In most people’s story, there has been a teacher that counted more than the others, who showed us what we needed to become better. You are a teacher now; you have the opportunity to be that teacher, the one who made a difference. Here are some tips to help you become a more positive teacher and make a change.
– 1: Identify your students’ needs in order to tailor your lesson to their difficulties, preferences, goals…. In doing so, you will be more useful to them, and it will have a positive effect on them as they will feel taken into account. Plus, seeing that you put in the time and effort to help them is an extra motivation to go further and try harder. By targeting your students individually, you will show how much you care about them. This is of course much easier to achieve when you have a smaller group.
– 2: Be explicit with the objectives behind your lessons. By doing so, kids will be able to understand the value and purpose of what you are doing. When students are kept in the dark, they don’t understand the point of what they are supposed to learn. Keeping them informed is giving them more incentive to remember.
– 3: Guide, help, and give methods and tools to gain autonomy. At some point, your students will have to be able to complete tasks on their own. It is thus essential to work with them on how to get there, and the level of help they need; will they do autonomous work, do they need semi-guidance, or total guidance? Among some useful tips on how to teach English, Talk to Teach advises to use several small exercises rather than a big one. Equip your pupils for the task at hand.
– 4: Welcome mistakes as an opportunity to learn. Getting impatient or angry when a student makes a mistake will only make them fearful of trying again and disappointing you and make them lose their confidence. Instead, use your students’ errors to see what went wrong and how to grow from there.
– 5: Value cooperation: let your students work together, support each other, correct each other (politely and constructively) in order to grow as a group and a social individual, learn how to cooperate, give them more responsibilities to thrive.
– 6: Give your kids enough time to complete various tasks, like reading quietly, reading out loud, talking about something personal, studying, memorizing, doing homework… Try to be flexible and allow your students to hone their skills in the best conditions possible.
– 7: Be patient, kindly, and encouraging. Reinforce positive thinking by rewarding efforts, praising successes, and guiding through errors. Always put your students at ease: if they are not comfortable with you, they will not have the right conditions to use the full extent of their potential.
– 8: Allow your students to give their opinion and feedback to make them feel valued and taken into account. This will show them that their ideas and themselves matter. The point of this is to think for themselves, learn how to share these thoughts, and ultimately increase their self-esteem and confidence.
Now these are just a few tips, and there are more ideas out there to help teachers all over the world be the best influence they can be. Teaching is an evolving science; try different methods, see what works for you and your kids and what does not, and always be prepared to adapt.