How to be the Best Teacher you Can Be


I’ve just finished the book Why don’t students like school recommended in the Guardian.


Here’s what I gleaned that we will be using at Dave and Amy English School, with my kids soccer training and in my quest to learn music and Japanese!



1. Change Pace to Keep Interest Up

"We all inevitably lose the attention of our students."   As this chapter described, it's likely to happen if they feel somewhat confused.   Students will mentally check out.    The good news is that it's relatively easy to get them back. 


Change grabs attention.   When there's a bang outside your classroom, every head turns to the windows.   When you change topics, start a new activity, or in some other way show that you are shifting gears, virtually every student's attention will come back to you, and you will have a new chance to engage them.    So plan shifts and monitor your class's attention to see whether you need to make them more often or less frequently."


2.   Be nice and organized.

What makes a teacher popular?   "An article showing that college students' attitudes toward professors are determined mostly by whether the professor is organized and seems nice." [It's so simple: we just need to be organized and nice!]


3. Best way to learn: Repeat

"There may be one, but if there is, neither science nor the collected wisdom of the world's cultures has revealed it.    As far as anyone knows, the only way to develop mental facility is to repeat the target process again and again and again." [ ie. erase, repeat]


4. Learn basics and higher skills

"Think of as many creative ways as you can to practice the really crucial skills, but remember that students can still get practice in the basics while they are working on more advanced skills"  [i.e. in future we’ll make more Dave and Amy Games  with a mix of easy and difficult.)


5. Don’t Praise a Students Smarts

 "for reasons I describe in the next chapter, it is never smart to tell a child that she's smart. Believe it or not, doing so makes her less smart. Really." [ say, good work or you’re a hard worker, rather than you are so smart]


6.  Good Teacher observations /reflection

"A final point.The purpose of watching your partner teach is to help her reflect on her practice, to think about her teaching.  You do that by describing what you see. Don't suggest what the teacher should do differently unless you are asked.   You don't want to come off as thinking you have the answers.   If your partner wants your ideas about how to address an issue, she'll ask you, in which case you should of course offer any ideas you have. But until you're asked, remain in the mode of a careful, supportive observer, and don't slip into the role of the expert fixer, regardless of how confident you are that you have a good solution."


 7.   Failure Is a Natural Part of Learning

If you want to increase your intelligence, you have to challenge yourself.   That means taking on tasks that are a bit beyond your reach, and that means you may very well fail, at least the first time around.    Fear of failure can therefore be a significant obstacle to tackling this sort of challenging work, but failure should not be a big deal.   ( please don’t copy in class or have  parents over help with homework)


8.  How to Help Slow Learners

The point of this chapter is to emphasize that slow learners are not dumb. They probably differ little from other students in terms of their potential. Intelligence can be changed.


This conclusion should not be taken to mean that these students can easily catch up. Slow students have the same potential as bright students, but they probably differ in what they know, in their motivation, in their persistence in the face of academic setbacks, and in their self-image as students. I fully believe that these students can catch up, but it must be acknowledged that they are far behind, and that catching up will take enormous effort. 


How can we help? To help slow learners catch up, we must first be sure they believe that they can improve, and next we must try to persuade them that it will be worth it.   [ never give up on a kid, every week keep helping afresh]

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Alan Miesch (Monday, 11 March 2019 18:35)

    "Failure Is a Natural Part of Learning"

    After my first summer of water skiing as a teen, I told my older brother, "I might not go skiing again next summer. It's gotten kind of boring. It's too easy now. I almost never fall down."

    He said, "Alan, you just go straight behind the boat. You're supposed to cut in and out of the wake as fast as you can."


    And then he spoke the words that I still remember now, fifty years later: "Alan," he said, "if you never fall down, you're not trying hard enough."

  • #2

    Amy (Monday, 11 March 2019 18:40)

    I like that. If you never fall down, you're not trying hard enough. I'll remember that also.