No Response, No Problem … read on

Student participation can be highly irritating within the classroom, asking a question and seeing no students raising hands or actively trying to share their ideas can cause a sudden halt within lessons. A particular Year 12 class that I teach often left me with feelings of distress, worrying that I had not clearly asked a question or that I was questioning the students on something that they had not learnt. My colleagues at times shared this worry with some of their other classes and upon reading the students’ homework and mock exams it became apparent that they did have suggestions but were not willing to share this in the lesson.

Working with a senior member of staff and two fellow NQTs we worked together to find techniques to get students to contribute and participate in class rather than being too shy or embarrassed or lazy to answer.

Lesson Study: Research Plan Lesson 1 – January 12th, 2017

Sociology Lesson for Year 10s

Lesson Objective – To be able to explain changing trends in fertility and childbirth and how they impact the family. To develop exam skills.

Techniques that we began to plan must include;

  • encouragement strategies to participate and increase students confidence
  • using physical indicators of decision i.e. stand up, sit down or hands up or hands down activities.
  • Controversial statements used in order to shock the students and almost force the student to make a suggestion or at least react.
  • Group work to increase the confidence of the students and to discuss
  • Students informed before the group activity that they may be picked on to contribute during the class evaluation. – use planner to select students.

Observing Lesson 1- 16th January, 2017

 

Observations:

  • using physical indicators of decision i.e. stand up, sit down or hands up or hands down activities.

Students at first were reluctant to join in but after a couple of statements this “game” became slightly more appealing to students and eventually all students were contributing.

  • Controversial statements used in order to shock the students and almost force the student to make a suggestion or at least react.

Students all reacted to these statements and often sparked a mini discussion in the classroom, where many of the students contributed and became very interested in the lesson.

  • Group work to increase the confidence of the students and to discuss

A lot of class-related discussion was happening and the classroom did become quite lively however the discussion remained on the task at hand – note the controversial statements remained on the board during this time.

  • Students informed before the group activity that they may be picked on to contribute during the class evaluation. – use planner to select students.

All students contributed (perhaps to fear of being picked to suggest and them not having any suggestion?) and this gave each of the students that had been identified as weak contributors to make a suggestion that had been previously discussed in the group.

Lesson Study: Research Plan Lesson 2- 26th January, 2017

Psychology lesson for Year 12s

Lesson Objective – To be able to explain and evaluate learning theory of attachment.

Techniques that we began to plan must include;

  • Think, pair and share activities (no hands up feedback)
  • Media clips to gain the students interest and attention, almost to provoke a response from the students
  • Randomly selecting students to answer the questions

Implementing Techniques with my Year 12 Psychology (Lesson 2) – 2nd February, 2017 

Observations:

  • Think, pair and share activities (no hands up feedback)

During the lesson I realised that it was crucial for me to allow students to have an appropriate amount of time to think, then share with their fellow students.

  • Media clips to gain the students interest and attention, almost to provoke a response from the students

This idea was particularly engaging for the students however it is very important to note that the clip that is being used must be very relevant to the topic that is being discussed.

  • Randomly selecting students to answer the questions

Students became aware that they could be randomly picked on at any time therefore they became more engaged and attentive to the lesson and what other students were suggesting.

Conclusion

Applying the techniques led to students becoming more involved in the task and more suggestions being given by a variety of students, with more detail. Ultimately students gained a deeper understanding of the topic with the alternate suggestions given by other students and was worded in a way in which they would understand. I have found the lesson study sessions to be highly resourceful as they have provided me with an insight to how I can implement new techniques to keep the students attentive and engaged in lessons.

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