Tips and Tricks to Make the Most of Limited Classroom Time
Running a Classroom Involves Managing Attention
Yes, that seems obvious. You hold the attention of your students, convey some information, and then send them home.
In real life, it's far more complicated. For teachers, it isn't enough to know the "right words" to "inspire" our students. Instead, we must guide them through interactions that:
- generate interest
- convey information
- encourage independent engagement
Additionally, a course must establish a professional respectful atmosphere. At a minimum, a good introduction to the course will accomplish the following:
- establish rules for respect
- describe workload expectations
- explain the learning outcomes
On this page, I'll discuss several of the strategies I've used over the years to encourage student focus. But I'll also include a number of links to instructors sharing their strategies. As with all pedagogy, each instructor must adapt strategies to fit the content and "personality" of the course.
Online Classrooms Create Unique Challenges
Although generating student interest is never "easy," it's always easier when you can see your students and have quick conversations with them. For online courses, this is a much more difficult process — if we aren't careful, we become prisoners to the wall of the screen.
When teaching online, we want to ensure we produce activities that engage students and draw them in — it's the same goal as in a face-to-face classroom, but may require using digital tools in new and unique ways.
Though the demonstration comes from a second-grade classroom, the method is easily adapted for K12 and college courses.
F2F Teaching Strategies (Coming Soon!)
Groups of the Day
I like to regularly randomize the seating arrangements in my classroom. This way, students meet more of their classmates, which encourages greater exchange of ideas across project groups and a more positive and welcoming atmosphere.
Frequently dreaded and reviled, the group project can be made more productive through guided activities, grouping students by interest, and absolute adherence to individual grading.
Classroom Conundrums (Coming Soon!)
The Self-Segregating Classroom
What should we do when our students want to group themselves along cultural lines of race, gender, and sexual orientation?
Addressing Social Justice Issues in the Classroom
Many college students are unfamiliar with how racism, sexism, or homophobia can affect access to higher education and the job market — many others are painfully aware of the barriers that they and their loved ones have faced. How can we introduce these topics in ways that invited discussion, develop research skills, and foster a greater understanding of outside perspectives?
Digital Literacy: Teaching in the Era of the FaceTubed SnapTweet
Our students are writing more than ever before, but their social media genres are far, far different from the academic papers we assign. How do we help students become more successful communicators both in the classroom and in the maelstrom of social media?