Teachers Without Borders/Voices of Teachers/Suggestions

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Voices of Teachers: Suggestions - ideas for discussions on the TWB - Nigeria Voices of Teachers radio broadcasts and podcasts.

We have created a special segment in the show called "suggestions by teachers for teachers" and likely topics will include tips on classroom management, student diversity, community empowerment, peace and conflict resolution, assessment practices, multicultural education and even global issues like climate change and the Millennium Development Goals.

For pedology topic or individual suggestion

  • curriculum area, preparation and materials, time for in-class duration, age/grade level
  • student learning outcomes

Suggestion / activity

  • title, theory summary, activity description
  • application - examples of in-class use
  • teaching/learning discussion questions - discussion / reflection
  • Learn more.. resource links

2-3 examples in each topic section on this page, then create a new page for additional suggestions in that topic.

Teaching and learning

As teachers and learners, we are always facing new situations. Having some additional understanding of how our teaching can affect our students is appreciated. Knowing more about pedology and the process of learning provides us with new insight into improving our ability to help our students be successful in class and in life.

Emotional Intelligence

From CTM Multiple Intelligences

"Emotional Intelligence is a master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them." - Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, p. 80. The five characteristics and abilities of Emotional Intelligence are

  1. Self-awareness: knowing your emotions, recognizing feelings as they occur, and discriminating between them
  2. Mood management: handling feelings so they're relevant to the current situation and you react appropriately
  3. Self-motivation: "gathering up" your feelings and directing yourself towards a goal, despite self-doubt, inertia, and impulsiveness
  4. Empathy: recognizing feelings in others and tuning into their verbal and nonverbal cues
  5. Managing relationships: handling interpersonal interaction, conflict resolution, and negotiations.

People who manage their own feelings well and deal effectively with others are more likely to live content lives and are more apt to retain information and do so more effectively.

  • Are you familiar with the ideas of Emotional Intelligence?
  • Do your students exhibit a range of each of the EI characteristics and abilities?
  • How are students with "high" Emotional Intelligence able to deal with difficult situations?
  • How can you help students who are struggling with some of these abilities?

Learn more... Multiple Intelligences

Classroom management

Some days it is hard for even experienced teachers to keep all students "on task". These suggestions include some easy to implement activities that will help bring order and enthusiasm to all.

How to Make a Perfect Classroom Seating Chart

This seating chart arrangement is proven to keep students focused. You will be able to teach and students will be able to learn. Too often, problems in the classroom come down to the fact that the seating chart just isn't working. Don't let that get in the way of success in the classroom.

Place seats in an open U-shape but with a difference. Generally, arrange the seats in two rows of seats facing one another. The open end of the U is to the side of the rows facing toward the middle of the room. The closed end of the U faces toward the center and the "front" of the room. The exact placement will depend on the number of students and the size of your classroom. [needs a picture]

When assigning students to their new seat, greet them at the door and point out where they sit as they enter the room. This will prevent chaos and confusion. Once students are in their new seats, remind them that they need to show you that they can make the new seating chart work. If students are a distraction in their new seat, do not hesitate to move them.

  • How is your classroom arranged now? Do you have the flexibility to change desks around?
  • Have you tried placing desks or chairs in different configurations? What was the result?
  • Does seating arrangement affect your students? In what ways?
  • Can students select where they sit or are they assigned seats?
  • Are students seated so they can work together? Can students help one another from their seats?

Learn more... How to Make a Perfect Classroom Seating Chart http://www.ehow.com/how_5628604_make-perfect-classroom-seating-chart.html

Student engagement

These suggestions are activities that can be adapted for most teaching situations. No special equipment is required. The difficulty and the time on each activity can be adjusted for age and grade level. The student learning outcomes include participating in group activities, opportunities for critical thinking and problem solving.

100th Day of School Activities

As teachers, we are always looking for ways to make every day a special learning experience for our students. The number 100 has a special attraction for all of us.

Why not celebrate the 100th Day of School with some activities that focus on the number 100? There are several suggestions at the Mathwire.com web site. The 100th Day of School Activities include activities that can be used in most primary grades. Even older students will enjoy the challenge of representing the number 100 in one hundred different ways. This is a good group activity once students have had some time to think of answers on their own.

For the 100 Things We Did in School activity, one class adds one thing they did in school to their 100 Chart each day from the first day of school. Students create an ongoing memory chart they can celebrate on the 100th day and they always have a ready answer to "What did you do in school today?" Consider adding this practice to your calendar routines.

These are just a few simple ways to make the 100th day of school a special learning day.

  • How would you adapt this to your classroom?
  • What aspects of this activity work best for your grade level?
  • How will you integrate this activity into your regular curriculum lesson planning?
  • How will your students be challenged in new ways by this activity?

Learn more... 100th Day of School Activities http://www.mathwire.com/seasonal/100day.html


Part of being a teacher is the constant requirement to evaluate - student performance, peer reviews, self-critique. Some are formal, but most are informal. These are powerful tools and can be very effective if applied thoughtfully with grace and generosity.

