/ September 12, 2023

CULTIVATING CLASSROOM SUCCESS

Five Ideas for the New School Year

Each September brings the promise of creating positive student relationships and the excitement of engaging students in meaningful learning. Teachers cultivate success in the classroom through intentional planning and reflection. Sustaining the positive momentum of the new school year requires a thoughtful plan. To ensure that the upcoming year is one of inspiration, personal growth, and academic achievement for your students, consider incorporating these five tips into your plan:

Reflect and change in the classroom: Remain open-minded to adapting your teaching strategies based on what your students say and do. It’s important to regularly reflect on how you teach and how lessons are being received by students. Adjusting and revising lessons based on student feedback and performance, can improve learning for both teachers and students.

Build Relationships: A positive teacher-student relationship can significantly impact student engagement and achievement (Hattie, 2009). Make strong connections with your students based on trust, respect, and empathy. It is important to get to know your students beyond the classroom. Showing that you value who they are fosters respectful relationships. Consistency with expectations, consequences, and daily interactions creates a safe space for students. Finally, using humor is a great way to break down barriers between you and your students, provided it is done in an appropriate and respectful way.

Prioritize your own professional development: Focus on your own growth as a teacher to give your students the best education possible. Engaging in professional development opportunities helps you stay current with best practices and improve your teaching skills. This can range from something as simple as reading a book to enrolling in a graduate-level class.

Use strategies that engage students: Incorporate interactive activities to keep students engaged by igniting their curiosity and encouraging participation. Integrating discussions, group work, and real-world applications of concepts into lessons can make learning relevant. Hands-on activities help students develop the essential skills of creativity, collaboration, communication, and self-direction (NH Work-study Practices). Lastly, consider ways to connect content knowledge and skills with career exploration. Students are more engaged when they recognize the connection between classroom work and their future goals and aspirations.

Celebrate success: Regularly celebrate students’ academic achievement and hard work. Recognizing achievements fosters a positive classroom environment, encourages students to reach for their goals, and to continually strive for excellence. How the message is conveyed has an impact on students’ mindset. Carol Dweck (2008) advises praising students for their effort, “you worked hard on that,” rather than ability, “you’re good at math,” to foster a growth mindset. Lastly, reach out to parents to celebrate the small victories their child has made, especially the students who need the most encouragement.

As former teachers, we know that dedication to learning and commitment to student growth are fundamental to teaching. And that teaching is both a challenging and rewarding career. Starting the year with a solid plan will help you stay focused on what matters most–your students. By focusing on these vital steps, you are setting up a solid foundation from which your students can share your love of learning and have a productive and successful academic year.

References:
Hattie, J.A.C. (2009). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.
Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House.

Bari Boisvert and Ann Hadwen

Categories: BEST (Building Essential Skills Today) For the Future Building Relationships Career Connected Learning Deeper Learning Competencies Student Agency Student-Centered Learning WSP (Work Study Practices)

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Each September brings the promise of creating positive student relationships and the excitement of engaging students in meaningful learning. Teachers cultivate success in the classroom through intentional planning and reflection. Sustaining the positive momentum of the new school year requires a thoughtful plan. To ensure that the upcoming year is one of inspiration, personal growth, and academic achievement for your students, consider incorporating these five tips into your plan: Reflect and change in the classroom: Remain open-minded to adapting your teaching strategies based on what your students say and do. It's important to regularly reflect on how you teach and how lessons are being received by students. Adjusting and revising lessons based on student feedback and performance, can improve learning for both teachers and students. Build Relationships: A positive teacher-student relationship can significantly impact student engagement and achievement (Hattie, 2009). Make strong connections with your students based on trust, respect, and empathy. It is important to get to know your students beyond the classroom. Showing that you value who they are fosters respectful relationships. Consistency with expectations, consequences, and daily interactions creates a safe space for students. Finally, using humor is a great way to break down barriers between you and your students, provided it is done in an appropriate and respectful way. Prioritize your own professional development: Focus on your own growth as a teacher to give your students the best education possible. Engaging in professional development opportunities helps you stay current with best practices and improve your teaching skills. This can range from something as simple as reading a book to enrolling in a graduate-level class. Use strategies that engage students: Incorporate interactive activities to keep students engaged by igniting their curiosity and encouraging participation. Integrating discussions, group work, and real-world applications of concepts into lessons can make learning relevant. Hands-on activities help students develop the essential skills of creativity, collaboration, communication, and self-direction (NH Work-study Practices). Lastly, consider ways to connect content knowledge and skills with career exploration. Students are more engaged when they recognize the connection between classroom work and their future goals and aspirations. Celebrate success: Regularly celebrate students’ academic achievement and hard work. Recognizing achievements fosters a positive classroom environment, encourages students to reach for their goals, and to continually strive for excellence. How the message is conveyed has an impact on students’ mindset. Carol Dweck (2008) advises praising students for their effort, “you worked hard on that,” rather than ability, “you’re good at math,” to foster a growth mindset. Lastly, reach out to parents to celebrate the small victories their child has made, especially the students who need the most encouragement. As former teachers, we know that dedication to learning and commitment to student growth are fundamental to teaching. And that teaching is both a challenging and rewarding career. Starting the year with a solid plan will help you stay focused on what matters most–your students. By focusing on these vital steps, you are setting up a solid foundation from which your students can share your love of learning and have a productive and successful academic year. Resources to Explore: Agile Classroom BEST Self-Direction Toolkit New Hampshire Learning Initiative Future Learning Pathways References: Hattie, J.A.C. (2009). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge. Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House.