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Originally Posted On: 7 Ways Educators Can Make Classrooms More Innovative – The Visual Communication Guy
The biggest challenge most educators face in the classroom is capturing and maintaining their learners’ attention. Even before the COVID pandemic intensified digitization in the education sector, 95% of US teachers already used innovative technology in the classroom. It was and still is an effective teaching method that enhances the understanding of lessons taught. However, there are several other ways to be innovative in the class setting, and that’s what you are about to find out.
1. Create flexible learning environments
Flexible learning environments focus more on the efficient utilization of the physical space learners find themselves in. It’s also about the groupings of students during teaching to enhance collaboration. As an educator, you already know the significance of time-keeping in the teaching space. Therefore, whatever you do with your flexible learning environment should correspond with the time you have with your learners.
A cluttered classroom space takes away the convenience of learning. Moreover, some students tend to be easily distracted, and the last thing you want is to lose their attention. According to a 2019 report from the education sector, overcrowding is an issue in many US classrooms. The report stated that most exceed thirty students, making it quite cumbersome for the teacher to monitor each student’s level of understanding. Additionally, overcrowded classrooms intensify communication gaps and take away from support learning.
2. Using a learner-oriented approach
In every teaching and learning environment, the main subjects are the teacher and the students. However, using the student-centered approach places the central focus on the learner. Moreover, this style makes effective use of individual student qualities and learning styles. Adapting to this approach requires that the teacher in question learns the skill needed for a learner-oriented method. Usually, this teaching style works best in small class sizes where the educator fully understands everybody’s strengths and weaknesses.
In the unfortunate situation where the class size is more than it should be, you can still do something. According to experienced educators, an effective strategy is to group students into pairs or trios according to qualities based on academics, emotional and mental characteristics. They believe that the peer factor can have a significant and favorable influence on their performance. As a tip, avoid acting too much as a leader. Instead, your role portrayal should be like a study partner or advisor.
3. Make maximum use of audio and video tools
Sometimes, using paper-based educational materials can get boring and monotonous. This is where audio and video tools come of immense use. Aside from the pleasant change they present, audio and video tools tend to change the face of teaching and learning. Moreover, because virtual reality and augmented reality make enormous audio-visual use, you cannot go wrong with the educational progress they bring. Also described as immersive learning, they increase student engagement and help learners assimilate lessons better. Students will need items like school headphones, tablets, laptops, and other relevant accessories to become active participants in the learning environment.
4. Storytelling techniques
The reason you can recollect stories you heard previously usually is due to the way they were narrated. In the educational setting, storytelling teaching techniques build information around a specific structure. More importantly, this technique utilizes a character that students can associate with. This is particularly helpful with a younger learning group because they tend to be highly imaginative. Perhaps what you did not know about the storytelling technique are its four functions. These are educating, developing cognitive thinking, mentoring, and motivating. How you choose to weave storytelling techniques into the curriculum depends entirely on you as the teacher.
5. Place great emphasis on research and projects
The school environment should promote independent thinking and problem-solving skills. These and more can be achieved through consistent group research and project work. Moreover, group research builds communication skills, fosters teamwork, and enhances cognitive thinking. It ignites an interest in learners to investigate situations to form logical conclusions from their findings.
Additionally, research and project work build an ability to network and develop strong interviewing skills. Indeed, these are professional qualities your learners will need later in their adult years. What better time to harness these skills than now? Moreover, as an educator, you will be pleased knowing that you played a significant role in their lives.
6. Be receptive to new ideas.
As an educator, the temptation to take on the stance of an uncompromising leader can be alluring. This usually happens when you believe your learners have everything to study from you alone. Unfortunately, that is the wrong thing to do. The world has changed, and a school environment is no longer where the teacher is viewed as the sole reservoir of knowledge. Instead, it helps to have an open-minded attitude as you handle learners. Being open-minded means, you are receptive to change and will welcome innovative teaching methods. Again, you should consider broadening your horizon by learning from colleague teachers in the same school or other with this character trait. That is an excellent way to think of innovative teaching methods you may not have considered at all.
Furthermore, resisting change may not be helpful to your chosen career as an educator. Even worse, your students will pull away from you emotionally and mentally, which is not an ideal situation for them (or for you). The worst thing that can happen to you is to lose your learners’ trust, attention, and, most importantly, the connection you used to have with them.
7. Design engaging lesson plans
Every educator is responsible for planning lessons, but the difference between you and others should be your dedication levels. Take the extra time to design appealing lesson plans that will appeal to the age group of your learners. Your perspectives in approaching new topics should differ from the previous style you used. This creates originality and a sense of freshness that your students will be thankful for. This is also one of many ways your learners will find you endearing.
Your classroom can be as innovative as you make it. Learners, regardless of their age, respond well to interactive study sessions mixed with lots of innovation. Hopefully, you can take full control of your classroom and make it different from all others.