As I have progressed up the ladder of education, I have found that the teachers I have experienced focused on presenting the class material exacting as it was stated in the book. I had no motivation to go to class since I could read the chapters in the book at any point. Since the tests were merely a regurgitation of in-class material, I had no interest in paying attention to lectures. Nevertheless, teachers weren?t teaching me how to think, rather what to think. I only learned the material in how it applied to the exam; there was no real connection of how it would apply to the real wold.
Somehow, I seemed to forget the mediocre teachers, but always remember the great ones. A great teacher?s inspiration changes you. You carry the confidence they instilled for a lifetime. In example, I had a great teacher for trigonometry; he inspired me to believe that I could learn the material. Conversely, he changed my beliefs that trigonometry was too hard by helping me to look at all the angles of what the material presented. With this, confidence grew and the material?s mystery unraveled. I found that I could critically think about trigonometry with my own thought process. I do believe this teacher paved the way for me to achieve an engineering degree.
?The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.? (1) This quote identifies that a great teacher is one who helps students to be knowledgeable with their personal learning styles and guides them to be an independent learner.
How do teachers inspire learning and motivate students? Many researchers agree that teachers should create an environment where students are active participants in learning. Students learn by doing, making, writing, designing, creating, solving. Passivity dampens students&acute; motivation and curiosity. Pose questions. Don&acute;t tell students something when you can ask them. Encourage students to suggest approaches to a problem or to guess the results of an experiment. Use small group work, stress active participation. (2)
To promote confidence, teachers should know their students and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Teachers should work from students&acute; strengths and interests. Find out why students are enrolled in your course, how they feel about the subject matter, and what their expectations are. Then try to devise examples, case studies, or assignments that relate the course content to students&acute; interests and experiences. Explain how the content and objectives of your course will help students achieve their educational, professional, or personal goals. (2)
As well, teachers should help students to understand themselves by helping to set realistic goals with the material. Teachers should help them start simple and work their way up with complexity.
Failure to attain unrealistic goals can disappoint and frustrate students. Encourage students to focus on their continued improvement, not just on their grade on any one test or assignment. Help students evaluate their progress by encouraging them to critique their own work, analyze their strengths, and work on their weaknesses. For example, consider asking students to submit self- evaluation forms with one or two assignments. (2)
?If our explanation is very complex, then we likely don?t really understand the situation.?(3) If a teacher explains the material in a very complicated manner, students will be lost. Students will not understand the purpose or be able to apply it to real scenarios. Educators have a responsibility of developing their student?s potential. To develop this potential, teachers need to teach how to think. Critical thought is essential for comprehensive learning. Teachers should achieve active learning, know their students strengths and weakness, and help students set realistic goals for the material.
Author: Maggie Herbert
Date of post: 2007-01-08