Good TeachingBy William SastoqueFirst of all, I would like to discuss briefly why this workshop is called GoodTeaching. I do not wantto be misunderstood because I know well how fineteachers differ as their characters and styles differ. Idiosyncrasy is a virtue to theextent that successful teaching rests on character - and I believe it heavily reststhere. By describing a generalized view of good teaching, I may unintentionallysignal to you an intolerance of idiosyncrasy. I do not wish to do so.I am also concerned that I may give the impression that I think teaching per se isimportant. Of course, it isnt; what is only important is what the students learn.I do want to say that brilliant teaching, in my view, at its heart reflectsscholarship, personal integrity and the ability to communicate with our students.There are everyday things some teachers do automatically and acts which mayappear trivial in themselves, but which, when added to the hundreds of similaracts, create a standard and a style from which people can learn.For example, here are some apparent insignificant things:√ knowing students names, and calling them by name√ remembering something that had earlier worried a student, and asking about it("Is your mother recovering from her operation?")√ never being late to class or cutting it for some personal convenience√ returning papers to students as soon as possible√ perceiving the results of a class as "My students know XYZ," rather than "Icovered XYZ in class" - and knowing the difference between the two√ always expect a bit more of a student than he expects of him/herself√ accentuate the positive; be careful always to praise good work. No one learnsanything faster than when he feels he is successful√ be friends with students, but not buddies; the obligations of the latterrelationship limit ones freedom to teach well
√ never give up on a student, or categorize or brand him permanentlyThere other general acts that can help novice and experienced teachers to maketheir lives less painful. Here is what Good Teaching (in my humble opinion) isabout:Helping students to learn Provide as many practice opportunities as possible. Find ways for students to engage in authentic learning. Make students aware of how they learn best. Build a sense of community in the classroom.Assessing students Use a variety of testing methods. Test skills other than memory. Ask students to participate actively by submiting test questions.Giving feedback Be specific about why something was good or not up to standard. Guide students on the specific steps they can take to do something better. Use rubrics to explicitly describe the performance characteristics of your students’ work. Use different kinds of feedback (formal – informal – direct – formative).Asking questions Use different questioning techniques. Assign numbers to students at random and use the numbers to ask questions. Ask students to repeat the question paraphrasing it before answering it. Accept collaborative behavior from students if they do not know the answer.
Motivating students Ensure opportunities for students’ success. Ask students to analyze what makes their classes more or less interesting. Reward success. Use comment cards to encourage participation. Vary your classes by using a ―hook‖ activity everyday.Some of my favorite “hook” ActivitiesA ―hook‖ activity in my opinion is that single activity you planned for your classthat combines the right amount of students’ involvement, language practice andthe pressure-free environment students need to practice the language.Autograph BingoSummary: Autograph Bingo is an activity that asks people to mingle and findpeople that match interesting facts listed on a bingo card. The activity is avariation of the traditional ―Find someone who‖ that is useful in that it causesplayers to discover interesting and humorous facts about each other.Ages: teens and up. Recommended # of people: Larger groups of 24+ people.Messiness Factor: No problem. Materials required: bingo cards prepared inadvance and writing utensils. Recommended Setting: Indoors.The gameAutograph Bingo is a fun way to help both new acquaintances and old friendsdiscover facts about each other. The goal of this icebreaker game is to mingle andobtain the signatures of people who have the facts listed on their bingo card. Justas regular bingo rules, once a player successfully obtains a full row (5 in a row) onhis or her Bingo sheet, whether obtained horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, heor she shouts ―BINGO!‖SetupPrepare a table with 5 rows and 5 columns (5×5), with interesting facts inside theboxes. These facts can include humorous or bizarre things. For example you canuse facts such as: Speaks more than two languages
Enjoys walking in thunderstorms Likes anchovies Has been to Alaska Has gone skydiving before Has more than three sisters Has gone without a shower for more than three daysTry to be as creative as you can. Like traditional bingo, you can mark the centersquare as a ―Free Space‖. After you are finished preparing the table, print outenough copies.Instructions for How to Do itPass out pens and the bingo cards to each player. Explain the game along withthe following rule: each person you talk to may only sign your sheet once (so thatpeople can interact with as many people as possible). When everyone is ready, say―Go!‖ and begin the game!Once a player shouts ―Bingo!