Update: Students as Teachers

Over the last 2 weeks, my Year 9 class have become teachers. Read my previous post for the details.

Students came up with some excellent ideas, including cartoon strips, group stories and the use of graphic organisers. Unfortunately, two groups were unprepared on the day they were required to teach, which led to me having a chat about the importance of organisation and time management to learning effectively.

On Monday, they wrapped up their teaching sessions and were given some time to reflect upon two questions:

1. What does it mean to be an effective teacher?

2. How do I learn best?

Some of the replies the students came up with are as follows:

An effective teacher is; a teacher who knows how to get everyone involved and concentrated. Someone who makes it fun, which is a good way for students to keep it in their heads. An effective teacher understands the subject they are talking about and ensures that the student does too.
How do I learn best; I learn best normally by reading things. When the information is organized well I can keep it in my head the way it was shown to me. I think that’s why I learnt alot from the theme group. They wrote a definition on the board and wrote up different things in a way…

I think to be an effictive teacher means that you get your message across, in a fun and enjoyable way. I think i learn best through group work and class discussions. If i enjoy an activity it is more likely for me to pick up on the information and it is more likely for me to remeber it. I enjoyed the plots group activity because it got the whole class involved and conveyed the message effectively whilst still being enjoyable and funny.

I think an effective teacher is someone who knows what they are talking about to the extent of them being able to teach without looking down continuously. A good teacher also needs to be able to improvise when something goes wrong. Control of the students is also a vital part to being an effective teacher.
I prefer it when the students do not teach because they cannot control their peers and I think that they play favourites. Also a maturity factor comes into play to distinguish those who take learning and teaching seriously from those who think it is just for fun. Noise does not allow me to focus which impacts my learning abilities. Working independently and occasional group work and teaching the class is the most effective way of teaching in my opinion.

Obviously, the peer teaching was not enjoyed by everyone in the class, and didn’t play to everyone’s strengths. But most of the students appreciated the way in which this taught them about what it means to teach and how difficult it is to provide a quality learning environment for every student in a class. It also taught them a lot about their own learning due to the spectrum of activities the groups used.

If I were to do this exercise again I would pay close attention to:

-classroom management issues (when students are teaching): students need to come up with how they will deal with certain behaviours and set expectations for students in their teaching plan (unfortunately this was an oversight on my behalf!). One way to combat this might be to break the class into small groups and have a peer teach each group.

-finding a balance between teaching, fun and assessing knowledge: some students just did quizzes or crosswords without actually teaching students the information first. This led to students disengaging because the didn’t know the answers and the groups didn’t explain the answers completely either.



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