At some point in your life you have sat down in a classroom for a long period of time, just listening and taking in information. It may have been a topic you normally would be fascinated by, but on this occasion, you just could not maintain concentration. Every word just goes in one ear and out the other. We have all experienced this, yet few people take this into account when planning or delivering lessons. Have you considered teaching outside of the classroom?
As teachers, we know that lessons at the end of the day are always more difficult. Generally, the students are less engaged, and motivating students to complete tasks can be an uphill battle. But can we really blame the students? They sit through hours of lessons in similar classrooms, with similar people around them. Add this to the fact that it is happening every day of every week, and it’s not hard to see why students check out.
Change It Up!
Teaching outside of the classroom is an easy way to shake up your class with minimal extra planning for the teacher. Teaching in a new environment allows lessons to have a completely different feel while still providing the same teaching strategies. Students will be re-energized by these simple changes to their routines. Teaching in different environments also allows for different teaching strategies to be used. Larger spaces allow students to work more independently from one another while also providing additional opportunities for group based tasks.
School grounds have so much potential to allow learning to occur but are under-utilized. Here are some of the spaces which I think you should be using more often as part of your teaching.
Classroom space is usually at a premium with students needing to sit in close proximity to each other. Yet usually school fields and playgrounds are left completely unused. If your classwork requires minimal resources, why not allow your students to work in an area with more space? In my experience, this improves behavior because there are fewer people around to create distractions. As long as expectations about the work is kept to a high level, you could find it to be an extremely valuable teaching strategy, particularly in the summer months. You can also include games in your lessons to get the students moving.
Large open space with moveable seating and chairs, what could be better? Although not always available, the cafeteria provides an ideal space for learning. This is particularly true if your classroom has immovable desks, such as in a science lab. Students can work in groups around the room while still being near the teacher.
The Drama Classroom
The drama classroom, or theater, provides a layout to completely mix up the way you teach. If the classroom has raised seating, try putting tasks of different difficulty on the levels. Students can try and work their way up to the top of the room with each successful piece of work. One group can even be the center of attention on the stage. This area also works great for putting on small plays for any subject.
If your classroom has raised seating, assign tasks on rows by difficulty level. Click To Tweet
Teachers spend hours decorating boards outside classrooms but very few students actually read them, as the students are rarely there. Why not incorporate a lesson activity, such as a starter or warm-up, in this area? Students can search for information placed about the topic on boards in the hallways. You could even have a bulletin board for students to add ideas to outside of the classroom.
The world around us is one of life’s greatest teachers. Stop confining yourself to the classrooms of the old and start engaging students in new ways.
This guest post was created by Will, owner and editor of TeachersWords, a site that shares ideas and strategies for teachers.
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