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Tips for Teachers - For Helping Boys Learn
© 2004 by LERN.   By William A. Draves      www.lern.org   and www.NineShift.com

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Tips for Teachers

Generational Learning Styles
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  1. Posting homework on the web.
    By posting homework on the Internet, this saves teacher time and also puts more responsibility on students for knowing their homework assignments. It helps both students and teachers.  Students always know where to look for their assignments. The assignments are clearly stated.  And for teachers who teach the same subject again the following year, the assignments and even posting of them can remain on the Internet, thus saving teacher time.

  2. Have students critique and help each other.
    Sometimes students learn better from each other than the teacher (not always, or even in the majority, but with certain assignments).  By having students get in groups, they can help each other learn.  They can also critique each other. 
    This saves teacher time so the teacher can devote her/his time with individuals needing additional help. 


  3. Collaborative projects, even online.
    Collaborative projects, both in-person and using the Internet, enhance student learning.  Academic research reported by the BBC indicates that groups can solve problems better and faster than individuals.  Research also indicates that when students enter the workplace, they will work more in teams, including virtual teams. 
    Instead of some students doing less work, or even copying other students' work, the research indicates collaborative projects work well, especially when students get to evaluate each other's performance. 
    Collaborative projects save some teacher time, allowing teachers to focus on individual needs.

     
  4. Students help teachers with technology.
    Have students help teachers with some of the technical things about the Internet.  The students are more engaged in their learning, and their work will help everyone in the class.  It also obviously helps the teacher.
    This could be setting up a projector, finding references on the Web, or even creating an online quiz.


  5. Use WebQuests.
    WebQuests are a little like scavenger hunts on the Internet.  Students go to different web sites and find out information, then put that information together in a project. There are thousands of free WebQuests that teachers have built already, and other teachers can use them.

  6. Set aside time for students to work on their computers.
    Computers are critical work tools. Most students in the UK will find jobs that use computers. So having students use computers at school helps them learn, and helps them understand computers are for work as well as play.

  7. Email parents.
    Set up communication with parents through email.  This encourages parents to be more involved, and gives them more information about their children in school.

  8. Post grades online.
    Using web sites like mygrades.com, to post students' grades on the Internet so that parents can see how well their children are doing.  Students can also see what they have completed, and what work they have not completed yet.

  9. More small group discussions.
    With time saved from some of the other techniques, for the teacher to spend more time in small groups with students. This allows the teacher to do more individual help, and give each student more motivation and positive reinforcement to keep learning.

  10. Vary techniques, more activity.
    Every 20 minutes to switch slightly the teaching technique, so that students stay interested and focused.  Having more physical activity at different intervals will also rejuvenate the students' mental capacities and allow them to focus better.  The physical activity could simply be moving chairs into a circle for a small group discussion.

  11. Incorporate multimedia.
    Whether it is an online game, video, excerpt from a song, poster, DVD, today’s generation learns with sound and visuals.

  12. No warnings for fidgeting.
    Boys fidget, wrinkle paper, squirm, stare out the window because of having 15% less serotonin than girls.

  13. Focus on learning, not on behavior.
    Reduce punishments for behavior that do not impact other students.  Lateness, a minor dress code violation, ripping a paper, losing a worksheet, are a few examples of behavior that do not seriously impede the learning of others.  The more boys are punished, the less they learn.

  14. More praise.
    We all think we praise our students, but receivers of praise (including teachers!) all want more praise.  Praise works.  Do it as often as you can.

  15. No penalty for late homework.
    Do not penalize students for turning homework in late.  It is o.k. to give bonus points for turning homework in on time, but a student getting the work right should not be penalized for getting it in late.

  16. Encourage redone homework.
    Allow and encourage students to retake or redo their homework.  The objective is learning and getting it right.

  17. Consider ‘quiz outs’ of homework.
    If a student knows the material and demonstrates that, consider allowing the student to ‘quiz out’ of homework she or he already knows so the student can focus on learning material she or he does not yet know.  This reallocation of time is a win-win situation for all concerned.
    Don’t give up.
    Stay positive. Never give up on a boy.  Everything you do positive has a positive long term impact even if you cannot see it immediately.


  18. You’re a good kid.
    Anytime and every time you have a chance to tell a kid, especially at-risk boys, “you’re a good kid” do it
 

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