KNOW YOUR CLASSROOM AND STUDENTS

It is all too easy these days for teachers to become disassociated from the classroom teaching space and somewhat “distant” from pupils in terms of the seating within. This has come about in part because of our preoccupation with computer and with the requirement that we are forever developing data to input, indicating student progress.

Unfortunately it can happen the teachers very rarely leave their tables because of attachment to this device. Communication with students across the classroom is by voice.

I believe it is important for teachers to be aware of the physical presence of the children and where those students are sitting.

As a person who sometimes worked at schools level with teachers on practice I followed the rule of drawing a map and over a period of time showing how, where, and when teachers moved around the classroom to contact students the desk level. This can be done in two ways. The first is to have a photograph of the classroom as it’s set up but without students at desks. On the face of that “blank” draw a line that tracks the route followed by teachers around the classroom over a period of say 20 minutes. The other method more simply is to draw an outline of the classroom including desk locations. In the same way track the teacher for a point in time indicating direction of movement by occasional arrows across the track path.

Student teachers always appreciated that feedback. It shows where they’ve been, how they’ve moved, which students have been contacted the most, which the least and so on. It also shows students in terms of the movement toward a teacher rather than allowing the teacher to circulate.

It is very important for teachers to spend time with each student and this is best done by getting away from the teachers table, leaving the computer, then moving around talking to students and seeing how their work at an individual or group level within classrooms is progressing.

The other great thing about this methodology is that it helps teachers to get to know students, to appreciate their strengths and weaknesses and to better understand the way they relate to each other with in the classroom. This awareness is very important and sadly often overlooked.

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