With a text on the changing role of the teacher from the one who “teaches” to the one who is “a specialist in organizing educational processes in a way that facilitates learning”, we begin a series of articles on the actions that a teacher can take to make teaching effective, fast and fun, because only such leads to success. a specialist in supporting success.
Teacher – the one who supports
Knowledge about the capabilities of our brain, as well as about the rules of operation of this complex and extremely effective “device” for remembering, processing and using information, has developed rapidly in recent decades. What constituted the basis of “traditional” teaching – lectures, talks, explanations and instructions – has lost its purpose as independent and permanent teaching techniques.
Today we know that the effectiveness of acquiring and remembering information depends on the emotional attitude (motivation and commitment), understanding and clarity of the message, and polysensory activity in developing new content. The correctness is obvious: the greater the student’s involvement in the classes, the better the atmosphere in the team, the greater the variety of techniques and tools used, the better and the effected. Even the teacher who is best prepared for the lesson will not teach a student who is unwilling or unable to learn it.
So what should distinguish a specialist teacher from organizing educational processes in a way that facilitates learning?
- Professionalism expressed in constantly expanding knowledge in the field of psychology and neurodidactics.
- Extensive substantive knowledge not only in the field of its subject, but also general knowledge and those issues described in the core curriculum.
- A rich workshop of teaching methods and techniques constantly modified and adapted to the needs and capabilities of students.
- Knowledge and interest in the needs and capabilities of their students.
- Emotional balance, allowing you to focus on supporting the student rather than pacifying misbehavior.
- High communication skills, assertiveness and self-awareness.
It is not easy to meet such expectations. The most difficult emotions to deal with are the emotions that can ruin the teacher’s work, because they will reduce it to a “fight” with inappropriate behavior of students, and sometimes with the students themselves. To prevent this from happening, it’s a good idea to develop your own techniques for controlling emotions and relieving tension. One of the 10-year-olds child asked his mother a question:
Mommy, why our lady has such a red neck?
Mum had to deal with this question, but it is interesting that “red neck syndrome” can become a warning sign for the teacher. That the trouble is not in (who is as he is, he has certain problems and experiences that he cannot deal with on his own), but in a teacher who has stepped out of the role of a specialist. If he had stayed in it, the awareness of difficult behavior would be a protective piece of information, prompting one to wonder how else I can communicate with the child so that he would understand me better. What can I influence in the lessons with this student? How can I support him? And what I do not have and will not be able to influence, so I do not fight with windmills, but focus on real goals? It is not me who has problems with the child (I have problems with my own emotions), but it is he who has problems (and his parents), and I – a success support specialist – can help him: in mathematics, in spelling, in seeking support, in understanding the definition or norms of behavior. But I have no influence on those boy dysfunctions, his disturbed educational environment or his traumatic experiences. Such a view of the situation helps in taking action on a daily basis and remaining in the hope that the day will come when kid will understand, for example, the principles of group life.
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A few words about developing key competences
Key competences entered into the core curriculum are areas where knowledge, skills and attitudes combine into one, giving a person a chance for a happy life. The traditional school focused on knowledge, then skills. But only when we combine our attitude with them, we talk about competence. So what if a young man has mastered the principles of waste segregation, he can do it practically, if he is not convinced that this knowledge and skills are necessary in his life, because he adheres to the principle that one person’s garbage will not endanger the world?
Hence, it seems so important to set educational goals not only on the level of knowledge and skills, but also on the level of attitudes. These will be the most difficult to work out because the teacher’s knowledge and experience are not enough. It is imperative that he himself be a model for modeling students’ attitudes. How to do it? Putting on relationships with students. The teacher-specialist in promoting success is the ally teacher, the one who blows wings and is happy with the first and subsequent attempts of his students’ flight. And even if they are quite inept, it supports potential and encourages rehearsals. Cooperates with students and teaches cooperation.
How to teach students to cooperate
Collaboration between students is the result of many exercises, trials and efforts. You have to learn it. It is valuable because the one who knows how to cooperate develops many other skills, such as:
- Constructive conflict resolution,
- Joint pursuit of a goal,
- Empathy and much more.
Depending on the developmental age of the group, but also on the specific needs and personal experiences of students, learning to cooperate may be quick and smooth, or it may be a difficult path, full of unforeseen problems. However, you have to practice. In the lessons, the opportunity to do so will be:
- All forms of group and team work,
- Project methods,
- Teaching stations,
- Techniques in which cooperation is a key assumption: expert group, drama, panel discussions, etc.
Student cooperation will be supported by performing various tasks in pairs or small groups, presentation of results, discussions and debates on the results of team work. A great opportunity to develop cooperation among students is the appointment of the so-called a support group, the composition of which may change in subsequent lessons, and the task of this group is to help those students who have problems with performing the exercise.