Here’s a great quote I just read in Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” I wish all politicians would write books before they get into power, this guy is amazing. Anyway, here’s your quote for the day:
|“Recent studies show that the single most important factor in determining a student’s achievement isn’t the color of his skin or where he comes from, but who the child’s teacher is”
– Barack Obama,
It’s nice to have the president on your side!
This is so true. Sadly, I no longer remember the name of the original teacher who inspired me to get into languages 40 years ago but she certainly was a powerful force in my life back then.
I imagine we all remember a special teacher. Mine was an English teacher in the later years of my education who inspired me to start reading lots of classics and different literature. He always had time for his students and valued their opinions. He never shouted and had full control of his classes. He was motivating and motivated!!!
Certainly true for me, too.
And, sadly, my experiences of elementary school teachers in Japan doesn’t bode too well for the future of many kids. The difference between classes with a lively, engaging teacher and the morose dreary type is painfully obvious.
Teachers do a lot but not everything. In my classe, children who want to work, even if it’s hard will do something. Th one who doesen’t want to, even with a great teacher won’t do anything.
I’d respectfully have to disagree with you here! 🙂 It’s the real teaching that comes in when we have children that “won’t do anything.” Those are the kids that we have to reach out to, to find out the magic bullet, the magic word, technique or idea that sparks their interest and makes them want to work. That’s where the skill, and hardest part of course, of the job comes. Remember there’s no such thing as a “bad student!” As soon as we start thinking there are, we’ve lost the game.
I totally agree with what you say, Richard.
When I started teaching years ago, I had exactly the same attitude. My resolve to ‘find the magic technique’ was only strengthened by the negativity of so many old hands in the schools I worked at. They used to drive me crazy!
I’d like to think I succeeded on many occasions. Certainly, I had plenty of fantastic feedback from kids who came in to the room sullen and disinterested and left smiling and eager.
But, over the years, I must admit it has become harder to maintain the energy and positivity required to hang on to that idealism. That is why I find the materials and ideas – and, above all, the sheer GENKINESS -flowing out of everyone here so inspiring and supportive.
Thanks Richard! Keep it up!
Richard, you are so spot on! Nothing motivates like success! If you as a teacher can make teachers feel successful than you have a classroom of motivated students. I think the problem is that teachers think they have to teach the material. I have realized that this is SO wrong. You start by looking in their eyes and seeing if they get it. If they don’t you find ways that they can. I don’t think I really understood that 99% of the students can learn, it’s just that they don’t all learn in the same way.
Once you start finding ways that work and teaching to the students (look in their eyes) teaching is such a joy.
For me I have learned:
1. To really go slow. It’s not enough that they can kind of understand the meaning, they have to understand the meaning AND start to recognize how theh use of the English words can change them.
2. You need to CONSTANTLY check on understanding. Get students to answer yes/no questions, have them gesture, get them moving to commands, sing(read) along and suddenly stop for them to say the next word
Use Power Teaching ideas to get students to teach others or to clap or repeat at the right time.
3. Get to know the students. Of course you can talk about the characters in the textbook, but if you really want to reach the students, talk about them!
4. Praise, Praise and Praise. Find ways to make students feel successful. The power teaching Super Phonics does a superior job at that. It’s not realistic for all students to be #1 or get 100 on a test. But if you help them create and surpass their own goals, you have given them the golden key to learning.
Sorry for the long post. Following these guidelines I have truly TAUGHT more students. In fact I have even taught more material. In my first 10+ years of teaching I used to be able to count the look of ‘aha, I got it!’ in students’ eyes on one hand. Now I see it on a regular basis.
Teach the students. Nothing motivates like success!