by: MARICOR V. SANTOS
Teacher III, Munoz National High School-Main
In facilitating Teaching-Learning process, basic skills in communication is one of the most significant factors that will ensure success. It is a dynamic interactive flow of communication between teachers and learners.
A teacher should have a good command of the language that will fascinate the students to engage more in active participation during discussion. When they take part energetically, it drives the teacher to explore and execute different teaching strategies.
In my case as a Science teacher whose medium of instruction in my classes is English is not easy to make my students speak, but I persuade them to answer every question I ask.
As what I have learned, “the Socratic approach to questioning is based on the practice of disciplined, thoughtful dialogue. … By using Socratic Questioning, teachers promote independent thinking in their students and give them ownership of what they are learning (The Socratic Questioning Technique – Intel, www.intel.com/strategies).
I often ask my students to do the synthesis of the learnings they have acquired from every topic discussed. This is one way of evaluating not only the learning skills of my students but also to gauge if the strategy I use is effective.
Though teaching is really exhausting, it is heart-elating and stress-relieving every time I receive positive and smart responses from my students.
I know that Science time with them is spent usefully and productively because if they perform well both in oral performance and in written exams. These are the usual results I get from my STE students. There is no hard time in dealing with them for they are considered the cream of the crop.
But with other students who are in regular sections, sometimes I can’t help myself but get frustrated if no one from the class would dare to answer a simple question after explaining the lesson clearly and carefully. And how can I ask them to wrap up the lesson if they find it difficult to answer a simple question.
I could not just withstand nor shrug off my shoulders leaving my students without learning anything. I could not ignore without rooting out the cause of their inactive reactions.
Out of my disappointments, I thought of some helpful ways on how I could help my students get interested with the lessons and at the same time make them participate actively in discussion.
As an educator I must ensure that the contents of the lesson should be instilled to the minds of my learners.I am fully aware that there is no perfect teaching-learning
process. But I know that I must do something to make my students understand the lessons and make them interact. After all that is my role as a teacher.
I may not make all my students to actually understand what I say in front of them because every learner has a different learning capabilities. So I thought of employing interesting approaches that may help my students to focus and enjoy the learning activities.
First, I keenly observe how they behave during discussions. They maybe silent and appear like listening but once I ask, no one raises hand to answer. No matter how I encourage them to speak, they won’t.
I was deeply touched of my students’ reactions. Then this idea came to me just like a lightning struck my head.
It was an instinct to me as their teacher to see me as a mentor and friend and not as a terror and wild teacher. I have to assure them that they are important to me, that I acknowledge them one by one. I started building rapport through a sweet smile and beg them to speak.I told them that they should make me happy by answering my questions. I started to open my heart with them with sincerity. I believe that when learners truly feel that they are valued inside the classroom, they do not only behave properly but they will start to participate. There was this mother’s instinct with me how to make them smile and make them answer with simple Wh- questions during discussions.
Second, I never raised my voice on them, I just kept smiling and praising them, and in the middle of discussions I would walk towards them tapping their shoulders as if I was saying that Science is really a fascinating subject that they should learn and enjoy.
Third, I believe that the smile of the teacher has the power to make students feel that they are loved and respected. I should be very patient in explaining the lessons until they get interested and engaged, I wouldn’t let a day pass without making the students talk about what they learn from the topic.
And last, it is inevitable to encounter students who have family problems. And I believe that I must convey a message through actions that the classroom would be the best place for them to feel loved and valued and make them realize their worth. In that sense, they forget their burdens and feel that there is a home in their classroom.
I had this experience when one time I noticed that one of my students was always looking at the window. I talked to him in private. I asked him why he seemed not interested that day. I told him that I was willing to listen to anything he wanted to share, most especially the things that bothered him. And my student opened up.
Sometimes what our students need are listening ears and a heart that really understands what they are going through. It is indeed my responsibility as a teacher to teach the contents of every topic but I also have to perform my duties as a counsellor who is willing to help my students solve whatever dilemmas they suffer from, in order for them to focus in the learning process.
I have heard some teachers who complain about the attitudes of students. I know that if teachers would be given the chance to choose students they would choose students who are smart and who behave properly inside the classroom.
Sometimes teachers even give unpleasant labels to particular sections that they least desire to handle. Though it is just their outburst emotion to free themselves from burden, it doesn’t appear right.
I believe that teachers are the greatest factor why students do not focus on the lessons.If teachers discuss, unmindful of whether students are attentive or not, learning does not take place.
I wish teachers have willing ears that are ready to listen and should always make themselves available for the students who need extra care. Yes, there are many students to handle, but if the teacher is compassionate enough to extend a helping hand to the students, they would be encouraged to engage themselves in teaching learning process. When teachers show them that they are children to keep, perhaps they will surrender themselves in the learning process. Teaching would definitely become easy and fun-filled if they really feel that they are valued and respected.
Teachers should always give their best everyday. They excellently deliver lessons so students could easily grasp and comprehend. They make discussions easy to make the students enjoy learning.
Aside from those things, teachers should always bear in mind that they do not only teach. It is their responsibility to love them. Sometimes the most difficult students to handle are those who need love the most. Teachers should become more sensitive in what they are portraying inside the classroom.
Teachers should always involve students in discussion. It will happen if the teachers will connect themselves with the students and trying to understand them where they are coming from.
Communication is a two way process, it will be effective if the teacher and the learner really have connections to each other. So does in teaching. The students should always feel connected to the lesson to ensure that learning is really taking place.