How can I make my teaching style more student-directed and what is the best way to motivate the kids, particularly, seniors?
I teach physics in an inter-city school, mostly seniors, and I was wondering if you may have any suggestions:
1. How can I make my style more student-centered rather than teacher-directed? Specific examples?
2. How can I motivate my students in an inter-city setting? Any specific examples?
I have 29 years in the NYC Dept. of Education and am a science educator. As for motivating students, you have to try to do experiments in science so that the learning is meaningful. Hands on activities are always the most memorable. Even in a city, I have taken my kids outside to go bird-watching, look at ecological succession, weathering and erosion. Give the students workshop projects to collaborate on, in a team. If you have a school library and computers, give the students clear guidelines and a rubric on how you are going to grade them, and let them research, write up and present their topics to their classmates. Stress that the environment is friendly during presentations, and that this is excellent practice for college or a career. Have students practice their public speaking skills. It is a confidence booster. Try to learn what resources are available in your city, whether it be a successful person in the field who wants to give back by presenting to your class, museums, science facilities and local colleges, all are available to be taken advantage of by your students. Let students use technology to learn by creating their own powerpoints, brochures, digital photography, etc. There is no limit to what you can do. Try to relate physics to their everyday life. Students are interested in race cars and sports and these things can be related to physics easily. These are just a few suggestions. Good luck.
1. Make the students choose a topic and do a project on it, then have them present it to the class. (ex: powerpoint presentations, posters, videos, etc.)
You can also have them work in groups, then have each group present what they have learned to the class.
2. Reward the students. The person or group with the best presentation (or even test score) should get a candybar or have a pizza party. Throw around a few extra credit points!
Another motivation could be: tell the students that the class with the highest test scores will get an ice cream party, a root beer float party, or pizza party.