• As teachers prepare lessons for the new school year, instructional coach David Ginsburg warns that similar methods will not be as effective for all teachers. He writes in How does your teaching style affect student learning? that teaching techniques and curricula will rely heavily on teachers’ class management.  He writes about an experience in his own classroom in which he changed how he interacted with students to improve teaching and learning.

    Additional links:

    Classroom Management

    Children Should be Seen and Heard

    Motivation or Manipulation?

    Don’t Prevent Students’ Mistakes, Prepare for Them

    Great Teachers: Perfectly Imperfect

    Controlling Teacher, Out of Control Classroom 

    9 Strategies for Motivating Students in Mathematics

    Motivating students to be (enthusiastically) receptive is one of the most important aspects of mathematics instruction and a critical aspect of the Common Core State Standards. Effective teachers should focus attention on the less interested students as well as the motivated ones. Presented in this blog post are NINE TECHNIQUES, based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, which can be used to motivate secondary school students in mathematics.

    9 Strategies for Motivating Students in Mathematics

    Success in Mathematics is like success in sport. It can be achieved only through active participation and much practice.
    1. It is imperative that you take complete class notes and read the class notes in detail.
    2. Understanding Mathematics is hard work and the process of acquiring knowledge takes a concerted effort on the part of the student. You may sometimes need to spend more time on your assignment.
    3. As soon after class as possible, study your class notes and examples.
    4. Then read carefully the section of the textbook related to the material, giving special attention to the vocabulary, basic concepts and problem examples. You may want to relate this reading to your class notes, highlighting the concepts which have been discussed.
    5. Now begin the assignment. To do so earlier is foolhardy, since the assignment is designed to be practice and application of the ideas and concepts, which you really need to grasp and understand before you do the assignment; hence, prior study of the ideas is essential!
    6. Check your answers in the back of the textbook as you go along. If you are having difficulties, go back and restudy, looking at theexamples done in class and in the textbook for similarities to your problem; then try your problem again.
    7. If difficulties arise at this point, and you are unable to work them out for yourself, then the time has come to seek help. Ask for clarifications when the assignment is reviewed during class. Schedule a meeting with your teacher. Do not wait until the next quiz/test.
    8. When you have successfully completed your assignment, go back and reread the text sections and class notes again, for emphasis and review of the concepts. This won’t take very long, and it pays big dividends in locking in the concepts, processes and terminology into your “memory bank.”
    9. Keep up with daily assignments and don’t fall behind. Math often builds on previous topics, and mastery of material is important.
    10. One final suggestion: don’t get discouraged, and above all don’t give up too easily. Mathematics is challenging, but it can also be fun, interesting, intellectually rewarding, and very useful!

    Adapted from the Ohio State University, Department of Mathematics 

    Formative Assessments

    Teachers use Formative Assessments to quickly assess students’ abilities and understandings during a lesson, or a series of lessons.  Ideally, formative assessments should provide immediate evidence of student learning and whether students are grasping the material, thus allowing teachers to adjust instruction based on students’ needs and to monitor students’ progress in achieving the learning objectives. It should be a vital element of classroom activity.

    Both formal and informal methods could be employed as formative assessments, such as homework, ungraded quizzes, individual and class discussions, observations, collaborative learning groups, think-alouds, exit tickets etc.

    It is worth stressing that formative assessments will not lead to improved student learning without remedial activities to address the identified needs.  These activities should present the concepts and engage students in learning differently.

    Find more resources for formative assessments at Teaching and Math Methodology-Assessment Resources  

    Effective Questioning

    The art of asking questions is one of the basic skills of good teaching. Socrates believed that knowledge and awareness were an intrinsic part of each learner. Thus, in exercising the craft of good teaching an educator must reach into the learner’s hidden levels of knowing and awareness in order to help the learner reach new levels of thinking.

    Click here to find six categories of questions as defined by Bloom or check these Question Types  that encourage students’ thinking.