English teachers perform an important function. They help students learn to read, write, understand what they read and improve their knowledge in contact with their peers. The teachers also teach the art of having an interesting and constructive conversation. Sometimes you will find it difficult to fulfill your role, however there are methods you can improve on to help your students get the most out of their time in class.
Part 1 of 4: Develop lesson plans
Step 1. Choose interesting teaching materials
Books like "Moby Dick" are very important and have great literary value, yet they are too long and difficult stories. They do not represent a teaching aid likely to captivate your students for a long time. Instead, choose contemporary books or works that match your students' tastes.
Look everywhere for literary works or school texts. You can even opt for a zombie apocalyptic short story like Colson Whitehead's “Zone One”. This work brilliantly deals with themes complementary to those developed by classical authors, such as those Hemingway dealt with in his work "Nowadays"
Step 2. Be reasonable in giving homework assignments
Sometimes it is not advisable to ask your students to read a very long piece of work during the week. Your students will not have time to finish reading the book in question and they will be tempted to either skim through it quickly, read a summary of it, or not read it at all. Encourage your students to do their homework well and give them only a reasonable workload.
Have your students practice commenting on short stories. Reading a relatively short text does not necessarily mean that the student will not learn important concepts. To illustrate the issues you cover in the lesson, find short stories that will grab your students' attention
Step 3. Assign homework that helps your students assimilate the material being taught
Have them read a text, interpret it, and write a succinct response. Homework like this will encourage students to think about and consider important questions or make connections between different subjects taught in class.
Avoid giving your students tedious work. Boring and difficult homework will not help students understand and enjoy your lessons. In addition, these homework assignments are difficult to prepare and to grade. Be sure to donate only an assignment that promotes learning for your students
Step 4. Emphasize the main idea
It is important to help your students develop their vocabulary and understand a text in great detail. However, these are not the things they will take away from your teaching. So try to explain the basics of the subjects you teach to them. Let them soak up the general meaning of the lesson and show them how to benefit from it in everyday life. Teach your students how to learn instead of presenting them superficially. Thus, they will be able to love and understand the subjects you teach them in the long term.
Step 5. Make your lessons more consistent by ordering them
Instead of jumping rooster and donkey, combine your lessons chronologically or by topic. During your lessons, deal with the different questions and show your students the relationships between the different themes. Help your students identify the connections and encourage them to examine them in different light. How does Whitman's relationship with nature relate to that of Tennysson or Hemingway? Are these relationships different or similar and why?
A chronological classification of your lessons allows you to move naturally from one topic to another. It is normal to study the authors of the 18th century first before those of the 19th. You can also arrange your lessons by topic. In this case, you will have the opportunity to examine the progression of a theme or idea by studying several texts
Part 2 of 4: Leading the Discussions
Step 1. Know your subject inside out
If you are commenting on a short story, re-read it several times in detail. Present an interpretation of the work and remember that your opinion is not exclusive. Be sure to answer any questions your students may ask you about the text in question.
Step 2. Introduce additional elements
The main point of the discussion should revolve around the text itself. In addition, it is desirable to mention additional elements, such as the author's biography, the context of the work, as well as controversial or well-known interpretations of which it has been the subject. Do a search and present the most interesting results you have found.
Step 3. Define the subject to be taught
Highlight a few key points from the text that may stimulate or even confuse your students. Keep in mind the specific topics you want to develop as well as some important points for your students to remember.
Remember that your students will have questions and expectations that you cannot anticipate. Your lesson should not be frozen. You will create a lively discussion, if you take into account the discussion topics offered by your students
Step 4. Ask interpretive questions
Encourage your students to interpret the text rather than just discussing the facts presented in it. Ask questions beginning with the adverbs "why" and "how", but avoid asking questions introduced by the interrogative pronoun "what" or those which only call for a negative or affirmative answer. For example, the very type of a simple question would be "what did Ender do at Bonzo Madrid?" A more complex and challenging question, on the other hand, is to say, "Why did Ender do it?""
Step 5. Ask specific questions
It is best to start with a general question, such as "what do you like about this text?" This is only valid if this first question is followed by more precise questions. General questions do not help students develop a critical analysis of the texts they read. In addition, these questions encourage generalizations and the use of hypotheses rather than favoring argumentation based on the content of the text. Instead, ask them specific questions. This will encourage students to focus on things they may not have noticed, develop an argument based on the content, and examine details that contradict their interpretation.
