One of the biggest things I got out of Delta was a better understanding of the role the teacher plays in the classroom. It wasn’t just a topic we had an input session on – it was something which significantly changed through the course as my understanding of teaching changed.
The role the teacher plays in lessons can vary quite a lot. At times the teacher is the “knower” and other times the teacher is more of a “friend” or “colleague.”
For most of my pre-Delta teaching, my main role in the classroom was setting up activities, letting them run and then feeding back on them. In fact, if anything caused me to stray from that course, I would get quite irritated: I didn’t like it when a learner asked me during an activity if the answer is X or Y. I would always tell them to wait and just to try their best.
Now, post-Delta, the role of the teacher is quite different. The teacher is the “knower” – the specialist you have paid all that money for. The teacher “knows” what is right and wrong – they can also help you to understand why something is correct or incorrect, by “explaining” or “eliciting.”
Bearing this in mind, when I now set up activities, instead of just letting them run, I now monitor them very closely and make myself available to the learners. I walk around the room as they work on their exercises, and if they have a question I am at their disposal.
As I monitor, I pay particularly attention as to whether they have got something wrong, and if they have, I highlight it to them. I don’t usually give the correct answer straight away, but I do point and say “not quite” or “try again.” For the learners this means:
- They are getting my attention (which they have paid highly for)
- They are getting individualised attention within a group (which they didn’t expect but do appreciate)
- They are getting hot correction and instant feedback (which they want and need)
I think the biggest advantage of this approach is that it takes simple monitoring one step further, by getting the teacher involved in the ‘meat’ of the learning process.
It also gives the teacher the information they need to ascertain whether they need to quicken up or slow down the pace – as they walk round the room they can see how much of the activity the learners have done.
This also feeds into who you nominate for feedback: you don’t want to embarrass a learner by choosing them to answer a question they don’t know the answer to. So, as you walk around the room, make a mental note of who has which answers correctly.
You can also use this advanced style of monitoring to determine what you need to feedback on and what you don’t need to. As you walk around the classroom and you see the learners have questions 1, 4, 6, and 9 correct, then why bother feeding back on them? For those learners who don’t like ambiguity, you can even say “I can see everyone has 1, 4, 6 and 9 correct, so we won’t look at them.”
What about you? How do you do monitor and what do you use your monitoring for in the classroom? I would love to hear your responses as comments below.