There’s too much teacher talk in my classroom! I’m feeling frustrated at how much time I spend talking during any given lesson, especially since the talking doesn’t seem to add to the students’ learning at all. I see the glazed looks and distracted chatting and I know I’ve lost them. Sigh.
I know that I’ve mused on this before and I knew it wouldn’t go away completely, but I just reached a point after my lessons yesterday seeing how ineffective it was. But what can I do instead? I already incorporate a lot of student-centred activities and I’ve deliberately structured my room to foster more collaboration, rather than purely facing the front bench. But how do you get students to get information at times when there’s just stuff they need to write down and hear?
Copying some notes off the board and then elaborating on them verbally seems to serve a role here, and I’m proud to say that I’ve done less and less of it this year than in the past. But the glazed looks aren’t exactly comforting or reassuring. What can I do instead?
I’ve been really convicted lately about the quality of my teaching practice, namely my teaching style in the classroom and tendency towards lecturing. I’ve been increasingly bothered by the way that I fall back on “teacher-talk-students-listen”, far too regularly for my liking.
I know it’s not effective for learning. I really benefit from teachers like Frank Noschese taking the time to show why it doesn’t work. But at the same time, in that moment before class starts, or during the lesson when I’m not sure where I’m going, I don’t know what else to do. I feel pretty average every time when I just start talking and the students’ eyes glaze over. Heavens – I had two students pretty much fall asleep in my Chemistry class this afternoon! (Granted, it was last period of the day, but it’s not exactly a confidence booster.)
But I still feel so new, so raw, so naive and it feels like I should know better. I know not every lesson is going to be a winner, but it feels like all I do is talk and talk and talk and bore these kids to frustration.
I don’t want to stifle their curiosity and love for science. I don’t want to create in their minds the impression that science is all about the facts they have to memorise and regurgitate on cue. I want to lead with pracs and activities that stretch them and develop skills in problem solving and inquiry. I want them to be engaged and excited and enthused. I had great ambitions to be a teacher who didn’t fall into that trap.
But right now I just feel like I’m falling well short of my own mark.