‘Teachers must go back to basics’


Teaching is not just a job; it’s a lifelong journey that demands unwavering dedication. “Once a teacher, always a teacher” – this saying resonates deeply with many of us and this rings true for me in this noble profession.

Everyone has the potential to teach, but it takes a special kind of person to embrace the role with passion and dedication.

Teaching is a calling that, when answered with genuine enthusiasm and commitment, becomes a lifelong declaration of purpose and fulfilment.

The intention to be a teacher deeply influences the ability to capture and sustain students’ attention. A teacher’s passion, commitment and innovative spirit – rooted in their intention to educate – are key to creating an engaging and effective learning environment.

By aligning their teaching practices with their core intentions, teachers can ensure that their students remain attentive, motivated and excited to learn.

ABCs of teaching

In today’s evolving landscape of education, it is essential for teachers to continuously refine their teaching strategies to foster more effective learning environments. Traditionally, many classrooms have relied on passive learning methods, such as reading textbooks and answering end-of-chapter questions.

While these methods have their place, research increasingly highlights the importance of active student engagement for better comprehension and retention of material. To address this need, teachers can adopt a simple yet impactful framework known as the ABCs of teaching: attention, basics and comprehension.

Capturing and maintaining students’ attention is the first critical step in the teaching process. Engaging students right from the start sets the tone for the lesson and encourages active participation. Get to know your students first! Teachers can employ various techniques to grab students’ attention, such as:

> Interactive discussions

Encouraging students to share their thoughts and opinions fosters a dynamic learning environment. Allow them to talk about themselves, their ambitions, their family or anything they would like to discuss. Be an attentive and good listener.

> Multimedia presentations

Utilising videos, animations, and other digital resources can make the material more engaging and relatable. Storytelling sessions would be among the best.

> Thought-provoking questions

Posing challenging questions stimulates critical thinking and curiosity. Allowing peer and teacher interactions, where students can ask questions among themselves and their teachers, is crucial.

> Real-world connections

Relating lessons to real-life scenarios helps students see the relevance and application of what they are learning, allowing them to explore what’s happening outside the school compound – in the community and the world. It is important to highlight the importance of learning the topic.

Once attention is secured, the next focus is ensuring a solid understanding of fundamental concepts. This means setting up the lesson objectives, learning objectives and success criteria for the lesson. This step involves:

> Clear explanations

Breaking down complex ideas into simpler, more manageable parts helps students grasp the basics more effectively. Define, describe and explain to students the purpose of the lesson and why they need to learn the topic.

> Hands-on activities

Engaging students in practical exercises reinforces theoretical knowledge and aids retention. Let them explore and make their own decisions, and allow them to explain the reasons behind the decisions.

> Visual aids

Diagrams, charts and other visual tools can enhance understanding and make abstract concepts more concrete.

> Collaborative learning

Group work and peer interactions encourage students to learn from each other and build a supportive learning community.

The final component of the ABCs is ensuring deep comprehension of the material. This comprises:

> Problem-solving exercises

Provide opportunities for students to apply what they have learnt in various contexts to promote critical thinking and deeper understanding. Break down complex ideas into simpler parts.

> Project-based learning

Assign long-term projects that require research, creativity and collaboration to help students integrate and apply their knowledge. Provide diverse contexts for students to enforce their understanding.

> Peer teaching

Encourage students to teach each other to foster mastery of the subject as they explain concepts in their own words.

> Reflective practices

Encourage students to reflect on what they have learnt and how they can use this knowledge in the future to strengthen their comprehension.

In conclusion, nurturing a teaching persona involves blending passion with practical strategies to capture attention, reinforce basics and deepen comprehension. By embracing the ABCs framework, teachers can create a dynamic, inspiring classroom environment where both educators and students thrive.

This holistic approach not only enhances teaching effectiveness, but also makes the journey fulfilling and impactful.

SAMIHA MOHD. SALLEH

Kota Tinggi

Johor

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