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Effective Teaching...

by Harry and Rosemary Wong

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This article was printed from Teachers.Net Gazette,
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Effective Practices Apply to All Teachers

"But it does not apply to me. I'm a high school teacher," is the criticism that we sometimes hear of our book, The First Days of School, either from people who write to us or occasionally by reviewers of the book on Amazon.com. No suggestions, however, are given as to what a high school teacher might be looking for. More often than not, these disparaging comments are made to imply that our ideas are better suited for elementary teachers.

Permit us to set the record straight. Between the two of us we have over 50 years of "in the trenches" K-12 classroom experience and The First Days of School is replete with specific high school examples such as

Jane Smith, principal, page 10
Richard Crewse, photography teacher, page 11
Pam Ware, drama teacher, page 12
Valley Central High School, teacher's handbook, page 22
Flowing Wells High School, Keys to Success, page 39
Luisa Valesco, secretary, page 58
Jim Heintz, English teacher, page 110
Merle Whaley, math teacher, page 139
Judie Gustafson, math teacher, page 172
Julie Joubert-Guillory, science teacher, page 181
Bob Wall, history/physical education teacher, page 192

The effective teacher is someone who can take an idea or technique, even if it is not related to education, and transform it into something that will apply to a personal situation. The effective teacher is a creative teacher---one who can THINK, REFLECT and IMPLEMENT.

Procedures in a Foreign Language Class

Yes, even foreign language teachers need procedures! In a subject area that requires much structure and rigor for student success, it would be only second nature to have a classroom that was organized as such. We are most pleased to share the work of five foreign language teachers, four of whom are secondary teachers, and their supervisor from the Newport News Public Schools in Virginia.

They are

Chuck Walsh, German teacher, Denbigh High School
Christine Toni, French teacher, Menchville High School
Kathy Dupuy, Spanish teacher, Warwick High School
Charlene Lee, German teacher, Dozier Middle School
Marilyn Morris, Foreign Language Talented and Gifted Teacher, grades 3-5
Allison Foster, Supervisor

As you read the following, please know that their work was developed from the classroom management techniques suggested in The First Days of School. One of the major hallmarks of lifeling learning professionals is that they continually learn and are able to apply what they learn to their own situation. Simply stated, they are able to THINK and REFLECT on what others do, regardless of their subject, grade level, or type of school, and then IMPLEMENT these ideas and techniques into their own repetorie and classrooms.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM PROCEDURES/ACTIVITIES

PRE-CLASS PROCEDURES

BEGINNING OF CLASS PROCEDURES

HOMEWORK PROCEDURES

MAKE-UP WORK PROCEDURES

ORAL PARTICIPATION RECORD

GROUP ASSIGNMENTS AND BEHAVIOR

WATCHING VIDEOS

MAINTAINING THE CLASSROOM

PROCEDURES FOR ENDING THE CLASS

COMMUNICATIONS WITH PARENTS

DISPLAYING STUDENT WORK

Additional Tips for Traveling Teachers

Careful organization is a must for those teachers who must travel from room to room or from school to school. Pack bags ahead of time for different lessons and different schools.

Put magnetic strips on vocabulary lists, posters, objectives, homework charts, Standards of Learning, and other materials for the board so that they can be slapped up quickly at the start of class.

Let carts become your rolling classroom. At Newport News, Virginia, carts are reserved ahead of time. They use carts called "The Traveling Teacher"TM (877-722-4435), which allows for lessons to be placed in sequential order and moved so that they can be easily taught.

Most importantly, develop a relationship with at least one supportive colleague in each school, so that there is an emergency person to ask for help, such as when quick coverage for a class is needed.

Think, Reflect, and Implement

Learn from your colleagues---all of them. They all have something to offer. You just need to take the time and the thought to discover it. Fill your chest (or rolling cart) this year with new ways to become even more effective.

Remember, the effective teacher is a creative teacher, one who can think, reflect, and implement. If you are a 3rd grade teacher, were you able to steal any of the foreign language procedures from the high school teachers to use in your classroom? For instance, you can have a "Listening Ear" form for your students to fill out any time during the day the students need to talk to you about non-lesson, non-emergency "things." Require the students to write in complete sentences. Respond to the slips in any manner you see fit. The point is you can take an idea someone else uses at a different grade level and adapt it to your classroom situation.
This is the art of a true professional and effective teacher, a learner who learns along with the students.


Harry & Rosemary Wong products: http://harrywong.com/product/

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