Before I share my thoughts, I must make a disclaimer. If you’re looking for a magic solution to classroom challenges, the following will be helpful, but don’t expect major changes overnight. And please remember that a strong instructional philosophy (i.e., how one believes students best learn) and a well-thought-out lesson plan form the foundation for effective student learning. With all that said, the following are four must-haves for a successful classroom.
1. Build a Sense of Urgency
“We are going to have a test on this” is not something that usually inspires a great deal of urgency in most students. Urgency is created and maintained by the teacher—being urgent or engaged in what is happening in the class. Believe me, students know when we’re not enthused about what we’re doing. This shows in our facial expressions, our demeanor, our tone and posture, and even how we move about the classroom. Record a lesson and watch yourself. Are you energetic? After watching yourself, do you feel a sense of urgency? If the content and or skills you’re teaching are challenging to your enthusiasm, the proverbial “fake it till you make it” may have to come into play here.