Four Elements of Effective Feedback

There are Four Elements of Effective Feedback that are effective when giving your students feedback on assignments. The first two elements are inspired from Peter Elbow's work and are a part of exercising your "believing muscle" in which we "listen, affirm, enter in, try to put ourselves into the skin of people with other perceptions." Here, we are asked to share our experiences with others, rather than force them upon others.

The other two are developed from "what works" in coaching. Focus around a big question. Say what philosophical question his/her writing generates for you. What does their completed assignment make you wonder about on a larger level? Then, be specific and constructive by offering 1 or 2 things for improvement. The reason we say to give your students one (maybe two) things is this: If you highlight one thing for improvement, then, the Learner can take that one thing, remember it, and incorporate it for the future.

Here are Four Elements of Effective Feedback to use when giving feedback:

  1. Pointing
  2. Summarizing
  3. Posing 1 question for your Learner to consider
  4. Offering 1 or 2 things for improvement

Teachers Without Borders builds a "believing muscle." We hope to understand the people we work with and their thoughts - from the inside out. Certainly, there are many times in which we may need to play the doubting game. In our work, however, the believing game welcomes difference, innovation, investing in others, and personal strength."

  • What are some of the questions that you use to start your own thinking about feedback?
  • Can you describe feedback that you received that really helped you?
  • Have you provided feedback to someone that made a big difference to them?
  • How much feedback is just enough - either for you or your students?

Learn more... Techniques to Feedback — TWB Courseware

Life skills

Learning to Raise Your Self-Esteem!

How we view and talk to ourselves shape our choices and how we relate to the world. Unfortunately, low self-esteem proves to be a huge obstacle for too many people – oftentimes it stops us from enjoying relationships, doing the things we want to do, and from working toward our life goals and dreams.

By good self-esteem we mean the experience of being capable of meeting life’s challenges (competence) and feeling worthy of happiness

Tips to build a stronger sense of competence:

  • Make an accurate self-appraisal (be realistic – not too harsh or too easy. Ask for feedback from a trusted friend or counselor for your self-assessment).
  • Work on overcoming adversities and bouncing back from failures.
  • Break difficult tasks into small steps. Your competence will grow as you master each step toward the larger goal.
  • Assume responsibility for your actions by looking realistically at what you can do to be more successful in the situation you’re facing. When we blame others or outside events for life’s difficulties we lock ourselves into being victims.
  • Maintain your integrity by living in accordance with your own values. This will help engender your sense of self-worth.

The way we see ourselves affects the way others perceive us. Having a healthy and positive relationship with yourself will show people that you feel worthy of love and success. Don’t be afraid to praise and care for yourself – when you put forth the effort to overcome low self-esteem, you’ll realize just how much you can accomplish!

adapted from http://fsamarin.org/wordpress/?p=8

  • How do you address self-esteem in your class?
  • What are some techniques for promoting self-esteem in students at your grade level?
  • Are there barriers to developing positive self-esteem for your students? How do you overcome these?
  • Are there people and resources outside the classroom who are helpful to encouraging positive self-esteem for your students?

Learn more... (Comment.gif: needs a good resource with more suggestions)

Study skills

We need to teach and reinforce study skills throughout the entire education process. These are valuable "life skills" and can not be over emphasized. We often think of teaching as curriculum and content-based. But, learning to learn is hard work, and needs to be taught, too.

Establish the Importance of Listening

from CTM: Basic Principles of Classroom Management

Teach your students the "Say Back" game. It's simple; after you or any student has spoken, ask the class: "Raise your hand if you can now "say back" what I just said (or what student x has just said)". Note what percentage of hands are in the air and simply say to your students, "I notice that approximately 60% of your hands are raised. Our goal during the course of the year is to get 100% "say back" - maybe not every time, but close to it. We're learning how to listen when others are speaking."

This simple "Say Back" tool will increase the students' awareness of how often and how deeply they are listening to you or others when speaking. It does it in a way that does not put any one person on the spot to have to actually "say back" what was said. It does let the class know that you're all working towards deep listening no matter who is speaking. It also give students the confidence to know that when they speak, their voice will be heard. This is tremendously important for creating an environment in which students can feel safe to share their thoughts.

  • Are you using a similar activity in your classroom now?
  • How will this activity encourage "reluctant learners" in your class?

Learn more... Effective Management & Methods » Basic Principles of Management » Basic Principles of Classroom Management

Student diversity

Community empowerment

Peace and conflict resolution

Assessment practices

Multicultural education

Global issues

Millennium Development Goals

Resources and background

Suggestions - series of short (approximately 1-2 minutes / 120-200 words) suggestions by teachers for teachers. Topics include classroom management, student diversity, community empowerment...

These can be used as teaching tips to include in the Voices of Teachers broadcasts, as well as leaders for TWB Teacher Training topics and learning objects (OERs)


  • teaching tips - classroom management, student diversity, community empowerment, peace and conflict resolution, assessment practices, multicultural education
  • global issues like climate change and the Millennium Development Goals.
  • presentation, activities
  • science, math
  • whole person - mindfulness
  • theory - learning styles
  • learning disabilities
  • open educations resources