In today’s largely digital society, keeping up with the attention span of a classroom full of youngsters can be very difficult for a teacher, especially as the resources available are rarely as exciting as the computers, video games and television channels that the children enjoy at home. However, making the classroom an exciting environment to learn in needn’t be too limited by technology, as most classrooms have at least one PC, and with a little bit of creativity, children will soon start to get involved.
Perhaps the most fundamental objective to keep in mind when trying to make learning more exciting is momentum. It’s not easy to do but if you can keep up a solid momentum of projects, topics and discussions, then your class generally won’t have the opportunity to get bored. However, having some hands-on projects that any child would be excited about getting their teeth into helps too.
If your classroom does have a PC, start using it to your advantage. Something as simple as Google Earth can open up a lot of educational opportunities, even if you’re a fan of sticking to the traditional curriculum. Treat the website like an interactive globe and younger pupils can map where they’ve been on their summer holidays, or look for deserts or rainforests. For slightly older children Google Earth can be used for following the paths of great explorers, getting to know landmarks or even planning out how a major city could be improved or made more environmentally friendly.
Practical science experiments are always fascinating to young children, and they of course teach how fundamental day-to-day things work. Traditional projects like making a foaming volcano using baking soda and vinegar, or demonstrating basic physics by building bridges out of paper straws are still great fun today. You can take projects like this further and make them more relevant to today’s society by adding an environmental or economic element, so maybe your class could design the perfect green home or self-sustaining village?
There is nothing a classroom likes more than visitors, so use this to your advantage. Whatever your classroom topic, always try to find a relevant guest speaker to come in and discuss the topic with your class. Not only is this great fun for everyone, and far more useful than just reading the information from a book, but your
Finally though, for all of these ideas to work, teachers have to remember some simple rules themselves. Always keep enthusiastic about whatever you are teaching. If you are not, then you can’t expect your class to be. If you can avoid it, try not to jump from subject to subject, and instead break the day up into more manageable and lengthy ‘project zones’, so your children can really get involved in a subject before moving on to another. Always try to minimise your role as a teacher, use any interactive whiteboard resources you have and keep things fun and moving.