Being exemplary, being the best, is something that we all strive for in our careers. Athletes, musicians, CEOs are always striving to be more efficient, successful, and profitable. Teachers are the same way. But how do you measure your effectiveness as a teacher? You can’t count how many championship rings you have. Instead, you measure your effectiveness by the impact you’ve had on your students and the depth of learning they experienced in your classroom. In order to be the best teacher you can be, to truly be exemplary, here is a list of guidelines about exemplary science teaching that will allow you to have the most positive impact on your future students.
- Asking Questions
Asking questions is a critical part of teaching. Many teachers use the traditional teaching method of spewing information to the class. Instead, try posing questions to the class. This way, you allow them to think for themselves instead of telling them what to think. They can come up with their own answers, and even if the answer is wrong, after correcting their wrong thinking they will be able to remember the answer more easily.
- Engaging the Classroom
Classroom engagement is key to knowledge retention. When students do activities, such as cooperative learning, they are more engaged in the lesson. This lets them associate the information with more positive emotions, and strengthen their memory of the content.
As a science teacher, I strive to keep the feeling of discovery alive in the classroom. The act of discovery is what motivated every pioneer in science to seek out new knowledge and new discoveries. Sadly, this critical element is often lost in classrooms. By doing inquiry-based activities, students can feel this sense of discovery when learning science concepts, improving their knowledge and retention.
- Teaching to the Test
Many teachers use the upcoming test as a strict guideline on what to teach. This leaves no wiggle room to explore other topics that the students are currently interested in. If your students are currently curious about other topics, you should not be so cemented in your course calendar that you refuse to explore these other topics with them.
Lecture is used much too often in today’s classroom. In a typical lecture, students zone out and their minds wander while the teacher drones on about subjects that don’t seem to relate to their life. Instead, you should engage the classroom and make the topics relevant to their lives.
Often in science classrooms, memorization is emphasized. This however is not true learning, and should not be seen as a substitute for knowledge. True learning is when students are able to truly understand and master concepts, which happens when students go beyond pure memorization.