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Classroom Dynamics Teaching students to think.. Out of the box...
Classroom Dynamics Ask yourself: “What kind of a classroom environment do I want to create?
The Temperature Gauge • Instructive vs. Interactive • Quiet vs. Silent • Noise vs. Hum • Movement vs. Activity • Lock step vs. ‘In step’ • Traditional vs. Innovative • Mechanical vs. Automated • Work vs. Task • Time vs. Timing • Seating vs. Setting • Testing vs. Assessment • Inside-the-box vs. Out-of-the-box
Openings in the box • Dimensions: Unidimensional vs. Multidimensional • Perspectives: my, your, their, our? • Windows: open, closed, hidden , blind • Angles: acute, obtuse, oblique, reflex?
Out of the box Let’s define thinking: • Not limiting i.e. considers all dimensions • All encompassing i.e. considers all perspectives • A portal to observation, exploration, experimentation, creativity and innovation • Provides a range of options, possibilities, opportunities
Thinking ‘in the box’? Thinking, according to Costa (1996), is seen not only in the number of answers students already know but also in their knowing what to do when they don’t know”. In his view, intelligent behaviour is in the manner of the individuals’ responses to questions and problems to which they do not immediately know the answer. Teachers concerned with promoting thinking should therefore try to observe how students produce knowledge rather than how they merely reproduce knowledge. Here, the criterion for thinking is knowing how to act on information which one already has.
Shapes the box can take.... Cohen (1971) identified four key thinking strategies: • Problem Solving - using basic thinking processes to solve a known or defined difficulty • Decision Making - using basic thinking processes to choose a best response among several options • Critical Thinking - using basic thinking processes to analyse arguments and generate insights into particular meanings and interpretations • Creative Thinking - using basic thinking processes to develop or invent novel, aesthetic, constructive ideas, or products, related to precepts as well as concepts, and stressing the intuitive aspects of thinking as much as the rational.
Thinking in a child’s world.. Inquisitive Child: 'Why do my teeth wobble?' Mum: 'Because they need to come out.' IC: 'Why?' Mum: 'To make room for new ones.' IC: 'What's wrong with the old ones?' Mum: 'They're not big enough for when you're grown up.' IC: 'Why?' Mum (getting a bit rattled): 'Because your mouth will be bigger.' IC: 'Why don't I just get more teeth the same?' Mum (really frustrated now): 'Oh, go and ask Daddy!'
Off to school.... Questioning continues: Q. What is another word for this? (knowledge) Q. What is the difference between these two words?(comprehension) Q. How can I use this word in a sentence? (application) Q. Why has the author used this simile? (analysis) Q. What simile would you have used if you were the author? (synthesis) Q. I don’t like the ending. Can I change it?(evaluation)
Questions: The Key… • Open and Closed Questions • Convergent and Divergent • Lower order and higher order • General and specific • Probing vs. Leading • Extending and paraphrasing • Rhetorical Questions
The Master Key or The Master’s Key?Students Asking Questions • Repeat the question, paraphrasing it. • Redirect the question. • Ask probing questions • Promote a discussion among the students.
The Master Key or The Master’s Key?Answering questions • Directly answer the question. • Postpone answering the question. • Discourage inappropriate questions. • Discourage inappropriate questions.
The Master Key or The Master’s Key?Asking Questions • Ask open-ended, not just close-ended questions. • Ask divergent as well as convergent questions. • Wait, pauses and silence are not inappropriate class behaviors. • Wait, give the students time to think. • Wait, or you will establish an undesirable norm.
The Combination Creating the Atmosphere • Ask for questions. • Answer questions. • Answer students questions adequately. • Listen to the question, or to any student comments • Listen to the question, or to any student comments • Do not put down the students.
Routines & Procedures:At the surface level • Structure of the lesson • Pace of the lesson • Transition • Organising material
Cooperative LearningA valuable strategy... • 1. The interaction must be of equal status • 2. The learners in the group must have common goals • 3. Their collaboration should be officially sanctioned. (Allport, 1954)
Rubric’s Cube...The puzzle of Assessment: some aspects to consider Teacher : Student: Ipsative Assessment Diagnostic Assessment Self Assessment Peer Assessment Group Assessment
Colours in the box... • Teach children problem solving techniques as they will be a valuable life skill for the child, now and when they are in their adult years. • Encourage children to persevere with a problem to try to find an answer. • Encourage children to recognize that one problem may have a number of possible answers. • Help children to understand that some problems do not have an easy answer. That is just life. It is not a failure on their part. • Help children to master the art of lateral thinking, as this will help them to find creative ways to solve their difficulties and in turn will encourage the child to feel good about themselves, and develop high self esteem.
Choose your palette…Lateral Thinking Activities Try these lateral thinking activities with the children. Ask the children to either write down their answers, or one by one call out answers and write a list on the board. • Ask the children in groups how many uses they could find for a blanket? • Ask the children in groups to identify all the things that are red? • Ask the children how many uses they could find for an empty tin can? • Ask the children how many uses they could find for a wire coat hanger? • Ask the children how many uses they could find for a 2 metre length of string? • Show a picture and ask the children what they think this picture could be:
A to Z of Classroom Instruction • Active Learning is the Focus: Involve students: they should work as hard as you do! • Background Knowledge is the Foundation: Start where your students are. • Choices Add Interest: Giving choices builds ownership with your students. • Data: More than the Numbers: Use multiple sources of data to inform your instruction. • Expect the Best: Expect the best through your words, actions, and from one another. • Focus on Your Purpose: Plan based on purpose—why, what, and how. • Graphic Organizers: Students are visual learners—help them organize that way. • Help Me: Provide support for every student.
A to Z of Classroom Instruction • I’m Listening…or Am I?: Teach your students to listen, not just to hear. • Just for Me: Differentiate what you teach, how you teach, and how students demonstrate understanding. • Kick It Up: Add rigor to your classroom • Literacy for Everyone: Literacy is a tool for communication to be integrated into all subject areas. • Making It Real: Help your students see the relevance of instruction. • Next Steps: Help students break down a task. • Options for Successful Homework: Structure homework so students see the value.
A to Z of Classroom Instruction • Perspective and Points of View: Help students see varying perspectives. • Questioning Strategies: Effective questioning is one of the most important tools in your toolbox. • Reflection Adds Depth to Learning: Give opportunities for students to think about what • Show Them What You Are Thinking: Modeling makes a difference. • Turn The Tables: Help students take responsibility for their own learning. • Understand Your Audience: You can’t teach what or who you don’t know. • Victory with Vocabulary: Move beyond memorization to help students truly understand new words and concepts
A to Z of Classroom Instruction • Working Together Makes a Difference: Effective cooperative learning requires structure. • X-Factor: Keep your charisma and your humor going • Yawn! Reading Aloud is Boring: Find successful ways to engage all students in reading. • Zoom In and Zoom Out: Focus in on small details, but also zoom out to get the big picture