HOW TO MANAGE WORK RELATED STRESS
0.Picture this scenario. You enter your classroom ready to teach a lesson that you have spent a lot of time preparing. You think it will motivate and engage your learners but it just flops. Students are left with more questions than answers and some seem uninterested. You dismiss the situation and think that it must have been the boring subject matter. However, what if it was the execution of the material? How could you have taught the content in a different way?
1.If you think back to when you were a child, you were probably educated in a totally different way. Not too long ago, the style of rote learning involved heavy memorization of dates, formulas and concepts. With that, there was a great emphasis on testing and performance results. Moreover, the teacher was the central authority figure in the classroom and the source of all knowledge. However, teachers also had a dual-role in ensuring that students behaved accordingly.
2.While some of those elements may had changed by the time you began your career in education, teachers are still creatures of habit. What I mean is that instructors tend to teach in the way that they like to learn. Is this a bad thing? Well, it depends. On one hand, you are keen on conveying the information as clearly as possible to the students because that’s what you would want. On the other hand, it may not always come out that way. Let’s say you are teaching vocabulary in English and you are explaining it using synonyms and antonyms. If students cannot comprehend the alternates you present them with, they may feel overwhelmed or frustrated.
3.In the 1980s, psychologist Howard Gardner proposed his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. It states that humans have different intelligence types and that they can be sorted into 8 different categories. They range from individuals who benefit from seeing images (Visual-Spatial), from analysing words (Linguistic-Verbal), solving problems (Logical-Mathematical) or moving their body (Bodily-Kinesthetic). However, Gardner maintains that those who learn by relating to others (Interpersonal), by reflecting on their own goals (Intrapersonal), by listening to rhythms and patterns (Musical), and by experiencing the environment (Naturalistic) are also valid forms of thinking. It is important to note that Gardner maintained that an individual does not just have one intelligence type. Rather, it is a strength in one area.
4.So what does this jargon mean from a teaching perspective? Well, being able to identify the needs and wants of your learners will help you better convey material. Not only will students feel more engaged when you cater to their ‘intelligence’, but utilizing different approaches in class will promote retention in the same way that the rote learning of the past did. By repeating or reviewing concepts in a different way, students will be exposed to it twice and have a more comprehensive understanding. What’s more is that this change in routine provides for a break in monotonous lessons.
5.Creating differentiated activities is the easiest way to bring this approach into your classroom. Let’s take final projects as an example. Instead of having students write an essay, which would appeal best to linguistic-verbal learners, why not give them a choice? Students who prefer kinesthetic movements could put on a performance piece with musically-inclined students producing a song. Students with interpersonal intelligence could work together in groups, whereas those who prefer to self-reflect could create a portfolio of their work throughout the year and assess their project. The possibilities for creativity are endless.
6.Another major difference from teaching in the past is the increase of available devices and equipment at our fingertips. Long gone are the days of using overhead projectors and endless photocopying. Nowadays, we can add multimedia to spice up a lesson through the click of a button. While technology can certainly enhance a lesson, it is important to set clear boundaries for students. Nothing is more annoying or distracting than having a student sending text messages or scrolling through social media in class.
7.While education has come a long way since the onset of schools, its changes are far from over. With today’s generation being born into a world with accessible technology, there is no doubt that the role of technology in the classroom will increase by the time they are in school. What’s more is that they will require different ways of engagement that might not even exist yet. With this in mind, it is important for educators to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in teaching practice.