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In a world where our younger generations seem most excited about the newest and coolest computer games and electronic toys they could get their hands on, it’s become increasingly hard to get children to focus on and develop an interest in learning. Innovation has never had a more important place in the classroom.
For teachers this means having to spend more time on activity preparation, and having to force themselves to be much more creative than in the past.
But how do you go about applying changes to your traditional teaching methods, and how do you even come up with new ideas?
Constantly coming up with new ideas for the classroom can be exhausting. With time it’s completely normal to stall and be unable to produce anything worthwhile. So an easy way of getting around this is to schedule an idea exchange.
This could take place both at a school level or regional level, and involve as many teachers as you wish from as many departments as you wish. Essentially, the more the better as you can not only pool together existing ideas, but also generate new ones together.
It could take the form of a one-day conference or seminar, in which teachers share their experiences, and explain how they implemented new methods in their teaching, as well as how the children responded.
Alternatively, it could just be an informal gathering at a cafe or pub after classes have finished for the day. A relaxed and jovial atmosphere is quite likely to be the best for a spot of creative brainstorming and idea sharing.
Educational School Trips
While the idea of learning outside the classroom through educational school trips has been around for a while, there are additional elements you can incorporate in the visit to make it more effective.
First of all, there is now a much vaster pool of opportunities to choose from when it comes to school trips. Museums are a classic example, but nowadays many enterprises will be more than willing to welcome a class and show them around to see how things are made. At your next parent teacher evening, ask the parents if their workplace might be willing to schedule a visit.
This gives kids an insight into how things work, and how companies are run. You could even enquire whether some employees might be willing to give a talk at some point during the day.
Instead of just going on the visit without doing anything other than listening to what the guide is saying, give the children additional assignments. Though it will involve lengthy preparations, a quiz or a Q&A-type challenge for the day will keep the kids occupied and, hopefully, focused. If this can be graded, this will add motivation.
Science experiments are an age-old way of adding a touch of fun to learning. Not all of these have to involve traditional lab equipment, however. They can be made even more fun by using household objects that you can ask the kids to bring along to class.
For example, did you know you can make a battery out of fruit? You will need a few of the more “hi tech” devices found in a school science lab, but the main “ingredients” are lemons, coins or nails, screws, wires and a small knife.
Other experiments could focus on producing power from running or cycling.
Kids will be so happy to take part in creating something with their bare hands.
The only limits are your creativity, and the ever present health and safety regulations.
Harvey McEwan writes to offer information and advice on a variety of areas, from science experiments to technology to holiday destinations. View Harvey’s other articles to find out more.
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