I have therefore found the importance of classroom routine and management to complement effective teaching in the classroom. Further studies have suggested that many teachers spend a lot of time implementing routines and classroom management to reduce wasted time to the minimum. Teachers have used checklists to find which activities take up too much time and then use the information as an area for development.
I believe that an effective teacher should create a stimulating learning environment in the classroom, as children learn from their environment as well as each other. This enables the children to solve problems independently which may give the a children sense of achievement. In school, the teacher had used the display area and wall space for number lines, alphabet lines, shapes, clocks literacy and numeracy vocabulary.
“Displays should be either encouraging children by showing their work attractively or it should be stimulating materials which invites questions and exploration. There should be a good deal in the classroom which supports independent learning.” (Dean,J (2001) p.75). I have observed the children using the information on display to assist them. I feel that this is an extremely simple yet effective way to encourage independent learning. I observed the teacher using the displays at every opportunity, it supplied the children with a visual aid. I therefore decided to use the surrounding information or resources to support my teaching which I felt improved my teaching.
Something which concerns me about being an effective teacher is planning and executing interesting enjoyable lessons. I initially thought that this could be achieved by the teacher being enthusiastic and showing that he/she is genuinely interested in the lesson. However, so much more is needed to execute an effective lesson. During my school placement I observed the teacher during whole class teaching.
I found that a majority of the learning took place on the carpet. I strived to model the teachers strategy. During numeracy lessons the teacher would use a variety of resources to aid learning. These included small clocks, number fans and white boards. Teaching hasn’t just involved the teacher talking and the children listening. It is more interactive which I feel is extremely effective for both the children and the teacher. It allows the children to work at their own pace and the teacher to assess what level the children are at. They will also provide the children with a kinaesthetic stimulant. I feel this is an area which I can develop, to use a variety of resources to assist my lessons which include all the children who learn by different methods.
“Children learn in a range of ways, and so learning requires a combination of different teaching strategies.” (Gipps,C., McCallum.B, Hargreaves.E (2000) p.110). I have therefore found and observed that to maximise learning, lessons need to be interactive. The children must have the opportunity to discuss their ideas to address any misconceptions they may possess. The teacher must be able to meet the needs of all the children on the carpet and I feel that the use of resources aids this. Using a range of teaching materials a teacher can incorporate fun into learning. Collis and Lacey (1996:9) stress that children learn more efficiently when they are actively involved.
Another way to ensure the lesson flows smoothly is to have all resources and planning prepared earlier. I observed the teacher distributing work sheets and preparing resources during her break or dinner. Everything was planned earlier and this contributed to an effective lesson. During my core and foundation lessons, I made sure my resources and worksheets were organised and distributed before the children returned to their tables. I also allocated the other adults where I felt they were needed. A teacher will use many different methods of learning and it is therefore vital to be prepared and note down possible questions and useful information to aid teaching.
” Questioning should not be left to the spur of the moment. It is wise to prepare some questions in advance so you can give thought to the type of questions you want to ask.” (Dean.J, (2001) p.95). I found this very valuable when planning my own my own lessons. I listed the questions I would ask and already knew what outcome I was expecting. This helped me to stay focused on the topic, yet I allowed some flexibility if the children wanted to explore other ideas. Effective teachers will use ” higher order questions which demand thinking on the part of the children” (ibid p.36). I feel I have been developing the questioning technique quite effectively as the teacher has often commented on it.
An area of concern for me is confidence, especially in standing and teaching in front of the whole class. However, once I was secure with the subject knowledge and my planning was thorough. I found myself quite confident. The children were in return relaxed and ready to learn. ” Good teachers are secure in their subject knowledge at a level well above that of the demands of the children they are teaching.” ( ibid p.36).
I have observed that the objectives of the lessons are displayed and verbally shared with the children throughout the school. The children begin the lesson knowing what is expected from them in terms of learning. Edwards and Mercer (1987) found that some teachers didn’t share objectives with the children because they didn’t want to limit the learning. They intended to build on the ideas as well as the planned lesson.
However Edwards and Mercer found that if they had shared the objectives, the lessons would have been more focused and affective. Following this I decided to display the objectives during my lessons with the whole class. It helped me to stay focused on what I was teaching. The teaching assistants play an important role in the classroom. They often supported the low ability group as they often needed individual help. I observed them teaching the children again after the whole class session. They provided the teacher with a great deal of support as this group often needed a lot of help. I observed another teaching assistant taking a specific child everyday for additional support with literacy and numeracy. Without this extra help, some children will not be achieving their potential.