Posted in Miscellaneous

Application: The 3 Ps From Their Classroom to Yours

You have learned many techniques and tips in your teaching courses. Now how do you apply them once you are out in the workforce or doing internships? As is often heard, “it is much easier said than done!” Here are a few ideas on how to apply these techniques from your teacher’s classroom to your own classroom:

1. Preparation

First of all, have a plan. Know what your objective is and the steps needed to teach it to your students. When you have taken the time to prepare, it is much more likely that your class will go smoothly. Have not only your plan but also an option B and C; be flexible and ready to change plans if needed. Remember who you are teaching and have goals not only for self-improvement, but also for what you want your students to accomplish. Many of my students in India have short attention spans.

Image

A dance activity that may take 15 minutes in the US takes only five in India before they need something new to do. Because of this, I must have multiple plans and ideas in my back pocket that are ready for use.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”  —Alexander Graham Bell

2. Practice

Once you have prepared, the next step is to practice! Practice with friends, family, anyone! Practice makes perfect. If you are having a hard time being self-confident, change your inner monologue. Tell yourself you can do it. It will be hard at first, but as you practice and apply your lessons, teaching will come more naturally. Attempt the techniques you have learned to see if they work for you. You will never know until you try! Though you may have loved the techniques you learned in the classroom, once you try them, they may not work for your style, students, or situation. Many of my methods, such as changing the volume of my voice, have not been as successful while teaching in India.  Continue reading “Application: The 3 Ps From Their Classroom to Yours”

Advertisements
Posted in Miscellaneous

It’s Just Normal

Because we all have different ideas of what “normal” is, it is nearly impossible to pin down a definition. Nothing and no one is “normal.”

What is normal to you may not be normal to others. I began thinking about if normal actually exists while teaching the school dance company here in India where I am working. During a lesson, I started to make a comparison of what your body should look like to a certain food in order to give the students a visual. However, right before I said it, my brain stopped me and I asked myself whether the students would connect to a vocabulary that may be culturally specific. Yes, they probably know what this food is, but I realized in that split second that it would not resonate with them. Instead, I changed it to the staple food of Southern India—rice. This visual worked for them and the concept “clicked.” It was a good reminder to me that what is commonplace for me and any American child is not so in another country. Many of the teaching methods I have learned in school simply don’t work as effectively here. I am still figuring out what works through trial and error. I often ask my friend, who is from India and is teaching with me, if the teaching methods or devices I have to teach a concept are something the students would understand.

As teachers, we want to be fair and nonjudgmental, but we can’t treat every student the same because they are all unique and have different needs. The most important element is to remember who your “audience” is and teach through words and concepts that resonate with them. Remember that what is “normal” to you may not be so ordinary to them.

So far, it has been both a difficult and a rewarding experience in India and I expect both of these feelings to continue while I’m here. I hope this experience will help me become adaptable and able to teach any group of students.

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Posted in Miscellaneous

What Was Your Name Again?

Name: a word or set of words by which a person or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.

Image

What’s in a name? Why is it the first thing we use when meeting someone new? Why are names so important to use when teaching?

During my BYU ArtsBridge internship experience, I learned the importance of using names while teaching. Everyone wants to be called by their name since it makes interactions much more personal. After struggling for a few weeks to learn the names of the students, I asked for a picture roll from Mrs. Washburn, the teacher who I worked with. I studied this roll over the next few weeks until I had all of the children’s names down in my head. When teaching these students, I would use specific names to point out those that deserved praise. I also used specific names of those I wanted to gain full attention from if they were struggling to listen. The focus and effort of the class was boosted greatly and I no longer had as many attention problems. My success in the classroom increased once the students felt like their teacher knew who they were.

Image

Just this week, I arrived in Southern India. I will be here for the next few months teaching life skills through dance to children. Many of these children have grown up living in leper colonies or underprivileged villages and have not been able to develop many vital life skills. In the short amount of time I’ve been here, I have already seen the power that names have. In India, naming children is very important. Names are based on family, region, caste (class system), religion, and other factors. In India, your name tells someone who you are, where you come from, what you believe, and where you belong in society. Continue reading “What Was Your Name Again?”

Posted in Miscellaneous

ArtsBridge: Bridging the Gap Between Core Curriculum and the Arts

I love all the dance moves you taught us and how almost all the lessons you taught was what we were learning in class. I think it helped me understand everything better.”

It was so awesome to learn the life cycle and heredity through dance.”

Things have made more sense to me after you have taught them.”

You helped me a lot on science. I have been getting better grades since we have been seeing you.”

These are just a few samples from the sweet notes I received from my students in BYU’s ArtsBridge program my last day of teaching. This last semester I had the opportunity to be a dance scholar in the BYU ArtsBridge program. As an art scholar, you work with a classroom teacher to assist in integrating arts in the classroom. After participating in an Arts Leadership Academy, a teacher chooses an art form they want to have more practical experience in, whether it be dance, music, drama, or visual art. Then, they are paired with a BYU student, or an Art Scholar, who has an interest in that particular art form. The student visits this teacher’s classroom at designated times to show them, as well as help them, teach their core curriculum through the art form to improve the students’ academic comprehension. A program of this sort has been implemented in over 30 universities throughout the United States!

Image

I was assigned to work with Mrs. Washburn and her 5th grade class at Alpine Elementary. I was so excited because this is one of my favorite elementary school ages! Looking back at my experience, I am amazed at how even though I was there to help Mrs. Washburn, I grew so much as a future teacher as well.

Image

During my teaching, I was lucky enough to get to use the gym in the school. This was both a blessing and a curse. It gave us lots of room to move, but also made the students think they could spend this time goofing off. Consequently, I became really focused on improving my management skills. I began walking around the students, specifically by those who were talking, rather than just standing or pacing in the front of the room. This improved focus because the students never knew where I was going to walk next, and continually having a new place to look increased attention span. I also learned to wait for their attention. I am not a huge fan of yelling, so one simple way I get attention is to silently wait. The students knew that this meant I wanted their attention and they were good about helping each other be quiet. To wait like this can sometimes be awkward, but is often a very useful tool. At other times, I would use the way Mrs. Washburn gets attention in the classroom since they were already familiar with the method. She yells “ocean!” and the students respond with a hand signal that look like waves while saying “shhh!”

One other management skill I worked on was to change the volume of my voice. It is easy to find a comfortable volume that you always use. It feels like the louder you get, the more the students can hear you and will listen. Often, the opposite is true. When you speak softly and quietly, the room quiets down because they want to hear what you have to say. Your words often become like a “secret” they want to hear. They have to really focus to know what the next directions are.

Image

These are just a few of the skills I got to improve with BYU’s ArtsBridge program! This opportunity opened my eyes to even more ways the art form of dance can be used! Having to come up with effective lesson plans in an efficient amount of time was really good for me, got me more excited for the future, and gave me confidence in my abilities. This experience gave me a glimpse of the future and a sliver of how tiring but rewarding teaching is! Whether you are a teacher looking for more creative ways to teach or a student with a passion for the arts, I highly recommend checking out the ArtsBridge program!

For more information or to get involved, visit http://education.byu.edu/arts/arts_bridge