To get inspiration!

Are you planning to succeed this new academic year?

by Sylwia Rytarowska on August 27, 2012

553591 473419426008391 194630995 n 300x199 Are you planning to succeed this new academic year?

We all hate elaborate speeches or beeing lectured on how to act. This TED lecture however is neither lengthy nor boring. It will help you say hello to your new students or reestablish rapport with the old ones.

I. Richard St. John’s 8 secrets of success in very short 3 minutes. (there’s a video, you may find it on youtube otherwise I can email it to those interested)

If you consider this topic a suitable one to go a little further and analyse academic success, take a look at the following list from Read it together and discuss why these aspects are important, or WHETHER they are, in your opinion. Subtract or add some. You also might want to rearrange their order of importance if you feel like it. Anyway, have fun and be excited, anything less isn’t worth your effort.

Paraphrased from an article by Larry Ludewig called Ten Commandments for Effective Study Skills which appeared in The Teaching Professor, December 1992.

II. Successful students . . .

1) . . . are responsible and active.

Successful students get involved in their studies, accept responsibility for their own education, and are active participants in it!

Responsibility means control. It’s the difference between leading and being led. Your own efforts control your grade, you earn the glory or deserve the blame, you make the choice. Active classroom participation improves grades without increasing study time. You can sit there, act bored, daydream, or sleep. Or, you can actively listen, think, question, and take notes like someone in charge of their learning experience. Either option costs one class period. However, the former method will require a large degree of additional work outside of class to achieve the same degree of learning the latter provides at one sitting. The choice is yours.

2) . . . have educational goals.

Successful students have legitimate goals and are motivated by what they represent in terms of career aspirations and life’s desires.

Ask yourself these questions: What am I doing here? Why have I chosen to be sitting here now? Is there some better place I could be? What does my presence here mean to me? Answers to these questions represent your “Hot Buttons” and are, without a doubt, the most important factors in your success as a college student. If your educational goals are truly yours, not someone else’s, they will motivate a vital and positive academic attitude. If you are familiar with what these hot buttons represent and refer to them often, especially when you tire of being a student, nothing can stop you; if you aren’t and don’t, everything can, and will!

3) . . . ask questions.

Successful students ask questions to provide the quickest route between ignorance and knowledge.

In addition to securing knowledge you seek, asking questions has at least two other extremely important benefits. The process helps you pay attention to your professor and helps your professor pay attention to you! Think about it. If you want something, go after it. Get the answer now, or fail a question later. There are no foolish questions, only foolish silence. It’s your choice.

4) . . . learn that a student and a professor make a team.

Most instructors want exactly what you want — they would like for you to learn the material in their respective classes and earn a good grade.

Successful students reflect well on the efforts of any teacher; if you have learned your material, the instructor takes some justifiable pride in teaching. Join forces with your instructor, they are not an enemy, you share the same interests, the same goals – in short, you’re teammates. Get to know your professor. You’re the most valuable players on the same team. Your jobs are to work together for mutual success. Neither wishes to chalk up a losing season. Be a team player!

5) . . . don’t sit in the back.

Successful students minimize classroom distractions that interfere with learning.

Students want the best seat available for their entertainment dollars, but willingly seek the worst seat for their educational dollars. Students who sit in the back cannot possibly be their professor’s teammate (see no. 4). Why do they expose themselves to the temptations of inactive classroom experiences and distractions of all the people between them and their instructor? It is a sure bet to assume they chose the back of the classroom because they seek invisibility or anonymity, both of which are antithetical to efficient and effective learning. If such students are trying not to be part of the class, why, then, are they wasting their time? If you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself if there something else you should be doing with your time?

6. . . . take good notes.

Successful students take notes that are understandable and organized, and review them often.

Why put something into your notes you don’t understand? Ask the questions now that are necessary to make your notes meaningful at some later time. A short review of your notes while the material is still fresh on your mind helps your learn more. The more you learn then, the less you’ll have to learn later and the less time it will take because you won’t have to include some deciphering time, also. The whole purpose of taking notes is to use them, and use them often. The more you use them, the more they improve.

7) . . . understand that actions affect learning.

Successful students know their personal behavior affect their feelings and emotions which in turn can affect learning.

If you act in a certain way that normally produces particular feelings, you will begin to experience those feelings. Act like you’re bored, and you’ll become bored. Act like you’re disinterested, and you’ll become disinterested. So the next time you have trouble concentrating in the classroom, “act” like an interested person: lean forward, place your feet flat on the floor, maintain eye contact with the professor, nod occasionally, take notes, and ask questions. Not only will you benefit directly from your actions, your classmates and professor may also get more excited and enthusiastic.

8) . . . talk about what they’re learning.

Successful students get to know something well enough that they can put it into words.

Talking about something, with friends or classmates, is not only good for checking whether or not you know something, its a proven learning tool. Transferring ideas into words provides the most direct path for moving knowledge from short-term to long-term memory. You really don’t “know” material until you can put it into words. So, next time you study, don’t do it silently. Talk about notes, problems, readings, etc. with friends, recite to a chair, organize an oral study group, pretend you’re teaching your peers. “Talk-learning” produces a whole host of memory traces that result in more learning.

9) . . . don’t cram for exams.

Successful students know that divided periods of study are more effective than cram sessions, and they practice it.

If there is one thing that study skills specialists agree on, it is that distributed study is better than massed, late-night, last-ditch efforts known as cramming. You’ll learn more, remember more, and earn a higher grade by studying in four, one hour-a-night sessions for Friday’s exam than studying for four hours straight on Thursday night. Short, concentrated preparatory efforts are more efficient and rewarding than wasteful, inattentive, last moment marathons. Yet, so many students fail to learn this lesson and end up repeating it over and over again until it becomes a wasteful habit.

10) . . . are good time managers.

Successful students do not procrastinate. They have learned that time control is life control and have consciously chosen to be in control of their life.

An elemental truth: you will either control time or be controlled by it! It’s your choice: you can lead or be led, establish control or relinquish control, steer your own course or follow others. Failure to take control of their own time is probably the no.1 study skills problem for college students. It ultimately causes many students to become non-students! Procrastinators are good excuse-makers. Don’t make academics harder on yourself than it has to be.

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Class Management Tips

Top 16 Classroom Control and Management Tips

, Med kharbach

One of the daunting challenges that face up newly fledged teachers ( and sometimes experienced ones too) is classroom management issues. Not every teacher is lucky enough to get the wheel turning smoothly right from the start. Disruptive behaviour can pose a real threat to the learning and teaching process and often times it turns a teacher’s life into a living nightmare leading , in most cases, to giving up the job as a whole.

As an experienced teacher who have taught in different countries and as a researcher in the field of pedagogy and methodology ( in connection with technology ) I can comfortably confirm that if classroom management issues are not dealt with seriously they  can backfire and destroy what we are trying to build.  healthy learning milieu is not feasible without a well managed classroom and this latter requires a set of techniques that every ( new ) teacher should know of.

After digging through the pedagogy books I have assembled and read during my teaching career I came across one that is of paramount importance to new teachers. The book is called » Psychology for Teachers (Psychology for Professional Groups)» by David Fontana which I highly recommend for you. The book touches upon some key notions including : learning styles, psychology of kids, creativity, motivation………..and classroom management.

I am going to brief you on the most important techniques in classroom management which David recommended for teachers and which I myself have been using for 9 years now.

Classroom Management Techniques :

1- Interest The Class

class management techniques

In general a class that is absorbed in its work does not want to cause problems.The class members will act disapprovingly towards any of their members who try to distract their attention

2- Avoid Personal Mannerisms

class management techniques

Mannerisms of specch, dress, gesture on the part of the teacher can be intensely irritating or comic to children who have to sit and watch them, and may well lead to negative behaviour on the part of the class.

3- Be Fair

class management techniques

Real or imagined injustices can breed resentment and hostility in children. Fairness means ensuring that any loss of priviliges,etc, is appropriate to the original misdeed, it means behaving towards children consistently so that they know what to expect, and it means keeping one’s word. Interestingly, children of all ages rate » fairness» as one of the most desirable qualities in a teacher.

4- Be Humorous

class management techniques

This does not mean that teachers try to be knock-about comedian, but simply that they are prepared to laugh with the class( though not when the joke is on some unfortunate individual member of it), and to introduce humour into teaching material where suitable.

5- Avoid Unnecessary Threats

class management techniques

When threats are uttered they must be carried out. Constant offers of ‘ one last chance ‘ soon weaken the teacher’s standing in the eyes of the class.

6- Be Punctual

class management techniques

A teacher who arrives late for a class not only sets the children a bad example but also may have to  quell a riot before the lesson can begin. Punctuality at the end of the lesson is of equal importance. Children soon resent being constantly late out for break or last in the lunch queue or late for the next lesson

7- Avoid Anger

class management techniques

Teachers who lose their temper may say and do things in the heat of the moment that they come to regret later. Certainly all teachers on accasions will feel the need to speak sharply to children, but this  quite different from heated outbursts in the schools or for the state of his or her physical health

8- Avoid Over-familiarity

class management techniques

The line between friendliness and over-familiarity can be a narrow one, but it is better to start off rather formally with a class and become more intimate as one gets to know them better, to behave, indeed, much as one does when making any new friends.

9- Offer Opportunities for responsibility

class management techniques

If all responsibility rests with the teacher, then it is not surprising  that children behave irresponsibly when not under difrect supervision. Offering children responsibility not only shows them they have the teacher’s confidence, it also leads them to realize that what happens in the class is their concern just as much as it is the teacher’s.

10-Focus Attention

class management techniques

General appeals for quiet or order in a classroom are of much less value than calling out the name of the child or children most directly involved, and thus focusing the attention of the class.In the silence that follows, the teacher can then issue further instructions.

11- Avoid Humiliating children

class management techniques

Quite apart from the potential psychological damage to the child or children concerned, humiliation attacks a child’s status in the eyes of the rest of the class, and he or she may well use various strategies, all aimed at the teacher’s authority , in order to re-establish it.

12- Be Alert

An important characteristic of teachers with good class control is that they appear to know at all times exactly what is going on in the classroom. They move frequently around the room . and insist children wait in their places when they have difficulties with their work rather than besieging the teacher who became isolated from the main action by a detachment of hand-waving children.

13- Use Positive Language

class management techniques

The emphasis should always be upon what we want children to do rather than upon what they refrain from doing. Thus we say » come in quietly » rather than » don’t make so much noise «, » look at your books » rather than  » stop turning around »

14- Be Confident

class management techniques

Teachers who go into the class with a hesitant, tentative manner suggest to children that they are expecting trouble and are probably accustomed to being disobeyed. Very well, the class think to themselves, the teacher will not be disappointed. If, on the other hand, teachers are able to give the impression they are used to getting on well with children, then once again the children will be included to take this at face value and offer co-operation. So even if the teacher is feeling inexperienced and apprehensive, the moral is  not to show it.

15- Be Well-organized

class management techniques

Good classroom organization means :

A– making clear to children exactly what is expected of them in the way of getting out or putting away apparatus and equipment  before they start to do it

B– Children know where things are kept and they each have clear duties and responsibilities, both to deal with the normal running of the classroom and with the sudden emergencies when things get split or broken.

C- Planning lessons carefully so that the practical activities are within the scope and the competence of both teacher and class and never threaten to get out of hand.

D– A well-organized lesson with adequate material carefully prepared and with all equipment to hand and in goood working order is way better than one that even the teacher concedes bears a certain resemblance to a shambles.

16- Show that one likes children

Many people , recalling their schooldays, have stories of ogres of whom they were in awe, and of kindly, well-meaning souls whose lives they made a torment, but these stories are only remembered because they are unusual.For the most part, teahers who relate satisfactorily to children have the gift of conveying to them  sympathy, understanding, and a personal delight in the job of teaching. They indicate to the class that they want children to succeed not because this demonstrates their own competence but because success is important to children. Once the class is convinced they have the teacher’s support, they will respond, as in any relartionship, with co-operation and esteem.

Source : Psychology for Teachers (Psychology for Professional Groups)

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Digital Skills for Educators

The 33 Digital Skills Every 21st Century Teacher should Have

Med kharbach – Educational Technology & Mobile Learning

Every single teacher is concerned about his/ her teaching practices and the skills involved in this process. How many times have you wondered about a better way to teach the same lesson you have delivered to an eariler class? How often have you used technology to engage your students and improve their learning ? These are some recurring questions we keep regurgitating each time our teaching skills are put to the test.

It is amazing how technology has changed the whole world giving rise to new forms of education we never thought of. Our students are more digitally focused than any time before. They spend more time interacting with their mobile devices than they do with their parents or close relatives. Admittedly, this digital boom has both  positive and negative impact on our students. Lack of concentration, short attention span, distraction, visual  stimulus overload, identity theft, lack of real world socializing, privacy issues, depression, and many more are but a direct result of the growing exposure to this technology. Studies have even proved that multitasking, which some educational technology experts brag about in relation to the use of today’s technology, reduces the power of our concentration to the half.  We should not, However, only look at the empty side of the cup, the other side is way bigger.

