The Ability To Carry Out More Productive Lessons
In the first weeks of my school placement I had difficulty in providing a positive learning environment. I realised that I lost the attention of pupils from the first minute they walked into the class. They did not seem to be interested in learning, they did not comply with my instructions, and low-level disruptions accelerated. I tried to follow the school behaviour policy, but I had to give detention to more than half of the class. My mentor advised me to change the way I conducted my starter activity to overcome these problems.
I adjusted the difficulty of the starter questions. Prior to these changes, my starter questions were more challenging, so students were asking several questions for clarification and this meant that I had to deal with all those questions. At the same time, as it was the school’s policy to keep the students’ books in the school, I had to hand out their books as well as providing some lesson stationery to students. All of these resulted in constant teacher-student communication. I felt that it was impossible for me to explain my starter questions, provide stationery items to students and hand out their book as well as greet them at the door. I had to make some adjustments to the lesson.
I planned my starter activity in a way that students did not need to ask any questions. Secondly, I asked some students to hand out the books to use the time efficiently. Afterwards, I started giving non-verbal instructions and feedback during starter activity time. For example, if I wanted to ask a student to be quiet or start solving questions, I used body language. After some time, students would now enter the classroom silently and begin solving the starter questions. I also started using green and red coloured markers to give feedback while pupils were solving the questions. In the first weeks of my teaching I did not give feedback; thus, not all students were on task. After seeing that I would circulate around the room and mark their books with green or red markers, students were more motivated to be on task. Having a smooth beginning to the lesson gave me the ability to carry out more productive lessons. It was an amazing observation for me that even with a smile and eye contact I was able to attract a student’s attention to the lesson and prevented students from being off-task. I observed significant improvement with students’ behaviour after those changes.
By Muhammet Guler