Family Studies 11/12 / teachertong

Recommendations for Teachers: Grade 12 Edition

In Family Studies, our theme this year is “Can Change Occur Without Action?” We visit various topics within Sociology while bringing it back to these two concepts. At the moment we’re taking a look at adolescence, a concept that we would have never considered a century ago. Researchers have outlined changes that occur in the brain thanks to this phenomenon. One of the TED talks we explored was Sarah-Jayne Blackmore’s “The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain.”

After we pulled out some of the themes and chatted about the implications of this research, I asked students to consider their current experiences at our school. What was working? What stories could they tell? What questions could they ask?

Here is a post from a group I received on Freshgrade. I am impressed by their suggestions as well as their candidness with respect to areas of the teaching profession that we often discuss on professional development days and every day.

Top ten recommendations for teachers 
1) Updated materials and books: It is difficult for students to relate to a textbook that is older than they are, and no one should lose marks because of worn materials.

2) Mandatory technology courses for teachers: technology should not be avoided, nor should class time be lost, because a teacher does not fully understand how to use certain equipment or applications.

3) More coordination between teachers for test and project dates: multiple overlapping test and project dates can be emotionally exhausting for a student, and more discussion into due dates may ease that tension.

4) More projects: Memorization can only go so far, and incorporating more projects into the curriculum would push the students to apply their knowledge.

5) More student input into the lesson plans: In the end, it's the students education, and having them help plan out the curriculum would make them more engaged and interesting in the material.

6) More emphasis on the individual: Every student is different, and every student learns differently, and teachers should encourage the use of individual learning styles alongside the ones they teach.

7) Use of personal devices: Students often use their personal devices to distract themselves from the class, so incorporating that technology where appropriate do so will encourage participation and keep students engaged.

8) Flex times: Always have an established flex time that students feel comfortable coming to to seek assistance. Instead of being only at lunch, have sessions after school as well.

9) More application of current trends and culture into lesson plans: Students connect more to material they have experienced or are experiencing, and such inclusion will prevent students from losing interest in the topic.

10) Build up the students, don't tear them down: Focusing and celebrating a students strengths as opposed to their weaknesses will earn more respect from the student, and make them actually want to attend school.

Teacher Do's and Don'ts

-discussions about the material in class during class time
-allow students 1 on 1 time with the teacher
-give option to work alone on all projects
-trust students until given a reason not to
-try to relate to students
-use humour
-connect to current events and trends
-allow students to explain answers 
-provide many options for learning 
-have flex time 
-give praise where deserved
-give punishments where appropriate
-if a student shows interest in a subject, embrace that
-encourage student pursuit of hobbies
-give guidelines for projects, but allow for interpretation 
-reasonable deadlines
-encourage reasonable use of technology 
-talk to student about problems in private


-split students into groups to discuss material on their own, they will procrastinate 
-don't jump to conclusions about students (ex. All methods of teaching will work for the same students) 
-force personal opinions and morals onto students
-engage in needless arguments with students
-talk the entire time with no breaks
-assume anything (ex. Student reasoning for an answer)
-discredit methods of learning 
-ask students where they do and don't want to sit and putting them where they don't want to sit so they can learn to like it, they will never like it
-punish the whole class for one students actions 
-use a students mistake as a class example of what not to do
-use humiliation tactics as punishments
-hand back tests in order of best to worst
-make students mark other people's tests
-repeat notes and note packages
-call out student marks or make students call out their marks


S*****'s story: S***** was very interested in learning various languages, and decided to start with a beginner French 11 class. On the first day, the teacher assigned multiple work sheets and readings. The following days are the same, with verbal lessons being fast and hard to absorb. The first quiz arrives and S***** is overwhelmed and confused. The teacher explained their reasoning was to push through the fundamentals as fast as possible so the class wouldn't have to rely on translator technology. S***** drops the class.

1.) Why may the teacher have not wanted to use the technology? 
2.) Do you think the worksheets are the best way to absorb knowledge? Are readings a better way to do this? Are verbal lessons? 

T****'s story: There is a common way of teaching the so called, tough love. This can be an effective way of teaching and it can give the kick a student needs to succeed. Although this may come from a more positive perspective on the teacher's side. The probably use this technique with out the student's background. It possible that this can effect the relationship between the two of them. If the do no engage in a one on one discussion on this topic. A teacher may not see this in a negative light but a student may associate with a negative with one. Perhaps from a common behaviour they are familiar with or from any other atmosphere that affects them psychologically.

1) What is the purpose behind the teacher using this technique?
2) How could this effect the student and can it be solved?

R***'s story: "We're going to watch two videos today" said my socials 11 teacher. Although other times it was hard, I was determined this time not to fall asleep. But unfortunately, as soon as the video started, my eyelids started to droop, and I kept trying to make myself wake up. Without my noticing, my head would drop down, and then I would have to try to wake myself up again. This kept repeating until the video ended. I ended up being forced to stay after class. My teacher told me I should pay more attention to the videos, and that it was disrespectful to fall asleep during the videos. I understand that, but the videos made it so easy to fall asleep. Even my friend, who is always attentive, said that she gets sleepy during the videos. The videos weren't  boring, but the narration was very monotonous.

1) How could the teacher have made the class pay more attention to the videos?

2) Besides videos, what else can teachers do to make class more interesting?


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