Develop your classroom skills with this in-depth course. Learn about effective communication, active listening, motivation, and how to help learners establish goals and work independently.
Goals give us direction, and help us focus our thoughts and energies where they are most likely to achieve results. They are not the same as dreams, but may and should reflect our dreams, putting them into practical form. Good goals are realistic, achievable, and valued by the person. Even though the purpose of goals is to move a student beyond his or her present level of knowledge or skills, the establishment of goals and priorities must take into consideration the student’s needs, limitations and existing situation. It is not good, for instance, to set the goal of a very high grade for students who started far behind other students. Instead, you might encourage the student to set the goal of completing certain work and learning certain things that will allow the student to see their own progress.
While teachers must work towards their own teaching goals (which in many education systems, are set by others), there is always room to accommodate students’ learning goals. It is very useful to spend the first or second session in forming student learning contracts. These can be varied as much as is permissible within the set curriculum to meet students’ individual goals, but should also include the essential curriculum goals. A contract might allow the student to achieve certain goals within a set time they agree to, as well. So while the contract of every student in the class might have some common features, such as required learning outcomes for a semester or a program of study, each might be different, allowing students to study at their own pace and to take more responsibility for achieving their goals.
2. Body Language - ability to read what a person is saying purely by observation, reading their actions, gestures, movement and stance as a guide as hidden gestures to what they are feeling about a subject on which they are communicating.
3. Written Communication - Written communication is similar to verbal; except that the delivery and response may not be as immediate; and as such, it is possible for the communicator to take more time to refine what they are trying to communicate. We also tend to write in a different way to the way we speak. If you read textbooks or formal educational books, then the writing tends to have quite a formal style. If you read dialogue or more modern books, they may write in the way that we tend to speak, so there is variation in how we communicate in written form.
4. Problem Solving – Problem solving means using our skills, knowledge and facts to resolve a problem. We start learning to problem solve when we are young, through play. Consider a child who eats sand in a sand pit –they quickly learn that sand is an inappropriate food. As we grow older, we hopefully continue to learn problem solving skills. An example most of us will have experienced is learning to ride a bike. When we start, we may have stabilisers on our bike so that we can keep our balance. But when we get older, the stabilisers are removed; we need to learn how to keep our balance. We learn how to start off on the bike, how to keep going and stay upright. This is learning a new skill, but problem solving learning may involve finding out what the problem is and then how we can resolve it.
A simple problem solving task we all often do is putting something into something else. Books into a school bag, photos into a photo album, shopping into a carrier bag and so on. If you pack your school bag in the wrong way, it can be bulky, our books may not fit, so eventually, we (hopefully) learn how to pack it correctly. We learn that we do not put our carton of juice at the bottom under our heavy books, as it may burst all over our books. We learn to put things more tidily to ensure we can fit everything in the bag. We learn also that if we put too much in a bag, the bag may break or tear. This is just a simple example of the type of problem solving that we do ALL the time without even really thinking about it. We do that to live our daily life, but also to learn and educate ourselves. We will develop problem solving skills when we do mathematics at school, or science, or learning how to critique a book and so on.
Some people can develop a habit of depending on others to solve their problems for them. For example, if a parent constantly tells their child what to do, they may never learn themselves. An extreme example, but if a parent constantly tells a child not to touch hot water, the child may not truly understand why and could end up badly burned, but if a child touches hot water briefly and realises how hot and painful it is, they learn more quickly not to touch hot water. We are not suggesting pain is the way to learning, but learning through our own experience is more effective learning that being “told” something all the time. With the example above, being told not to eat sand does not really tell the child why. When the child does eat the sand, they realise it tastes horrible and will not do it again. So experience can be a very effective method of learning.
If a child does not learn through experience, learning how to do their own maths problems, tie their own shoe laces, learn how to pack their own bag, and so on, they may not learn the necessary problem solving skills that will benefit them later in life. We may deal with very complex and serious problems during our lives and the problems solving skills we learn in smaller problems can be helpful as a way to develop our problem solving skills in larger tasks.
5. Motor Skills – ability to use hands, legs, eyes & the body overall, more effectively; so as to be more physically capable to adapt to challenges in the future.
6. Mathematics – mathematics can seem very abstract at school, but mathematical skills can be essential to enable us to leave an independent life. When we shop, we know how to count out the correct money, check our change, follow a recipe to make a cake, ensuring we have the correct ingredients and amounts, measuring out medicine when a child is ill, working out how much each litre of petrol costs and so on. Some people will use more complex mathematical skills, such as accountants, engineers, mathematicians, scientists and statisticians etc.
7. Computer Skills – in the modern world, many of us use computers in our day to day lives. This may be as part of our work, typing, adding up, and looking at barcodes on products and so on. We may use mobile phones, smaller technological advices. People will have differing levels of skills in terms of how to use their computers depending on what they are required to do as part of their work and daily life.
8. Efficiency – Good learning can help us to work and learn efficiently. Spending five hours on a task that may only take one hour is not very efficient. So we have to learn to work in an efficient way. People will do this in different ways. Some of us may prepare a list and work through the list until we have done everything. Others may prepare a list and prioritize the tasks, working through them in order. Other people may work in a more apparently chaotic fashion until their tasks are done. Good planning can help us to be more efficient in our work, ensuring that we are clear what we have to do and when.
9. Working to Specification – Working to a specification can also be an effective way of learning. Following a diagram to make a set of cupboards or create a computer programme or prepare a report for work. All can help us to follow set guidelines and patterns to enable us to complete a task.
10. Networking – networking is another way in which we can learn effectively from others. Networking often involves meeting up with others face to face or online. Examples may be networks of business; for example, businesses in Town B may meet regularly to network and discuss issues affecting their business. Accountants in a particular state or county may meet regularly to update their knowledge on accounts and network. Networking can be an effective way to find new business associates, create new working relationships, but it can also be an effective way to learn new things. A work associate may know something you do not, so increasing your knowledge.
11. Marketing – marketing is another thing that is useful to learn. By marketing, we can mean advertising a product, ourselves, but marketing can be particularly useful if you are trying to sell something.
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