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Monday, May 12, 2014

How to Silence Students: Threaten Them With Spoilers of Game of Thrones

Hilarious isn’t it! This one made me laugh out loud when I found it on facebook. So as a teacher you can benefit from being up-to-date with all recent series your students watch.
This strategy is fast and effective, but brings me to the topic of children having to be quiet in class.
There is a large difference between schools and their infrastructure, teachers, teaching method etc… this all has an influence on childrens behavior. I think it is especially important for children to be more activly engaged in class, and having an exciting and creative environment.
Imagine having to spend your days sitting in this classroom for hours :
Or spending your time in this classroom :
In the first one there may be a bigger emphasis on listening, obeying, independence , personal achievement etc…
In the second the emphasis seems to be on creativity, openness, teamwork, communication …
So the making of the system starts in the classroom, by what we teach our children and how we teach them. Do we teach them to sit quietly and listen the entire time, or do we teach them that to communicate and also bring in their own point of view. Of course, a certain level of respect for the teacher is necessary. And explaining to the children why it is important to be quiet at certain times, is necessary. Because a child adopts things from his or her parents, friends, media and other factors, and in that way the child may for example talk in class as a form of ‘trying to be cool’ for the other students. So instead of yelling or punishing, it will be beneficial to have class discussions about behavior like that, without name calling or making it personal. But to keep it general so that everyone learns to see through such behavior. Because someone who tries to be cool, and others respond positively to it, just enhances that behavior. But when others learn to see through it, they may actually point it out to that student when it happens and in fact help him/her with self-realization.
Let’s look at science as well.
Some studies have for example shown that boys often have a lot of trouble sitting still for long periods of time, because their physical bodies cannot sit still for that long. And others have shown how students learn best, like for example being engaged in activities. When I speak for myself, I can say that I learn best when I can DO what I am learning. This tends to ‘stick’ in my brain and gets clearer much faster than if you just hand me a text book or speak theory to me.
There are significant differences in the ways girls and boys learn, differences which are more substantial than age differences in many ways. In other words, a 7-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy differ, on average, on parameters such as “How long can you sit still, be quiet, and pay attention?” Those differences between a same-age girl and same-age boy are larger than differences between, say, a 7-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl. Most American schools segregate kids on the basis of age differences: they put 7-year-olds in one classroom and 9-year-olds in another classroom. And yet, on some parameters – such as how long a child can sit still, be quiet, and pay attention – the sex differences (e.g. between the average 7-year-old girl and the average 7-year-old boy) are larger than the age differences (e.g. between the average 7-year-old girl and the average 9-year-old girl).

Educational psychologists have found fundamental differences in the factors motivating girls vs. factors motivating boys. Researchers have consistently found that “girls are more concerned than boys are with pleasing adults, such as parents and teachers” (Pomerantz, Altermatt, & Saxon, 2002, p. 397). Most boys, on the other hand, will be less motivated to study unless the material itself interests them.
Best practices for teaching math differ significantly for girls and boys – particularly in arithmetic, algebra, and number theory. With boys, you can stimulate their interest by focussing on the properties of numbers per se. With girls, you want to tie what you’re teaching into the real world. Keep it real and keep it relevant.

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