Objectives then activities
As a teacher, it can be tempting to think of an activity and then base some learning around it. However, this could mean that you end up wasting time tasking your students with something that has no end goal. Instead, always start with a learning objective and then base an activity around this. That way you can always be sure that they are going to reach their goal.
Think about whether everyone needs a recap
Children are different, and they have different approaches to learning. You are likely to find that some will need a direct instruction in order to get a task completed, whereas others can work alone or in groups. During the lesson you may need to give a recap of the learning or what is expected, however, you may find that this is only necessary for some of the children, rather than all of the children.
Decrease the distractions
Distractions, in whatever form they come in can be harmful to lessons. What you may not realise however is that you may be the one causing the distractions. Sometimes you will need some additions to your standard approach to teaching, but all the flashy extras may end up distracting your students rather than helping them.
Structure your lessons well
One way that you can make the most of your lesson time is to structure it as best you can. Of course, no two lessons are the same, but you will have a rough idea of how a lesson is best organised. A great way to get a lesson underway is start with an activity that is linked to the previous lessons learning. Not only does this get the students focused on working, but also encourages them to think about their previous learning.
Think about lessons as a sequence
Whilst lessons are separate in the sense of time, they often follow each other in a sequence, with the learning linked. If your aim is to guide students towards an end learning goal, then you will want to make sure that lessons are ordered in a logical way. Not only so that they make sense, but also so you can pick up on any gaps in learning that you have noticed.
There is so much that can be said for being prepared. In fact, teachers can soon learn that a large chunk of their time is taken up, simply by not preparing properly for a lesson. They should have all their resources out and ready on the tables, or at least be prepared to hand them out as soon as the students take their seats. They should also have stationary to hand, the whiteboards premade and any websites that will be used ready to go.
Structure a routine
The best friend of being prepared has to be the routine. Routine’s offer a consistent approach to lessons, and makes sure that students know what is expected of them, as well as what to expect. Routines can come in the form of passing around lesson material, entering the classroom and leaving the classroom too.
Provide written instructions
Written instructions are important to a lesson, no matter whether they are printed out or on the board. They offer the students something to refer back to, when they need it, meaning that you minimise the time spent re-explaining things and clarifying what they need to do.
Manage negative behaviour
One of the main causes of wasted behaviour for many schools is negative behaviour from students. There are a number of ways that you can manage this negative behaviour and it really will depend on the age of your students, as well as the students misbehaving too. Sometimes all you need is to let them know that you have noticed their behaviour perhaps with non-verbal communication.
Pay attention during the class for feedback
How often do you monitor the work that is being done by your students? Chances are that it isn’t as much as you should. Lesson time is often wasted when a child hasn’t understood the task and is getting things wrong. It may seem like it would take more time to go around and ensure that every student understands what they need to do, but the truth is that this can be beneficial for the students and for their learning. You can tackle issues as they pop up, and challenge students that are finding the work too easy.
No matter which way you go about it, it is important that you try your best to make every minute count in your lesson. Otherwise, you could end up feeling that you have achieved nothing by the end of the day!
James graduated from The University of Sussex in 1996 and completed his P.G.C.E teaching qualification in 1997. Since then, James has worked as both a teacher, examiner and in management across a broad spectrum of the State and Independent Education sectors. He is the academic director of Eleven Tutors. He is committed to constantly upgrading his teaching skills and raising standards.