Catering to the Student

4 Tips to Build Student Confidence:

1. Say it Out Loud

When learning new concepts or reviewing previously taught lessons, it always helps for students to “talk it out.” Giving time in class for students to talk to their peers and teachers helps them absorb what they are learning and truly understand the concepts. “Through trial, error and immediate feedback, the student now feels more confident setting out on his or her own to tackle the topic.” Being able to talk through problems or struggles gives students the confidence that they can ask any questions and have the topic be fully clarified.

2. Brain Dump

After learning a new topic or studying a new lesson over a few weeks it is advised that students do a “brain dump.” This consists of students receiving a white piece of paper and writing everything that comes to mind on the specific topic. This illustrates to both the student themselves and the teacher that the topic has been learned. “For some students, holding the information inside their head can cause anxiety and confusion. Taking a deep breath, dumping the information on a blank page, and seeing what it looks like prepares the student for success on the assessment. This brain dump then serves as a study guide.” Instead of getting nervous for an exam and flipping through all of the questions immediately, performing a brain dump can help the student gain confidence and truly shows them that they are adequately prepared.

3. Not All in a Straight Line

The article makes a good point – “learning is not linear.” A concept that must be understood by teachers and students alike is that the first question may not always be the best place to start for some students. There is no need to panic if that first question does not seem to make sense or if they do not fully understand the concept. Sometimes you need to use context clues from other questions, therefore you do not always have to start at the first question.

4. Be Visual or Musical

Some students are incredibly creative and letting children channel this creativity into their schoolwork can really make the difference. Students can use graphic organizers, create drawing that represent a lesson, or even write a song to memorize new vocabulary words. When creativity is brought into the world of education the possibilities are endless.


Using Humor in the Classroom

As teachers and future teachers, we are always on the look out for fun new ways to engage students and keep them interested while both having fun and learning. It is known that “a positive climate for learning, and enjoyment, is correlated with retention of information and putting knowledge to work in everyday situations.” Humor in the classroom is known to reduce stress, improve retention of information, and promote creative understanding. “But most of all, it brings a sense of pleasure and appreciation and creates a common, positive emotional experience that the students share with each other and the teacher.” Humor creates a relationship between student and teacher – a well needed relationship that keeps both sides committed and engaged.

The article included a few humor strategies that I thought were fun and helpful.

  • Laugh at yourself — when you do something silly or wrong, mention it and laugh at it
  • Add humorous items to tests, homework or class assignments — even at the University, one of my favorite options when I give multiple choice exams requiring students to identify pairs of psychologists is Calamari and Endive. It always gets smiles, and helps to break exam tension
  • Ask students to try to build humor into occasional writing assignments — that will start a conversation about what it funny, how they know something is funny, why different people find some things funny but some things are funny to almost everyone


How a Common #HASHTAG System Could Change Education for Students

As we do in this class, #Sped312, many classrooms out there today are implementing hashtags into their lessons. #Hashtags are an easy way to keep information all together in one place from many different people and sources. Students in a class may all tweet about the biggest news story in their town from that week and at the end they all include a hashtag that keeps the information into a compiled list. Hashtags are a great way for students to see what their peers are working on or to find news in the community. It is a great way to find exactly what you are looking for at any given time!


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