Effective Teachers

Effective Teachers dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorAs a teacher’s aide I get to assist in a variety of settings and work side-by-side with numerous professionals. Some are very experienced, and some are brand new. Longevity does not always equate to the best teaching methods, however.

I am a student of human behavior, so I constantly observe to see what works and what does not work with kids. Here are a few things that might help you become a more effective teacher:

  • You don’t have to yell at kids to get their attention. I have seen teachers use very low key methods for getting the attention of very rowdy classes and do it without ever raising their voices. Some of them raise their hand and wait for every student to raise their hand. One by one they get the message. The message is clear…when the teacher’s hand is raised, be silent and look at the teacher. Another teacher said: One, two, three, eyes on me. The kids responded: One, two…eyes on YOU. I was shocked at how well that one worked! Another teacher uses a hand clap that they mimic to get their attention. Whatever works for you….do it without yelling. Too many kids are yelled at when they are at home. You can’t yell loud enough to get the attention of some of these kids. Don’t fall into that trap.
  • The teachers that are extremely effective give clear direction, set the expectation for the project at hand, and then circulate to make sure everyone is on task and understands. They check regularly to see if someone is stuck or not engaged.
  • Effective teachers give kids not just “the what” but “the why.” Kids want to know why they are doing something. What is in it for them? Isn’t that what everyone wants to know when given an assignment? Nobody likes busy-work that is pointless. Let them know how it is going to benefit them. That is the basics of selling, by the way. You sell the sizzle…not the steak, and if you are teaching…you ARE selling. You are selling kids on your ideas, your thoughts, your feeling, and the curriculum at hand. Happy selling.


Dan Skognes

2 Responses to “Effective Teachers”

  1. Cliff Loriot says:

    Hi, Dan.

    Your observations about good methods for getting the attention of a rowdy class of students are worth using. I’d like to mention a method I saw used in a private school that was a bad method.

    I was the maintenance electrician for the school, so I was responsible for replacing the fluorescent lamps in the light fixtures. I was walking down the hall in one of the elementary school wings and saw the lights in a classroom going off and on in rapid succession.

    So I informed my supervisor of what I had seen, and let him know that doing this shortened the life of the lamps because their life is based on the number of times they are turned on. I won’t explain the technical details of that.

    But there’s also another principle to go by when deciding whether or not to turn off a fluorescent light. It’s called “The 15-Minute Rule.” If you are going to be leaving the room for more than 15 minutes, turn the lights off; otherwise, leave them on.

    In addition to that, I stated that this method would eventually become ineffective because the students would intentionally become rowdy just to get the teacher to do it. In general, kids (and even some older human beings) are like that.

    My supervisor responded by sending a memo to all the teachers to refrain from using this method, for which I was grateful. He was a good man to work under and, as far as I’m concerned, was the best overall boss I had.

    Thanks for allowing me to comment on your post.

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