Tips on Teaching: How I Would Do It

Situation: large, noisy class with about 6 “ring-leaders?.

Note: majority of the class has textbooks, binders and other notebooks and seem to be looking to the teacher for guidance or at least chatting among themselves or checking their cell phones.

Step 1: come up with a small group assignment e.g. page 148 has 5 exercises, one of them requiring close work. Divide the class by 5 and then assign groups with particular attention to putting the ring-leaders in one group. Then assign myself to that group to help them.

*See “here’s the Deal? Spiel.

Step 3: review the assignment with them and gauge their response, watching for any who deliberately tune out or become hostile (?Why did you put us all together; why did you sit with us?? Answer: “Because you guys looked like you?d be more fun?).

Step 4: Ask if they understand what they’re supposed to be doing.

Step 5: Look around the classroom to make sure all groups are getting down to the task, keeping in mind that they may not be used to close supervision.

Step 6: Focus on your group and single out anyone who seems more engaged and ask them if they can figure out “number one? or whatever.

Step 7: See if the ball gets rolling.

Step 2: sit with this rowdy group and ask if anyone can lend paper to everyone else and tell them I will give them something to write with ? that’s a task that will engage them momentarily and has the potential of getting them on track.

a. if it doesn’t , do the first one or two with them.

Step 8: Crucial— if after b., there are still hold-outs, overtly hostile or non-compliant students, it’s time to ratchet your response up. Take the one or two recalcitrants out in the hallway and go into the “here’s the deal? spiel.*

b. if it does, casually say you’re going to make sure everyone is working and get up to check on the other groups. This incorporates them into the “normals? of the class and demonstrates your expectations.

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