Why Is Research Important for Teachers?
I have heard people saying that experience is the best teacher. Your own experiences and experiences that other teachers, administrators, and experts share with you will make you a better teacher. We all get a great deal of knowledge from personal experience. We ‘generalise’ from what we observe and frequently turn memorable encounters into lifetime conclusions. But how valid are these conclusions? Sometimes we misinterpret what we see and hear. We cannot be totally objective. We may become a victim of bias. One way to clarify any situation is to research into it. Research is a valuable source of information about the teaching and learning process.
Finding the Right Balance
I am standing at the front of the classroom, beside the whiteboard, carrying a few equations in my arms, standing still like a witch has cast a spell on me. I feel like my feet are stuck in concrete and my joints and muscles are frozen. I am looking at twenty five faces. My eyes making contact with fifty eyes, all conveying different messages. Their features, their expressions and their body language are conveying different messages. The words that describe the feelings here are: accepting, accomplishing, aggravating, amusing, angry, annoying, anxious, awaking, blank, bored, calm, cheerful, cold, complacent, confused, cranky, curious, depressed, determined, disappointed, drained, ecstatic, energetic, excited, exhausted, happy, impressed, irritated, lethargic, naughty, pessimistic, pleased, shocked, sleepy, stressed, tired and many more. My God, twenty five in the audience and more than twenty five feelings. More than that, my lesson plan is telling me to go on – I can’t repeat the session as it will affect the whole course, and I can’t offer off-course time as I have lots of tasks to complete. I can’t refer to any other teacher as no-one is there.
Suddenly I get some flashbacks, a chat between me and a student teacher:
“Sir, what should I do for my students? I have a diverse group of students. Sometimes I run out of ideas, my plans get fouled up and I face difficulty making myself understood?”
In response I lecture her about the area under the normal curve and distribution of various types of students in a natural setting. The last thing I said to her, proudly and confidently, was “DEAR, FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE”.
I am hearing the echo ‘FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE’ and realising perhaps this is the easiest proverb to say but certainly the most difficult action to do.
Bisma is a 7- year old Grade-1 student. She was weeping badly when she returned home. Her mother asked the reason for being so upset. She told that her teacher said, “You cannot do any thing, your handwriting and spelling will never improve. You should have not been promoted to Grade-1.” These words upset the mother as well. She comforted her daughter by saying, “Don’t worry Bisma, we will chalk-out a plan and will work on it. Nothing is impossible in this world, I am with you and with a little effort you can make a big difference.” Bisma regained some
Pre-school learning can be nurtured if children are provided with an environment that fulfills their demands. Hence, enabling environments play a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning. Such environments persuade young children to play because they feel relaxed, content and happy with their surroundings. When children feel emotionally safe and secure they are able to explore; they can observe, experience and manipulate.
I remember when I entered my first elementary classroom. I felt as if I had returned home after a long absence. So much was familiar. The soft boards still displayed “students’ work”; bells still interrupted the lessons to announce that the lesson was over; the dusty odour of chalk still filled the air. The familiarity of these sights, sounds, and smells made me feel very comfortable and at ease; rather, it made me think that it was
There are many people out there who are struggling to learn a second language. There are obviously a lot of programmes and products that cater to them. As most people embark on their language-learning journey, this very question comes to mind: “Should I learn a language solo or find a classroom/formal education option?” Everyone has a different learning style, some tending to be more well-suited to learn solo and some require more of a classroom setting. Knowing what type of learner you are helps greatly.
The selection of the right poem matters when you’re teaching poetry; even more so when you are teaching poetry communicatively. You need to stimulate students’ interest and support their proficiency level with the language.
Here are a few things I do after I’ve a selected an interesting poem:
i. Show some pictures (taken from newspapers, magazines or the internet) which can diagrammatically represent the poem. Ask students to guess what the poem is about, by looking at the pictures.
ii. After introducing the selected poem, encourage students to discuss the main theme. For this, I always provide relevant vocabulary, sentence starters or clues.
iii. Let them read the poem in chunks and then talk about what they have read, first in small groups and then in whole-class discussion.
iv. At the end I always let the students share how the particular poem made them feel. We do this in small groups or in whole class discussion.
Some very exciting, fresh and innovative things are happening in the Ali Institute of Education (AIE), aimed at revitalising what had unfortunately become the white noise of higher education development, pervasively throughout the entire bedrock of what should have been quality learning in the country. Recognising that to defeat ignorance, one needs to progress towards new methodologies and deviate from the norm, AIE is developing new courses and workshops to put that spring into your best foot forward into the wide world of education leadership and owning your place in it.
Grammar- The very mention of the word strikes fear into the heart of the staunchest language learner. Many English Language teachers also feel the pit of their stomach churn at the thought of preparing and giving a grammar lesson. But what are we to do? If lexis and vocabulary are the building blocks of language, then certainly grammar is the mortar or structure that holds them together. Teaching it and learning it are therefore inescapable. The only thing to do then is to make it as interesting, pleasant or at least as painless as
Establishing Writing Habits
I believe writing to be the most neglected language skill. The writing skills development of students can be developed through establishing some simple, good writing habits. Make it enjoyable for learners by letting them write their routine tasks or notes to communicate with others. Encourage them to write a wish list for birthday presents, a list of grocery items, small notes to convey messages to friends and family, maintain a personal diaries, write for a class journal or a blog…
It is better to start with shared or guided writing practices. Once they are used to writing regularly, give them independent writing practice and make them write about the things they imagine.Do not forget to keep them motivated by displaying their work on your classroom soft board or publish it on the blog.