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Active Teachers Aren't Always Good

Have you ever felt drained yourself out due to lots of classes and rasp your voice almost to mute? Well, I have.

It’s OK to be productive, energetic, enthusiast, and mobile for every class we teach. Students won’t get bored yet they seem to be less active because teachers do all the stuff. It is exhausting and leads to a teacher centre learning, which is nowadays called as old-fashioned. Furthermore, active teachers don’t always represent a good education.

In the fourth webinar I had with Ms Tanja McCandie from Cambridge University Press on May 21st 2020, I learnt that sometimes I forget that I tend to do this old fashioned learning in class. Like a reminder that I do have the option to get my students to engage in the 21st learning activity by having them active in class in a meaningful way.

The essential point in her presentation is to apply what educators call as active learning. Its activities involve students in the learning process in the form of students centred leading to high students participation where teachers do more observations than the talking. However, teachers need to stay focus on their role as a facilitator by control.

Students work in group and teacher may assist
as a facilitator when they are in need

To create active classes, the teacher can do as follow:
  1. Sit in groups or pairs
  2. Class discussion
  3. Small group discussions
  4. Debate
  5. Peer assessment
  6. Have students work together on tasks
  7. Have students correct each other’s work
  8. Give students time to review incorrect answer with their peers: reviewing test together with students; they are in pairs or group
  9. Give students time to work on homework together
To achieve the goal of active learning, teachers are demanded to give student autonomy about what and how they want to study. It is to give students a chance to decide how they prefer to approach the activity by having teachers empower them well. 

Teachers may ask students what and how they want to study to make sure that we know their learning goal. In addition, it is a way to help them learn how to make a decision on what they need and how they want to learn. 

Imagine yourself as a student! If you were them, what would you answer if your teacher asked similar questions? It would be nice to let our teachers know what we want. That is how I think of myself in class.

Other things that teachers can do to support our students’ preference in learning are by:
  • Asking yourself, “What is your goal as a teacher?” Are you teaching only as a part of your responsibility because it is your job? Or it is because you have beyond than that? Recall the memory of why you become a teacher.
  • Letting them enjoy the class in order to increase their understanding and achieve their goal.
  • Evaluating the meaning of tasks completed in your class - Do they have the meaning you’re your students? What is the point of finishing the homework or such? Teachers need to communicate why students are given particular tasks.

As a start, perhaps you can try one of these ideas to recreate the design of the task in reading class:
  1. Storyboard – they read a book pick the main scene then draw it. The drawing should be on the scene of the most important thing so that they can explain why it is important,
  2. PowerPoint – students can do the problem-based discussion in which by the end of the day, they can communicate their ideas with PowerPoint,
  3. Poster Presentation - Teachers give verbal and written guidelines and a grading rubric. students will have the opportunity to view examples of finished posters. For the assignment, students are required to view all posters and ask questions of their peers. The role of the instructor is that of facilitator and evaluator. As a facilitator, the instructor checks on postings in a timely manner and responds when necessary to correct or clarify information. From time to time, the instructor submits questions or comments to enhance the discussion.
  4. Video Presentation - as a more creative way to deliver students’ ideas.
  5. Rewrite the ending – a better understanding of how students can construct a new perspective based on an orientation of a story provided.

In conclusion, as teachers, we need to change into better facilitators by giving them space to grow and having them enjoy the process of learning.

Good luck, fellow teachers.

May, 21st 2020
Achdi Merdianto

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