08-05-2019 09:24 AM - edited 08-05-2019 09:30 AM
The first post of this four-part series tackled the problem of teaching large classes with the iClassroom approach, taking off from Apple’s use of “i” in the iMac and subsequent products. Originally, the “i” stood for internet, but was later expanded to embrace four key words: individual, instruct, inform, and inspire. Apple’s marketing strategy wasn’t designed for the classroom, but the principle is worth considering. For teaching large classes, let’s consider adopting an iClassroom approach with four different key words:
We’ve covered some ways to individualize teaching and learning. Now let’s get organized!
The classroom teeming with 100, 200, or even 500 students can be overwhelming. One way to keep things manageable is to think of each class session as a kind of performance. Good performances do not happen by accident and only the rare genius teacher can successfully play it by ear. An effective class session, like a good performance, requires careful planning including opening and closing routines to frame the heart of your class session
Frame the class session with identifiable opening and closing routines
Establish an opening routine to start the class to set the tone and give students (and the teacher) a chance to transition from whatever is going on outside the classroom to what is about to take place. Taking attendance is often part of that routine, but also consider:
The opening activities might relate to the current content or not. The point is to allow students to set aside distractions and focus on what is happening in the classroom.
A closing routine is a little trickier. If you successfully end class on time, you still need to be careful to avoid signaling that it’s time for students to pack up and tune out. The closing activity should require their full attention, perhaps asking them to write something. They might:
Whatever you do for your closing routine, aim to end class on time. Better yet, end a few minutes early and make yourself available for students who want to talk to you individually.
What happens in between?
Now that we have some ideas for opening and closing the class, let’s consider what happens in between. The next post in this series will look more closely at student engagement, but we’ll go ahead a set out a few general principles here.
A little advance planning will maximize your class time and will help keep your students engaged. We’ll talk more about that in the next post in this series.