be resolved.
I’d done this kind of thing in the past with sticky notes and a wishlist but found students generally made a swift exit and I’d get left with 3 measly comments. Introducing technology is a game- changer. Everyone was tuned-in, logged- on and leaving comments.
I’ve used it during the lesson too. For feedback on presentations:
And for students’ sentences about audience & purpose that we could then peer assess as a class:
Some students take advantage of putting in any name and any message. Here are some of the more amusing entries. I’m sure those of you who are far better at managing your classrooms than I am would not get to experience such things so here’s a little treat:
For the English teachers among you:
Unlike Othello, I think I’ll be more worried when there is no chaos. I’ll be concerned about myself if I’m not running around in a flurry of ideas, hoping that something good will come of them.
Teaching: when I love thee not, chaos will cease at last.