Step 6. Encourage your students to engage in dialogue
Your students should not address you during the discussion. Preferably, encourage them to talk to each other and only intervene to move the debate forward. They must learn to work in groups, have their own ideas and build their own interpretations. Indeed, they will not gain much if they only listen to your opinion. Remember that part of your role as a teacher is to help them learn and have the best learning possible.
If your students can listen and respect each other, encourage them to have discussions where they won't have to raise their hands to ask to speak or wait their turn to speak. This method will improve the quality of the conversation and give it a more lively pace. In addition, you will intervene much less in the debate. If the discussion is likely to turn into a cacophony or if some students monopolize the floor, instruct the speaking student to nominate the next speaker. You can also find another way to settle the discussion without intervening yourself
Step 7. Contradict your students and encourage them to do the same
Do not contradict everything they say, but ask them to support their theses with arguments taken from the text. Encourage some of your students to come up with different interpretations. If you insist on the ideas they express, you will make them think more and come up with convincing arguments, be persuasive and have a debate with their classmates.
A discussion becomes more interesting and lively, when the argument is compelling and the debate is well-ordered. If the conversation takes a personal turn or if the students are likely to become rude to each other, consider cleaning up the class by going back to the original text. Try not to challenge your students by contradicting them
Part 3 of 4: mastering the subject
Step 1. Read regularly
Read works written in different literary genres, books, periodicals, newspapers and poetry. Reading is a great way to learn new topics, build vocabulary, improve writing and find new teaching tools. Depending on the level of your class, familiarize yourself with the most important literary works. So you will always be able to suggest texts to your students to read.
- In addition to the usual readings, also read for fun. Remember the reasons you enjoy reading and encourage your students to do the same.
- Take into account the evolution of teaching materials and try out new features that might interest your students. In this way, you will better respond to their concerns and interests, which will make you an exceptional teacher.
Step 2. Develop your vocabulary
Highlight new words you come across while reading. Study the new terms and develop your vocabulary. Try to find words you don't know. Think about the etymology and explain these words using synonyms. Do not hesitate to check for words whose meaning you are missing and encourage your students to do the same.
At the same time, teach your students that a good writer avoids complicated words and high-sounding terms to shine in front of others. Teach your students that there is a difference between using a complicated term to make a historical comparison and using it to impress a classmate. Know that to master the words, it is possible to use several methods
Step 3. Do writing exercises
Students will need to be able to read your handwriting to understand your inscriptions on the board or your notations on their copies. Write letters or write a diary to maintain your ability to write well and especially focus on readability and not speed.
Step 4. Develop your language skills
Make sure you have a good command of spelling, punctuation and grammar. You will not like to teach your students misspelled or incorrect words. Refer to appropriate books or Internet resources to check for punctuation or grammar rules, and feel free to clarify any points you are unsure of.
Part 4 of 4: Developing teaching methods
Step 1. Learn to talk to your students
Know how to be confident, stand in front of your students, and express yourself well. Practice reading aloud to improve your speech and be comfortable in public. Avoid babbling when addressing your students. To do well in the classroom, familiarize yourself with public speaking techniques.
Step 2. Encourage your students
Pay attention to them and suggest topics for them to study. Treat them as smart and helpful people and respect their academic endeavors. Encourage them to do activities that interest them and set goals for them in class or outside of class. When you show them respect, you will see that they will go out of their way to earn the attention you give them.
Step 3. Be available outside of the classroom
Encourage your students to meet with you during lunch or after school. This can help those who are trying to interview you to investigate certain issues. Your availability will encourage them to really take an interest in your course. In addition, this will show your respect and desire to help them learn.
Step 4. Be strict and correct
Don't yell at your students, but don't let them trample on you either. Be disciplined, but don't overdo it, as they will be tempted to heckle in class. Congratulate and reward a student who has passed an assignment. If a student is heckling, take them aside and give them time to help them solve their problem. You can also ask another student to help him.
Step 5. Make sure your students understand your teaching
Don't speak or write too fast. This will give your students time to listen, understand, and copy the important elements of the lesson. To help your students better understand your teaching, help them understand your lessons and encourage them to make connections between the elements of the lesson and the scenes of everyday life.