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The Golden Rules of A Teacher (Part 3)

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1. Generally, it is best not to start each class with housekeeping chores. The reason is that students most remember the first and last thing you do in a class period. Don’t waste this valuable learning time on mundane distracting content.
2. Build a breath of fresh air or energizing activity into your lesson about every eight to ten minutes. It doesn’t have to be long, but inject something that changes the pace and refocuses the students’ attention. Examples include a humorous cartoon, a prop, personal illustration, sharing a response in pairs or small groups, a role-play, demonstration, visualization. Anything that actively engages their brains is likely to be helpful in refocusing attention. Provide opportunities for active involvement through exercises and activities that break up long formal presentations. When asked, most students prefer lessons in which they act out parts, build things, interview people, or carry out projects. Least favored are those classes in which they are allowed only to listen.
13. Variety is the spice of life and the secret to successful lesson! Effective teacher don’t use the same teaching techniques day after day. They employ an assortment of instructional strategies. Most ineffective teachers tend to use the same few techniques for every lesson—usually lecture and worksheets.
4. Strive to develop the broadest range of teaching approaches and employ that variety. Experiment with simulations, role-playing, videotaping, and cooperative learning. Students generally are more excited about working in groups.
5. Involve students in real-life activities that have a practical usable product. For example, in the remarkably successful Foxfire project, students interviewed their Appalachian neighbors and relatives and produced and sold books they wrote and published. Other classes have developed handbooks for teenage consumers, constructed solar walls, or set up community car pool. Hands-on activities are most successful by far in arousing student interest.
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