‖ everyone returns to thecenter and the person must introduce the people who signed his or her sheet. Ifdesired, you can ask each person to explain their fact.First Impressions GameSummary: An activity in which people write their first impressions of each otheron a large paper taped to their backs.Ages: teens and up. Recommended number of people: At least 10. Works withvery large groups and meetings. Messiness factor: No mess at all. Materialsrequired: A large piece of paper or posterboard for each participant,pens/markers, masking tape. Recommended Setting: Indoors or outdoors.The gameInstructions: This is a fun activity that involves writing your first impression ofsomeone you meet. If some people already know each other, that’s fine too —people can simply write some nice, encouraging words or adjectives to describeeach other. This works well as an icebreaker for meetings, when there are newpeople present, or when people don’t know each other well.To set up First Impressions, pass out the large sheets of paper and writingutensils. Have each person write their name on the top of a sheet of paper. Tapeeach person’s sheet to their back so that they can’t see it. Instruct everyone tomingle with each other and to talk. Tell everyone to say hello and to introduce
each other for a few moments. After a minute or so, ask each person to write anadjective (their ―first impression‖ of the person they just spoke with) on eachother’s papers. Then have each person continue mingling with new people,repeating the process. After 10-20 minutes (depending on how large your groupis and how long you want this activity to run), each person should have severaladjectives and descriptive words listed on their backs. Go around the room andintroduce each other, reading the words written on your neighbor’s paper. Thisshould be pretty humorous, and if people did this activity correctly, there shouldbe lots of kind things said about each other.Important note: instruct everyone to write nice (or encouraging) words ONLY!Do not allow any mean, rude, or critical words to be written. For example, onecan write words such as ―beautiful smile,‖ ―great sense of humor,‖ ―smart andwitty personality,‖ ―gifted listener,‖ etc.Photo Scavenger HuntSummary: A team-based scavenger hunt with a twist — bringing back photos ofinteresting places and things.Ages: teens and up. Recommended number of people: Teams of about 4people. Messiness Factor: Be prepared to walk around. Materials Required: adigital camera for each team. Recommended Setting: Outdoors.The gameInstructions: Prepare a list of about ten interesting places, things, andcircumstances that can be captured using a camera. You could list, for example: A group photo with someone famous The most relaxing place you can find The biggest tree A group photo with someone dressed in a tuxedo A photo with a yellow car A fast food worker A human pyramid of at least seven people The funniest thing you can findAnd so on. Be creative. Divide the group into teams of about fourpeople. Make sure each team has at least one functioning camera.
Set a time limit for the groups (e.g. 30 minutes or so). Instruct the teams to findas many things on the list as they can and take a picture with all the groupmembers in the photo. When time expires, have all members reconvene andpresent their photos along with the checklist. Award one point for eachsuccessful photo item and bonus points for extra creativity or effort.This activity is good for building team chemistry and for creating funnymemories. Be sure to provide adequate supervision if there are youngparticipants. Have fun, and always keep safety first!Bigger and BetterSummary: A teambuilding activity in which teams are given a small object (e.g.paperclips) and must keep trading and upgrading their objects to get the biggest,best objects possible until the time limit expires. The objects are judged for size,value, and creativity.Ages: 14 and up. Recommended # of people: teams of 2-10 people. Messinessfactor: Light. Materials: Paper clips or other small objects. RecommendedSetting: Outdoors.The gameInstructions: How is it possible to turn a paper clip into a guitar, laundrymachine, bicycle, or other huge objects like a yacht? Split the teams into groupsof two to ten, depending on the size of your overall group. Distribute paper clips(or some other small object) to each group. Clearly indicate the time limit forthis activity (e.g. 30-40 minutes), and let them go off to trade. The goal is tocome back with the biggest, best, most creative object after a series of tradingand upgrading. When the time expires, everyone reconvenes at a predefinedlocation for the show-and-tell and judging process.Judges choose the best items on various criteria: size, value, creativity, and overallbest. This game has benefits of having team members work together and thinkcreatively on how to upgrade their items. Camaraderie is gained through this funprocess - enjoy!Never Have I EverSummary: An icebreaker in which players sit in a circle and take turns sayinginteresting things they have never done. Each player starts with ten fingers. Each
time someone says something that you’ve done, you drop a finger. The goal is tobe the last player remaining.Ages: teens and up. Recommended # of people: 10-20. Messiness factor: NoSweat. Materials Required: None. Recommended Setting: Indoors.The gameInstructions: Tell everyone to sit in a circle. Each player holds out all ten of theirfingers and places them on the floor. One by one, each person announcessomething that they have never done; for example, they say, ―Never have I everbeen to Canada.‖ For each statement, all the other players remove a finger if theyhave done that statement. So, if three other people have been to Canada before,those three people must put down a finger, leaving them with nine fingers. Thegoal is to stay in the game the longest (to have fingers remaining). Thus, it is agood strategy to say statements that most people have done, but you haven’t.This can be humorous (e.g. ―Never have I ever skipped a class in school‖ or―Never have I ever soiled my pants.‖) The game provides a good way to find outunique experiences and facts about people.