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The Golden Rules of A Teacher (Part 4)

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Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash
1. The element of surprise works wonders in building student enthusiasm and motivation. Some teachers use drama to costumes, have surprise guest speakers, or use drama to capture students’ attention. (For example, students are much more excited about reading Shakespeare when they act it out using an exaggerated Southern drawl—or Bostonian accent if they are from the South!) Occasionally, do the unexpected. Allow suspense to build in anticipation as the class unfolds. Questions, storytelling, and props are especially effective in creating intrigue.
2. Use anecdotes. Personal illustrations of events from your and your students’ life experiences make academic content come alive. It is essential that such stories pertain to the topic being studied. Irrelevant war stories add nothing to the lesson.
3. Try to relate new content to things the students already know. As much as possible, encourage the students to make those connections themselves. Personalize as much of your content as possible.
4. Minimize criticism and offer praise when appropriate. If students are too frequently criticized, they quickly learn to avoid volunteering their answers or opinions. There is no quicker way to squelch creativity or participation than to criticize the first couple of contributors. Use praise judiciously. Praise specific behaviors, not general characteristics. Be aware that public praise can backfire for many adolescents, whose peers may taunt them for being the teacher’s pet.
5. Become aware of your voice level and speaking patterns, Tape a couple of classes and listen for your tonality, verbal tics (for example, um, er, so). Solicit feedback from a speech and hearing specialist as to the pitch of your voice.
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