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Important Theories and Ideas

There are four basic parts to being a good teacher:
  • Class discipline
  • Lesson quality
  • Relationship with students
  • Self-improvement

With improvement, there are always things one can do to learn more and make things better. With teaching, this is especially so. Learn to use new tools and incorporate new theories to improve lessons!

Learning Formula (Match)

The formula is simple: Learning = Discipline x Student Effort x Lesson Quality

If students are misbehaving, they will not learn. Teachers can minimize this by:

  • Anticipating what could go wrong.
  • Being simple, clear, and short in directions.
  • Showing instead of telling.
  • Getting student attention before talking.
  • Telling students what is good behavior and praising it.

If students are trying, they will learn. Teachers can maximize this by:

  • Targeting those students most in need.
  • Developing good relationships with students.
  • Responding automatically and consistently to behaviors.
  • Creating active, fast-paced, engaging lessons.

If lessons are good, students will learn. Lessons can be improved by:

  • Thinking of the value of lessons to students, end-of-year goals, and so on.
  • Anticipating problems and adapting solutions to student ability.
  • Creating positive feedback loops.

For more, take a look at the Match MOOC.

Cooperative Learning (Kagan)

In essence, this means to get students to help each other to achieve new goals. There are four main points:

  1. Positive Interdependence – Work together to achieve a common goal.
  2. Individual Accountability – Everyone must do work.
  3. Equal Participation – Everyone has a task to do and an equal chance to do it.
  4. Simultaneous Interaction – Everyone is active at the same time.

What’s necessary for cooperative learning to work is building teams and team-based routines so that students can teach each other, praise each other, and support each other as necessary. This enables students to be less teacher-dependent and can reduce bullying, as well as allowing student teams to achieve greater goals than could be done individually. In addition, team-building when done in school years allows students to build the soft skills necessary for future work.

For beginning teachers, why not try group work instead of lecturing to students?
Learn more at KaganOnline and JALT.

Intercultural Communicative Competence and Deep Culture

Language and culture are deeply intertwined, but even specific cultures have subcultures and age groups that use different dialects or vocabulary. Because language is based on ideas, these multicultural differences can lead to misunderstandings and ineffective communication.
To get students to communicate effectively, they need to do three things:
  • Understand others by looking from the viewpoints of others.
  • Analyze their own culture by comparing it to others or looking at it from an outside view.
  • Experience lessons, rather than simple being lectured.
By looking at factors beyond simply what is presented or known, students can understand why a culture behaves as it does, instead of simply repeating stereotypes, which can are often incorrect and even insulting.
Read more at ATESL.