As educators, we want our students to excel but sometimes struggle with how to do it. Check out these 10 simple and straightforward tips that can lead your students to educational success.
Make Learning Fun
Lectures are important, but your students don’t love them. You may see them zoning out or doodling from time to time. This generation is accustomed to multiple methods of stimulation so try to bring experiments, exercises, or other educational tasks into the classroom to make learning come alive for them. Use group projects and presentations as a way for them to “teach” the class about a topic. Group work also encourages collaboration and team building which are valuable life skills.
Share your, hobbies whether that’s rock climbing or creating personalized blankets, sharing your personality will get your students to feel like they know you and can approach you with issues or problems. You don’t want to be just another teacher talking at them from the front of the classroom. You want to be THAT teacher; the one they remember throughout their lives, the one who taught them a valuable lesson or shared an experience with them that stuck.
Teach Study Skills as Necessary
Don’t assume previous teachers have guided students through the processes of note taking, outlining, and preparing for tests and projects. Remember you want them to be successful not only in your class but also in all their future educational endeavors so take the time to review these concepts even though they are not in your plans.
Emphasize the Importance of Planning
Outline your expectations as early as possible and provide them with the details and dates they need to succeed. You may want to remind them as the course progresses about those dates so they don’t forget or lose track of time.
Demonstrate Time Management
The further they get in their academic careers, the more they will recount the phrase, “I don’t have time.” Do the math for them to demonstrate the hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks of the year they have to eat, sleep, and study. Then, compare the time they spend studying with the time they will spend working at their chosen job or career. They will quickly understand that they have more time as a student than they will ever have in their adult life so use it wisely to study and learn.
Hold Students Accountable
You gave them the projects and dates, reminded them as the dates approached, and showed them that time management is well within their realm of control as a full time student. If they are late with projects or deliver substandard work as a result of minimal effort, don’t let them off the hook. They will learn more by earning a bad grade than being coddled to improve their work for a better grade.
Be Available to Offer Extra Help
In spite of your and their best efforts, you will encounter students who will struggle with the material. Encourage them to come to you for additional help or a different explanation. After all, everyone learns differently. What works for most won’t work for all so be prepared to offer different guidance to those who struggle. Let them know it is not a sign of stupidity or a character flow to struggle with a concept, rather it is a sign of maturity to accept help and work hard to learn the material.
Change the Pace Often
Keep the students guessing and coming back for more. As they get old enough to cut class, you want to have the class they will never cut. Take them out of the tried and true classroom and have class outside or in a different place in the building. Add adventure to their learning process by keeping them slightly off balance and not knowing what will happen next in your class.
Use Technology as Appropriate
This generation of students is glued to their phones, tablets, and laptops with YouTube and Google quickly accessible. Instead of ignoring or banishing technology, try to embrace it and use it appropriately in the classroom. Can you Skype with another person or school in a way that enhances their educational experience? If a YouTube video demonstrate a concept in a new or different way. Use it; they will appreciate it.
Reward Excellent Work
Similar to holding them accountable for below average work, you need to reward excellent work also. Be creative and age appropriate with the rewards. Would they enjoy lunch with you for doing stellar work? How about tickets to a movie or museum that may be pertinent to classroom material? Of course, the reward is the grade, but a little extra recognition or perk always encourages greater effort from them.