Imagine that you have several students in your class who are weak in science and math skills and are falling behind the rest of the students in their assignments. What strategies can you use to help these students succeed in your class?
Here are some simple ideas to try in your classroom.
Group work can help draw out quiet students who may feel shy speaking up in front of the whole class. Take a moment to list some pros and cons for engaging students in collaborative work, both from the teacher's point of view and the student's. How might you design group activities to capitalize on the pros and minimize the cons?
Pause and Check for Understanding
Give students a short pause after you've gone over an important concept in class. Ask them to check their notes with a neighbor to make sure they understand what is being explained.
Try a version of "think-pair-share," as seen on the Organizing Teams video. Pose an open-ended question and ask students to think about it on their own for a minute. Then have them share their ideas and opinions with a neighbor. After a few minutes, ask pairs to share their conclusions with the entire class.
To get the whole class to share their ideas, try a circle response activity. After you've introduced a topic, go around in a circle and ask each student to briefly talk about his or her thoughts, opinions, and/or questions.
Learn from Mistakes
Good teachers emphasize that mistakes are opportunities for learning. They also take cues from what happens when mistakes are made in the workplace: "What should be done so that this doesn't happen again?" "How can we do this better next time?" Continuous quality improvement is expected in many technical work settings, and plans are put in place after mistakes occur to check performance. Instructors can model this process by providing frequent feedback and helping students set goals for improved performance.
Ultimately, good teachers remember that the focus in the classroom is on helping all students to succeed.