?Tools for teachers to ensure that learners are coping –
Facing a class with teenagers with different backgrounds, personalities, problems and stress levels is never easy at the best of times. Determining whether they are coping overall is not an easy task either.
The following tools and tips are pointers to make it somewhat easier for you as a teacher to endeavour to ensure your learners are coping.
- ? Show compassion and understanding
Most teachers are compassionate most of the time. They wouldn’t be able to do their job if they weren’t.
But everyone knows that there are those lessons, days, or weeks, that it becomes difficult to manage all that needs to be done without becoming a tad frazzled and a wee bit irritable.
A gentle reminder to yourself to remain kind, flexible, compassionate and understanding should nudge you – and as a result thereof the learners in your class – in the right direction. Resort to a stern talking-to if you don’t seem to be listening to your inner voice.?
- ? Passive (learning) is passé
Active learning actively engages learners with subject material through discussions, problem solving, case studies, role plays and other methods. It helps to maintain learner concentration and to develop critical thinking skills.
Active learning stimulates learners’ curiosity and gives them a voice and an opportunity for engagement. Engagement is essential to determine whether individual learners are coping.
Passive teaching does nothing but provide learners with ready made answers.
- ? Structure the start of your lessons
Begin a new topic or section of work with an opportunity for learners to ask questions on what has already been taught as well as on what is about to be discussed.
If learners are able to explain to each other what has been taught in previous lessons it means that they have truly reflected on what they have learned.
This also means that they are self-monitoring as well as receiving help, when needed, from their peers. In addition they are keeping track of their own academic progress.
- ? Refrain from fragmenting information
Inevitably some fragmenting of information takes place when you are dealing with an entire topic or chapter, as any experienced teacher will know e.g. in Accounting you need to learn what debits & credits and assets & liabilities are before you learn about the different kinds of financial statements.
Take care, though, to show your learners how different fragments of information connect to form the whole or the ‘big(ger)’ picture (also see tip 3). If this is not done it could cause learners to lose interest or concentration and some learners will fall behind and cease to cope with the subject content covered in the classroom.
- ? Aim for less stress
Set reasonable deadlines for yourself and for your learners. Give enough time for homework to be done.
If you are stressed, your learners will feel stressed too. In the same way, if your learners are stressed it will have an impact on you – and your teaching – and the atmosphere in your classroom too.
- ? Look after yourself
Spoil yourself, get enough rest and be easy on yourself! That will make you a better teacher in the end.