There are  actually several pluses for the use of technology in education and to try and list them  all here is way beyond the scope of this short post. Generally speaking,  no two argue over the fact that technology advantages in education ( and in our life at large ) way  outnumber  its downsides. It is thanks to technology that you are now reading this post and will probably share it with your colleagues.

digital skills for 21st century teachers

There is no blinking the fact  that the type of students we teach today are completely different from last century’s. We , definitely, need to look at some of the skills we, as teachers, need to equip ourselves with to better live up to the challenge. Among all the challenges we would have in education, there is not as daunting a challenge as catching students focus and getting them engaged in the learning process. For this particular reason, and in addition to the skills I initially mentioned in 21st Century Teaching Skills article, I would like to provide you  with another list of  some equally important digital skills that you, as a teacher, need to seriously consider if you want to pave the way for the 21st century teaching. I have added a list of web tools under each skill for teachers to better exploit it.

Please, remember that I have spent many laborious hours working on  this post and all I ask is a credit back to Educational Technology and Mobile Learning when re-using this content somewhere else.

digital skills for 21st century teachers

The 21st century teacher should be able to :

1- Create and edit  digital audio

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
Free Audio Tools for Teachers

2- Use Social bookmarking to share resources with and between learners

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
A List of Best Bookmarking Websites for Teachers

3- Use blogs and wikis to create online platforms for students

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
Great Tools to Create Protected Blogs and Webpages for your Class

4- Exploit digital images for classroom use

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

5- Use video content to engage students

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

6- Use infographics to visually stimulate students

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

7- Use Social networking sites to connect with colleagues and grow professionally

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

8- Create and deliver asynchronous presentations and training sessions

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
A List of The Best Presentation Tools for Teachers

9- Compile a digital e-portfolio for their own development

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
Free Tools to Create Digital Portfolios

10- Have a knowledge about online security

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

11- be able to detect plagiarized works in students assignments

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
Free Plagiarism Detector Tools fr Teachers and Educators

12- Create screen capture videos and tutorials

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
Five Great Screen Capture Tools for Teachers

13- Curate web content for classroom learning

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
10 Must have Bookmarklets for Teachers

14- Use and provide students with task management tools to organize their work and plan their learning

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
A List of Great Task Management Tools for Educators

15- Use polling software to create a real-time survey in class

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
15 Free and Easy Poll/ Survey Tools for Teachers

16- Understand issues related to copyright and fair use of online materials

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

17- Exploit  computer games for pedagogical purposes

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

18- Use digital assessment tools to create quizzes

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
Free Tools to Create and Administer Quizzes

19- Use of collaborative tools for text construction and editing

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
A List of Great Free Collaborative Tools for Educators

20- Find and evaluate authentic web based content

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
The Three Effective Ways Teachers Should Know about

21- Use of mobile devices like tablets

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

22- Identify online resources that are safe for students browsing

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
A List of Awesome Kids-safe Websites

23- Use digital tools for time management purposes

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

24- Learn about the different ways to use YouTube in your classroom

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

25- Use note taking tools to share interesting content with your students

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

26- Annotate web pages and highlight parts of text to share with your class

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
13 Free Web Annotation Tools for Teachers to Draw, Add notes, and highlight interesting parts in webpages

27- Use of online graphic organizers and printables

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
A List of Free Graphic Organizers for Educators

28- Use of online sticky notes to capture interesting ideas

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
13 Free Sticky Notes Tools for Teachers and Students

29- Use of screen casting tools to create and share tutorials

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
A List of The Best Free Screen Casting Tools for Teachers to Record and Share Tutorials

30- Exploit group text messaging tools for collaborative project work

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
9 Free Group Text Messaging for Educators

31- Conduct an effective search query with the minimum time possible

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :
The Entire Google Search Guide for Teachers

32- Conduct A Research Paper Using Digital Tools

Here are some tools for teachers to develop this skill :

33- Use file sharing tools to share docs and files with students online

A List of The Best File Sharing Tools for Teachers

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Facebook in Education

The Ultimate Guide to The Use of Facebook in Education

There is a growing controversy over the use of Facebook in education.Some argue for its integration  and others disfavour  it. I believe that the main reason behind this controversy is the lack of solid empirical researches about the overall value of not only Facebook but all other popular social networking in education. There are , however, some researchers ( like Crook and Harrison ,Charnigo, Barnett-Ellis, Hewitt and Forte, Mathews, Mazer and Murphy ) who have written about the potential of social networking in education, yet only few studies have specifically addressed its role in pedagogy.

facebook in education

Facebook has, admittedly, been making many inrads into education over the last few years. Be it for or against its use  in education, our students are deeply immersed into this social network. Facebook has become part and parcel of their everyday life. They craft online lives that seamlessly meld with their offline world. Our responsibility as teachers and educators is to help them better leverage this medium and benefit from it educationally and not shun them away from it. Students are very smart and even the one you think is the dumbest in your class will probably embarrass you once you give him a chance online. Students have  long made up their minds about Facebook and we can not change it.

However,  one of the characteristics of a successful teacher is adaptability. Yes, you need to adapt your teaching methods to your new circumstances and according to your students emerging learning needs. The use of Facebook in education is a huge challenge, but not an invincible one. We can turn it into a great learning tool for our students and this is exactly what this post will help you do.

facebook in education

Here is the outline of the main ideas we developed below :

1- Advantages of Facebook in Education
2- Facebook Tips for Teachers
3- Ways Teachers Can Use Facebook
4- Educational Facebook applications for Students and Teachers
5- Facebook Groups for Teachers and Educators to join
5- Facebook Privacy Issues and how to Work on Them

1- Advantages of the use of Facebook in education :

Here are some of the benefits you may harvest from your effective use of Facebook with your students :

  • Relaxed, friendly and inviting atmosphere which encourages students participation and engagement
  • Students feel comfortable learning through Facebook because most of them use it everyday
  • Facebook can promote collaboration and social interchange between participants
  • Students get engaged about their learning outside the classroom
facebook in education

2- Facebook  tips for teachers :

Here are some important tips that teachers need to keep in mind when using Facebook with their students :

  • Teachers should create a seperate account just for their classes
  • Manage your privacy settings to keep your professional and private lives seperate. Click here to read how
  • You need to be diligent about policing what kind of photos are shared on Facebook
  • You need to give clear instructions to students on the kind of stuff to be shared on Facebook
  • You should teach students about netiquette protocol. Click Here to learn more.
  • Ask for parental permission before getting students on Facebook
  • When granted permission always keep parents updated about the learning that is taking place via Facebook
  • Students should never  post threats, racist materials, or libel
  • Always engage in civil and respectful debates. Do not talk bad about your school.
  • Do not add students as friends on personal accounts and always maitain your distance.
  • Use Facebook ‘s flexible privacy settings to pick and choose who can see what on a profile page
  • Teachers can set up a private class group to communicate with students
  • If you have a classroom blog you can import it to Facebook for students to stay updated right from their profiles
  • Do not post personnal comments about ones children, pets,..etc., unless they are relevant to the tasks at hand
  • Do not get involved in a student’s private life
  • No student should ever be forced to add one another as a friend
  • Remind students to police themselves online. Students do better when they feel they are responsible for their learning
  • The last tip is to always stay engaged. Try to remain so even if the class is a poor fit.

3- Ways teachers can use Facebook

Here are some of the ways you can use Facebook for educational purposes :

  • Create a group for your class and strengthen the communication between you and your students. Check this handout to learn how to create your class group on Facebook.
  • Schedule events for the entire class  .
  • Use message utility in Facebook to message your students about unexpected absences, rescheduling of exams…etc.,
  • Share multimedia content like videos, photos, clips and more with your entire class .
  • Post class notes for students to review in case they were absent
  • Try to involve students who are normally shy in the classroom
  • Facilitate classroom connections through letting students know each other more. This is particularly helpful in large classes.
  • Use Facebook to send reminders, announcements, upcoming due dates or any other classroom news.
  • Sharing online content with students such as interesting websites, blogs, wikis, and more
  • Add educational applications to your Facebook group. Scroll down for a list of such applications.
  • Encourage students to post content of their own such as videos, images, news stories and other media that relate back to their lessons.
  • Look for other classrooms online that are willing to collaborate on educational projects, assignments and discussions.
  • Use the events section to remind students of the upcoming field trips

4- Facebook Educational Apps

There are many important Facebook educational apps for both teachers and students :

Here are some for students :

  • WeRead : students use it to talk about books they read and get to know what others read.
  • Notely : Students can use it to organize assignments, classes, notes and many more
  • Study Groups ; They can use it to create study groups and collaborate with each other
  • Used Text Groups : This is a group where students can sell and buy used text books
  • CiteMe : Students use it to learn how to properly include citations

Here are some apps for Teachers :

  • Calendar : Teachers can use it to keep their classes on track with upcoming assignments, test, due dates and many more
  • Courses : They can use it to create instructor page and manage their courses
  • Webinaria : This helps teachers record their class lectures and post them on Facebook for the class to review.
  • To-do-list ; Easily create a reminder list
  • Worldcat : easily search for material available at libraries around the world to help in with your research
  • Check out this List of Facebook Learning Apps to explore more.

Using Facebook to grow professionally also means that you need to join groups designed specifically for educators and teachers where they share links and materials and talk about educational issues. Here is a list of such groups that you might be interested in joining .

5- Facebook Groups for Teachers and Educators

Educators using facebook : This is one of my favourites. Join this to keep in track of what other educators are sharing and talking about.
Facebook for educators : This is where you can learn about how to use Facebook with your students
Education : This is also another great group for educators and teachers
Educators network : this is for teachers who teach young learners
Have fun teaching : This is an excellent resource for teachers
Teachers- sharing ideas and resources for the classroom :  This group is for primary and secondary teachers and is full of great resources.

5- Facebook and privacy issues:

facebook in education

One of the things about Facebook  that scares parents as well as teachers is privacy issues. Again ignorance is behind this fear and once we know how to use Facebook properly we can overcome most of these issues. Here are some great resources to help you learn more about privacy issues in Facebook.


The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Manual

2- Guide to Facebook Security
Click here to download a great guide on Facebook security.

Webliography and further reading resources :

1- Using Facebook in The Elementary School
2- Should Teachers Be on Facebook
3- The Complete Facebook for Educators
4- Facebook Apps for Learning
6- 100 Ways to Use Facebook in your Classroom
7- 50 Useful Facebook Tips for Teachers

Source: Educational Technology & Mobile Learning

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21st century Teaching Practices

10 Teaching Practices Every 21st Century Teacher should Do

Teaching is not only a job but is a way of life.It is a sublime task one can ever be entrusted with. Teachers educate generations of learners and in their hands lays  the faith of any nation. A well developed country is a country whose citizens are well educated and this is done only by effective teaching strategies.

Teachers have also their peaks and valleys, happy moments and sad times. A small conjugal problem can severely affect how a teacher perform in the classroom. Teaching is such a sensitive job that embodies the entire societal, intellectual, and cultural values and being an effective teacher is a challenge that every single player in this field recognizes as the most daunting task.

successful teachers

Leading a successful teaching job requires a high sense of adaptability, for what used to be a successful teacher in the 20th century is now an outdated teacher in the 21st century. Most of us, who are still practising,  have  started with a certain teaching strategy only to end up with a complete different one. Teaching is a job that is extremely prone to every bit of change in society and unless we equip ourselves and our students with the right swimming suit we will definitely be swept away by the power of torrents.

One of the pivotal  facts we should keep in mind is that we teach in a different milieu, a digitally focused environment where technology has the lion’s share. This means that we need the relevant digital  skills  that can help us seamlessly blend in  and leverage the power of technology to improve both teaching and learning. This list of 21st century digital skills every educator should have will empower you with the right tools to start with.

Are digital skills the only key elements  needed for us to be labelled effective teachers ? Definitely not. There are also certain practices that we should develop to accompany this progress. Below is a list of some of the most important teaching practices we need to maintain. Whether you are an experienced teacher or a newly fledged one, these practices will help you focus your teaching and have bigger impact on your students. Some  are about attitudes, while others are basic approaches to class structure, but they are all great and helpful.

1- Maintain good communication skills

21st century teaching practices

A successful  teacher is one that is able to build a rapport with his /her students, one that can easily connect with his learners and feel their needs as individuals. Open and clear communication is the key to develop a healthy friendly learning atmosphere inside your class.

2- Getting students engagement

21st century teaching practices

There is nothing as challenging as getting students engagement and holding their attention. Today’s students are multitasked and can hardly maintain a long concentration. They can easily get bored and therefore disconnected. There are many ways you can fight off this problem : Use interesting educational games and activities, use technology and multimedia resources and finally make your teaching student-centred and try your maximum to relate what you teach to students immediate environment.

3- Use Humour

21st century teaching practices

Relevant doses of humour to spice up your teaching are highly recommended. Forget about the authoritative and coercive style of teaching , for experience proved that it only disheartens learners and kills their motivation.  Use humour at appropriate times; this can lead to students engagement and build up their confidence. You need, however, to maintain the right balance between instruction and joking and don’t let your whole class become an hour long comedy routine. Avoid the off-colour jokes and be sensitive to the cultural backgrounds of your students.

4- Act don’t react

21st century teaching practices

Students are very smart and it is part of their  juvenile nature to try to get you. You are, for them, like a computer screen, they keep trying out all the keyboard buttons to find your weak point. Learn their game and play it with them carefully. Sometimes ignoring a disruptive  behaviour is way better than reacting to it and in case it becomes repetitive or serious then make sure to talk it out with the student involved alone and not in front of the whole class.

5- Be clear and precise in your instructions

21st century teaching practices

Remember you are teaching digitally focused students with short attention span. Several of the problems some teachers face are due to ambiguous and unclear instructions. Cut off on the clutter and be to the point. Show them the red lines and explain to them classroom ethics and what you can tolerate.

6- Give room to individualized learning

21st century teaching practices

Not all students are equal in their comprehensive powers. Students learn in different ways, like seeing, hearing, and experiencing things at first hand. Research has even proved that students can perform better on test if they change study habits to fit their own personal learning styles.Therefore, some students  are slow learners and others are quick, some kinesthetic ( learn by experience or doing ) others are auditory or visual. Keep these considerations in your mind and do your best to tend to every kind of learner you might have in your class.

7- Positive feedback

21st century teaching practices

» good job, excellent,..ect» are simple words that might not mean anything to you but they mean the whole world to students. Think back to the days when you were a student and how a positive feedback from your teacher would make both your and your parents whole day. Publicly praise positive behaviour and show your students that you are celebrating their achievements as well.

8- Involve students in decision making

21st century teaching practices

Students tend to do great when they feel they are trusted and  that they are real parts in the learning / teaching operation. Use voting and polling to invistigate about a certain topic or classroom assignment. Try from time to time to give them the wheel and let them lead. This is a great way to inspire students to increase their productivity.

9- Use peer  learning

21st century teaching practices

Peer learning is a form of cooperative learning that enhances the value of student-student interaction and results in various advantageous learning outcomes. For peer learning to be effective, the teacher must ensure that the entire  group experiences positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, group processing, and individual and group accountability. Here are some of the strategies  to help you facilitate successful peer learning as stated in this article :

  • Buzz groups : This is a large group of students subdivided into smaller groups of 4-5 students to consider issues surrounding a problem.
  • Affinity groups : Groups of 4-5 students are each assigned particular tasks to work on outside of formal contact time
  • Solution and critic groups ; One sub-group is assigned a discussion topic for a tutorial and the other groups constitute critics who observe, offer comments and evaluate the sub-group presentation
  • Teach-Write-Discuss : At the end of a unit of instruction, students have to answer short question and justify their answers. After working on them individually they can then compare their answers with each others.

10- Love your subject/ job

21st century teaching practices

The best way to get students interested in your subject, from sciences to language to arts, is to love it so much that your passion for the field shows in your attitude. Students positively respond to authenticity. And as Abraham Lincoln once said » Love the job you do and you will never have to work a day «.
To finish up, here is an awesome video featuring the 7 habits of highly ineffective educators

source: Educational Technology & Mobile Learning blog

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Most important web tools in Education

Teachers Easy Guide to The Most Important Web Tools in Education

When it comes to using web resources with our students, time plays a decisive role.It is next to impossible for  a busy teacher restricted by curriculum constraints, day to day lesson preparations, assignment corrections, to mention but a few of his chores, to effectively search the web and find the adequate resources to share with his/ her students. Most people just do not have the time to learn all these technologies  and  some educators pick just one or two websites of interest and start exploring them.

This is definitely not the right thing to do particularly if you want to leverage the huge potential of technology into your classroom.There is, however, a simple roudabout to this problem. Look for educational technology blogs ( such as the one you are reading now ) and subscribe to their feeds to stay updated about the latest web tools to use in your instruction. In this regard, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has compiled a list of some of the best web tools we have reviewed before. These tools are aggregated into lists that you can bookmark and access whenever you want :

1- A List of The Best Video Editing Tools for Teachers

2-  A List of The Best Digital Story Telling Tools for Teachers

3-  A List of The Best drawing and Painting Tools for Teachers

4-  A List of The Best Presentation Making Tools for Teachers

5-  A List of The Best PDF Tools for Teachers

6-  A List of The Best YouTube Tools for Teachers

7-  A List of The Best Bookmarking Tools for Teachers

8-  A List of The Best Comic Strips Creating Tools for Teachers

9-  A List of The Best Photo Editing Tools for Teachers

10-  A List of The Best Digital Skills for Teachers

11-  A List of The Best Tools to Teach Creativity to your Students

12- A List of The Best Tools to Create and Administer Quizzes

13- A List of The Best Mind Mapping Tools for Teachers

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21st Century Skills for Educators

A Quick Guide to 21st Century Critical Thinking Skills for Educators

Critical thinking skills are what we want our students to develop. Without these skills we can not guarantee a sound and effective education that will enable our kids to seamlessly blend in tomorrow ‘s  job market. Therefore, it is our responsibility as teachers and educators to fully understand the components of this set of skills in order to better focus on them in our instruction.

Critical Thinking Skills

[Source: Enokson]

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Skype in education?

Hi again! Look at the following link regarding the use of Skype in education and comment on it. If the link doesn’t open, please copy and paste it anew in your browser

See you at the comments section!

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The following article comes from and applies to most of our teaching contexts. Read it through and leave a comment at the end of it thus answering the question that rounds off the text.

How To Teach Large Groups: The More The Merrier?

Depending on where you teach, you could face classes of 30 or 40 students.

In some countries even larger classes are not uncommon. With only one teacher and maybe one assistant, teaching such a large group of students can be a challenge. Here are some strategies you can use in different stages of the lesson to encourage everyone to participate and make the most out of your time with students.

How to Teach Large Groups

Always Warm Them Up First

Plan activities that encourage students to volunteer answers, work together in teams, or in some other way participate in the lesson. The most important thing is to get them thinking and speaking in English. If it is a particularly sluggish class, plan to have students out of their chairs and moving around the classroom (see our article ‘TPR Tricks: 5 Fabulous Ways to Use Total Physical Response in the ESL Classroom’). Fast paced activities will increase student talking time and engage more students in the exercise.

Introduce While Eliciting

Your introduction should not be a time for students to passively acknowledge information. This is a time for you to see what they already know related to the topic while giving them the necessary bits of information they will need to complete activities later on in class. Elicit information such as vocabulary from students. You can call on students if you are asking them to recall something you have already covered but should rely on volunteers if you are fishing for something new. Students in classes this size are usually at a couple different levels depending on their interest in English so eliciting material is a great way to see what information students can provide on specific topics.

First Practice As A Class

The first practice activity should be done as a class so that students can get an idea of what the target material is and hear you model everything correctly. Further practice can often be done individually, in pairs, or in groups. The main challenge while students are working on something is monitoring them. It is impossible to listen to more than one conversation at a time so walk through the class during the practice time to ensure that students are doing the activity, answer questions, and correct the mistakes you are fortunate enough to catch. After students have completed the activity is when you will have the opportunity to check their understanding of the material. Cover everything in the practice activity as a class and call on students who have not yet spoken. Quieter students may simply be shy but usually, students who do not volunteer do not feel confident about their answers and may need extra help.

Production Stage: Encourage Pairwork & Groupwork

Pairs and groups are good for production exercises unless you want students to do a writing activity, in which case you should consider having students work individually. It is important that students work with one another because they can help each other while you are busy assisting different groups whereas individuals have only their knowledge to draw on and thus are less likely to notice their own mistakes. Just like with the practice activities above, be sure to have students present their material from this part of the lesson to the class. This gives you the chance to deliver individualized feedback and allows students to hear some more examples. This is kind of late in the class for students to realize they have been practicing something incorrectly but it is better late than never and you can always encourage students to ask questions about anything they are uncertain about. Students are often hesitant to ask questions but by creating an open, friendly, and constructive learning environment, you will have gone a long way towards setting your students at ease.

Revision Is Fun

Review activities are very similar to warm ups. Something fun and fast paced will help you end class on a positive note while reinforcing what you talked about during the lesson. Here you should definitely call on students who have not spoken up during the rest of the lesson to see if they are following along. This is another great time for you to assess how students are doing and think about what you might want to review at the beginning of the next lesson.

While large groups of students can make classroom management and discipline especially challenging, you are also able to do a lot of fun activities with sizable classes that are not appropriate for smaller class sizes. For example, Chinese Whispers is a fun team game that should be done with at least two or three teams with several members each. In a class with about ten to fifteen students, you would have to adapt the game to be a class exercise instead of a team one. With practice, you will be able to manage even extremely large class sizes with ease.

What size classes do you teach?

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Messinia English Educators’ blogspot!

Dear colleagues,

I would like to inform you of the present blogspot as our new interactive space for fruitful exchange of ideas and views. I hope it is going to be our brand new point of reference!

I  also wish you to enjoy the beautiful days of summer!

Best Regards

Angeliki Anagnostopoulou

State School Advisor for Messinia Prefecture

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