Words of Wisdom #3: Check Student Understanding

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“Are there any questions?” isn’t a reliable method to check student understanding. But substituting the words “What are you wondering?” or “What have I not made clear?” creates the opportunity for students to express safely what they do not yet understand.   A CHECK FOR BRAVERY, NOT STUDENT UNDERSTANDING   “Are there any questions?” Here is a ubiquitous interrogative phrase teachers utter after just about any explanation. Teachers generally intend it to check student understanding.  But consider it from a student’s point of view – especially if you are an adolescent student.  Here is an invitation to appear ignorant before your […]

Words of Wisdom #2: Classroom Management with Physical Proximity

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Using physical proximity as a classroom management technique ensures student on-task behavior (and prevents student misbehavior).   THE POWER OF PHYSICAL PROXIMITY The power of a teacher’s physical proximity is amazing.  I severely underestimated this power my first year of teaching.  I confess that I pretty much sat behind my teacher’s desk or perched on a stool behind a podium. Fact is, especially in a first period of 40 eighth graders, I wanted something between me and them at all times.  It could be desk, a podium, a lion-tamer’s chair… ANYTHING for a barrier.  I did not understand the power […]

Words of Wisdom #1: Teacher Sharing and “Stealing”

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Teacher sharing and “stealing”… a prescription to increase teacher effectiveness (and to avoid burnout).   TEACHER SHARING As you continue in your career, you will do some things really well. When you do, share them.  We are a profession, and that is what professionals do.  When doctors discover cures, they tell other doctors so more people can get well.  When teachers discover effective management strategies, teaching techniques, home-school communication methods, and any of those other great things we do, we too must share. Teacher sharing is truly a moral responsibility. The story is told of a third-grade teacher in a […]