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Jonathan Law

Teacher in training!!

September 30, 2006 at 6:28 PM

6 weeks ago, I started my post-grad in music teaching and it's been bloody hard so far! I had my first placement teaching primary school children after only one week on the course and this week I've been in a high school, "observing". I add the inverted commas because there has been much more than observation going on, I've had to give out discipline and teaching already. Any class music teacher on that can give an overwhelmed trainee some advice?

Bloody hell, thank god it's Saturday night!

From janet griffiths
Posted on October 1, 2006 at 6:09 AM
Each lesson needs to be prepared like a military campaign.Try to vary activities as too much tv and computer has rendered todays children with a limited concentration span.Above all know what you want to achieve at the end of the lesson and convey those goals to the children.Try not to take to drink.Good luck
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on October 2, 2006 at 4:03 AM
what age do you mean by primary school teaching? Not sure because I live in Japan. I am both a professioanl teacher and teacher trainer in the field of EFL at all ages. some of what I teach might help.
1) For the youngest classes. Have a clear structure to the lesson and a clear indicator of when the lesson moves from pne stage to the next. Even go the extreme of having a poster with a magnetic marker that you move down the names of various activities as you prgress throuhgh the lesson.
2) Generalized instructions for discipline are not useful. IE it is not effective to tell the whole class to be quiet. Pick out the clear offender and -name them-. Identify the perosn by name and ask them to desist in whatever they are doing.
3) As an extension of above, know your studnets names. It means a lot of work memorizing names from photographs. The dividends are huge.
4) Tell your students what you expect from them from the beginning. You are going to have some class rules. For example, you want to be addressed as `Mr.` or whatever. Or homwork is to be hande din the next day etc. But if you don`t make your rules clear from the beignning it will be percieved a sunfair if you then turn on a student at a later date for breaking one of your rules they didn`t know about...
5) Identify behaviour that you think is good and `praise it`as what is desirable in the classroom. In the long run it is more effective than continually being negative.
6) Prepare your lessons really well. Pracitce at home in front of a mirror if necessary. You have to look and act with complete confidence.
7) Don`t make discplinary threats for actions unless you intend to follow through with them. For example, a useful tehcnique is called the `Danger List.` A child misbehaves so you write their name on the Blackboard and leave it there for five minutes. If after that time the studnet has began behaving the name is erased. If a studnet has the name on the Bb at the end of the lesson , or has had the name up three times or whatever they have to endure a disciplinary action of some kind. this action must be folowed through. No exceptions.
8) Never forget that stduents know things. find out what they know before teachign something.
9) Always have back up activities related to the basic lesson plan in case you run throuhg things too quickly.
10) Time should be spect at the end of the lesson going over what has been learnt.
11) Homework has huge potential for creating trouble. Very opften students haven`t udnerstood what you wnat of them. Asking students to rpeeat back to you what you have asked them to do is a fundamental technique for clarification. This is importnat in any stage of a lesson. You will be amazed how accident prone human communication is and it isn`t always the students fault. You have no right to get mad iin such a case.Asking students if they have understood and then accepting a `yes/no` response (ysually yes) is a waste of time.
12) Find out about the studnets interests in the real world and bring them into the lesson whenever possible.
Hope this helps,

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