BY JANE HURST
Creating a Classroom that Focuses on Students
A classroom is supposed to be a place of learning, but if it is not properly set up, students, and teachers, aren’t going to get nearly as much as they could be out of the classroom experience. A classroom should be centered around students, and it is time to start doing away with outdated teaching practices. Students should be encouraged to engage in conversation with each other and with their teachers (as long as the conversation is encouraging learning, of course). Here are some steps you can take to create a classroom that is completely student-centered.
Take advantage of all technology, not just the school-issued computers. Most, if not all of your students probably have cell phones, tablets, etc. Let them use their own devices, and choose from many web tools to help them to become more creative with their assignments. They can use web tools for presenting and sharing information, creating projects, and so much more. By allowing them to use these tools on their own devices, you are likely going to foster better student participation.
Get Rid of Homework
When you come right down to it, what is the point of homework? Not all students have time for homework, and as long as they are able to show that they understand the material they are given, homework isn’t really necessary. Concentrate instead on in-class projects and activities, and don’t be restrictive about how students can do these projects. The more chances they have to be independent and creative, the better their work is going to be, and the more they are going to learn.
Brighten up the Classroom
No one wants to spend several hours a day in a boring room. Find ways to brighten up your classroom and make it more visually attractive and interesting for students. For instance, you can use wall decals that are related to the subject or subjects you are teaching. These can also be used as visual learning aids, which is extremely beneficial for those who are visual learners.
Not all students show their proficiency in any given subjects through testing. Often, they are better able to show you what they know through hands-on work. This is why you need to create projects for them that are ongoing. Give them a variety of project choices that will let them show you what they have learned in a practical way. The students have total control over what they are doing, which is going to help to give them a sense of independence, and pride in what they are doing. The classroom will take on a workshop environment, and this is the basis for the student-centered classroom.
Parent/teacher conferences are all fine and dandy, but if you really want to help your students, evaluate them face to face instead of through a third party. When you give them feedback, both positive and negative, you are building a foundation of trust between yourself and your students. They also learn how to be their own critics, and their work is going to improve because they will want to get great feedback from you.
Get Rid of the Rules
At one time, teachers ruled their classrooms with iron fists, and students learned because they were fearful of the consequences if they didn’t. Today, we know that this is not the way to get the most out of our students. On the first day of class, tell your students that there will be no discussions about rules and consequences. You expect mutual respect, and you want your students to want to learn. Keep them busy, and they won’t have time to be disruptive.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter