where can i purchase clomid online In the last article I described some of the ‘soft’ skills that you should expect to hear when an excellent teacher is talking to his or her students. This time, I will write about a few of the ‘technical’ or ‘professional’ speaking skills that are routinely used by expert teachers and which you will probably notice if you have the chance to visit a classroom. What follows are brief descriptions of five such skills, all of which are based on research confirming their effectiveness in influencing the quality of children’s learning:
1. Teachers praise children’s effort, not their achievement.
source url Rationale: success in any aspect of life is based, at least in part, upon how much effort the individual or team is willing to expend in order to achieve that success. When a teacher praises a child’s achievement it can have the unfortunate effect of saying to the child, “You’ve done everything you need to do, well done”. A child who hears this may therefore lose the motivation to continue. It is much better for the teacher to thank or praise a student for their hard work, thereby conveying the message to the child that further hard work will help raise the child’s level of achievement – which is always true!
2. Teachers do not give feedback to the student in order to provide ‘comfort’.
price of diovan Rationale: At first this idea may seem harsh. After all, we all like to be comforted don’t we? But let’s consider the example of a child who has just performed badly on a test, perhaps an end of term mathematics test. The teacher who says,” Never mind, I know it was a difficult test and you did your best” may seem to be kind, but it’s the wrong sort of kindness! The message the child hears is “I’m not very good at maths and I could not expect to do better.” A child who thinks she cannot do better will certainly not do better in future! The skill of the teacher is to use supportive language to the student while helping her consider how she can do better in future.
3. Teachers use open-ended questions.
Rationale: A fundamental aim of teaching (and parenting) is to help students improve their learning (much more on this in future posts). Open-ended questions are those which imply that there may be more than one answer to a question. An example of an open-ended question is: “What are the likely results of this experiment?”. The effect of open-ended questions is to encourage the child to search for multiple answers, which is how an individual’s learning and the whole of human knowledge develop. The teacher who asks only closed questions such as, “What conclusion did you reach from reading this chapter?” is in effect saying to the student, “There is only one answer to this question and I know what it is.” Closed questions result in closed minds.
4. Teachers use both the “approachable” and the “credible” voices* when speaking to students.
Rationale: The “approachable” or “invitational” voice has a softness of tone and, in the English language as well as some others, may have an upwards inflection at the end of the sentence. This voice invites the children to participate in the discussion and is used by teachers in many contexts including when they want to check with students what they have understood. The “credible” voice has a stern tone and sentences may end with a falling inflection. A teacher is correct to use this when giving firm instructions or in cases of emergency. An extreme example would be the case of giving directions to children during an emergency evacuation. When choosing which voice to use, the key thing for the teacher to remember is that children take more note of the tone of the teacher’s voice than the actual words she uses.
5. Teachers use silence as a means to improve students’ learning.
Rationale: There is nothing wrong with the enthusiastic ‘buzz’ that we often hear in a classroom where children are learning well. But sometimes the old saying ‘silence is golden’ can also true. A good example is when the teacher asks a question to the whole class. The skilful teacher will not allow the quickest student to call out an answer. Instead, she will insist upon a period of silence while all students have the opportunity to think their answers through. This is called ‘wait time’** and its skilful use has been found to improve the thinking of every child.
There are many other speaking skills that are used by excellent teachers, but those I have described above may be of particular interest to parents who ask themselves, “How should I speak to my child?”
*Many of the strategies that we use when working with children and adults are described in an excellent book by Robert Garmston and Bruce Wellman entitled The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups.
** The term “wait time”, known to most teachers, was coined by Mary Budd Rowe in the 1970s. If you are interested to learn more, you will find plenty of information about it on the Internet.
Next time: Three questions that will tell me how well my child is being taught (for parents’ eyes only!).