Lesson Starters “Ice-Breakers”

  • The trainer this week (Sunday 28 November, 2010) Mr. Majdi Al-Khamaysa, has proved to be well-prepared, aware of objectives, motivating and confident.
  • Mr. Majdi, the Biology Coordinator in our school, started the session by providing trainees with the English word: “Information” and conducted a competition among groups; getting each group to form as many words as possible from the letters of that word.  The winner is the group who would form the largest number of words.  Groups were interested and enthusiastic to participate. that was an introduction to the main topic of the session which is “Lesson Starters“.
  • Then the concept of the “starter activity” was elicited. Teachers’ participation was good and they gave excellent definitions for the word “Starter”.
  • The trainer brainstormed the objectives of the starter activity for both learners and teachers. Trainees were active and could give clear objectives, but there was an argument whether the starter addresses individual differences.
  • The purpose of “starters” was also discussed and we arrived at the fact that starters prepare students affectively and cognitively. Examples of ideas for starters were provided. This can be summed up in: games, riddles, quizzes, songs, crossword puzzles, telling an anecdote, etc.
  • The practical side has been postponed to the next session.

You can download this presentation here.

Underlying Principles for Increasing Student Motivation and Improving Behaviour

Two weeks ago and in one of the professional development sessions in our school “ABHSS”, I presented a very important topic entitled “Underlying Principles for Increasing Student Motivation and Improving Behaviour“. In the workshop I tackled the following:

Classroom Relationships

  • Relationships in the classroom have an impact on achievement.
  • For quality learning to happen, teaching must serve the academic and emotional needs of the students.
  • Students are motivated when teachers treat them like people.

Five Relationships of Students

  • Student and Themselves
  • Student and their Peers
  • Student and their Teachers
  • Students and their Parents
  • Students and the Curriculum

The Six Standards Framework

1. Safety is Paramount

  • For students to learn, they must feel safe from both physical danger and
    embarrassment.
  • Fear of physical harm and fear of embarrassment often have the same effect. Students should not have to worry about a lack of skills or of being
    exposed to embarrassment.

Classroom Implications

  • No put downs for students
  • Eliminate sarcasm or humour at students expense
  • Clear rules and expectations with respect to physical behaviour in the classroom

2. Value Everything

  • Students are more apt to engage fully and produce quality work if they perceive that what they are doing has value
  • All activities and studies must fill a need; solve a problem; or be interesting, fun, or enjoyable.

Classroom Implications

  • Base the context of studies around students’ interests
  • Show and tell the students that you value them.
  • Provide chances for students to share their work.

3. Success Breeds Success

  • Motivate students by reminding them when they have been successful.

Classroom Implications

  • Provide activities that are challenging yet achievable
  • Provide regular ‘feedback’ with a focus on celebrating success and efforts
  • Provide ‘feed forward’ identifying areas for improvement

4. Student Involvement and Ownership

  • Give students opportunities to be involved with their learning.
  • Students who ‘own’ their learning, progress further

Classroom Implications

  • Allow for students to give feedback on activities, topics, assessment, etc
  • ‘Listen’ to the students in and out of the class
  • Have students play a role in setting criteria for assessment and evaluating their own work as well as their peers

5. Care for the Students Academic and Personal Needs

  • Students respond positively to being liked, being supported and accepted

Classroom Implications

  • Provide positive feedback and productive feedback in advance
  • Give leadership responsibilities to all
  • Give students opportunities to evaluate their own work as well as their peers’

6. Enable and Empower Students to Achieve

  • Teachers must provide students with tasks that allow them to think, problem solve and learn

Classroom Implications

  • Teachers need to ‘think out aloud’
  • Create open ended problems
  • Instigate small group activities

The Key to Success…. ….
Integrate all the Standards

  • The practices we have just discussed should not be introduced one at a time
  • All of these practices should be happening at the same time

You can download the presentation of this workshop here.