Tag Archives: time
Quote of the day… on the real benefits of time
The Power Of Our Siblings
There may be no other relationship that affects us more profoundly, and that is harder, sweeter, sadder, more filled with joy or fraught with woe than our relationship with our brothers and sisters.
Helpful Tips on How to Get to Know Your Students
Getting to know your students is one of the most effective ways to create a harmonious classroom environment. Teachers and teaching assistants alike know how different each child is from his or her peers. Similar to adults, they all have their own set of attitudes, beliefs, biases, likes, dislikes and coping mechanisms. Knowing all of these can be the difference in developing a fun, yet respectful atmosphere in the classroom. For instance, if you know that a particular student dislikes being praised publicly, you can give praise subtly either through writing a note in his book or speaking to him/ her one to one.
Getting to know students in an individual level can be challenging especially if you have a huge class. But, however large your class is, there is always a way to get to know them. You just have to be willing. Here are some ways that I have found useful over the years:
- Ask pupils about their weekends every Monday morning: Find 5 to 10 minutes on a Monday morning to ask what your students did on the weekend. This is a relatively simple task that can reap such huge rewards. They may tell you that they have watched a sports game or a movie, and who they watched it with. From this conversation, you would know what sport they love and which player/ team they follow. Such wealth of information can be used as ice-breakers when they become unresponsive in lessons. For example, if a child who supports Chelsea and love Fernando Torres struggles with addition, you can give hypothetical examples such as ‘Torres scored 1 goal against Arsenal and 2 against Liverpool. How many goals has he scored altogether in those two games?”
- Join in on their games in the playground: Being able to join in on the kids’ games in the playground can make them feel comfortable around you. By playing their games, you are showing that you are also capable of following their rules, as they follow yours in the class. It shows them that a person can both be respected and be fun to be with.
- Crack some jokes once in a while: Similar to the previous tip, this one shows that you can be fun. Most teachers fear that once they crack jokes, students will not take them seriously. But my experience suggest otherwise. Having shared a joke or two with my students (particularly when I worked with teenagers), I began to be accepted even more. One student commented that I became the person they approached the most because I can relate to them.
- Find out what music, TV programme, sports, etc. they like and familiarise yourself with them: As a person from a different generation, they may think we are out of touch with the current trend. Surprise your students by knowing more about their favourite artists, films, etc.
- Listen actively to your students: Use body language effectively. Allow your students to finish what they are saying and concentrate on their points of view. Make sure that you clarify anything that you do not understand.
- Use a ‘Free Expression Box’: There would be more than one student in any given class who prefer not to say anything due to anxiety. Make sure you have a box (call it whatever you like) in the classroom in which the students are allowed to put notes in. These notes may contain their thoughts about you, their peers, the school or their family. Be very clear about the rules for confidentiality and disclosure, though.
- Use these positive words and phrases:
- Ask them for feedback: Do not be afraid to ask them how they felt about your lesson or activity. Ask them what they enjoyed and what you could improve next time. One may fear that this gives complete control of your class to the students, but I disagree as this promotes harmonious and inclusive atmosphere in your classroom. It makes your students feel that you consider their thoughts and opinions.
- Use Golden Time and Free Play times to speak to your students: Spare 5 to 10 minutes of your marking/ planning time to speak to kids during relaxed/ unstructured times such as free play and golden time. Ask them about their day/week, how their pets are, or anything that they are interested in.
- Let your students know you: Communication and relationships are a two-way street. Let your students know a bit about you. Tell them what music/sports/TV programme, etc. you like. Just like you, they will find some similarities between you that would build a foundation to a stronger bond between you.
Getting off to a good start: Useful advice for teachers meeting students with ASD for the first time
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects people’s Social and Communication development. In addition people with ASD exhibit Restricted and Repetitive Interests and Behaviours. Since ASD affects 1 in 88 of individuals, there is a big chance that every teacher would have at least one student affected by the condition in his/ her career.
Although people’s awareness of ASD have increased over the years, and teach training nowadays provide an overview of what Autism is, and how it affects individuals, meeting a student with ASD for the first time can be a cause of anxiety to teachers (and the students, of course!).
(See also: Practical Tips To Make Your Classroom Autism-Friendly)
Here are a few strategies that I have learned over the course of my working years with ASD students:
Preparing the student before the first day:
There is a huge chance that you will know in advance that there will be a student (or students) with ASD who will be joining your class. Here’s what you could do:
- Gather as much background information as possible! Information about students should be available from medical professionals, previous schools and parents. Find out what triggers anxiety and problem behaviours.
- Questions you should ask: What does he like to talk about? What is he afraid of? Does he respond better to a man or a woman? How is his speech? Is there a colour, sound, smell he does not like?
- Take pictures of the school, dining hall, your classroom, yourself and if possible, the other students. Give these photos to his parents or his current teachers and ask them to let the child know that this is the environment that they will be in very soon. This helps prepare the child mentally and will reduce, if not eliminate, anxiety.
- Invite the parents and the child to the school ahead of transfer. If the children are moving up a year/ grade in the same school, invite them to your classroom. Have a one-to-one meeting with the child to allow them to familiarise with you and the classroom.
- Let the children know EXPLICITLY what is expected of them. Give a paper copy of your classroom rules to the children and display a copy of it on your classroom.
- If at all possible, provide the parents with the school year’s curriculum plan. This way, the parents would be able to tell their children what topic areas will be discussed at what week/ month.
- Create a picture schedule/ timetable to help establish a daily routine. Students with ASD prefer a predictable day-to-day routine. A change in any subject or teacher or activity must be relayed to the child.
- Prepare your classroom. Give the student his own desk and give him the freedom to decorate it to make him feel that he is in control of at least some aspect of his environment.
During the first meeting:
- Avoid drinking coffee and wearing perfume. It may sound ridiculous to some but there are students with ASD who are extremely sensitive to certain smells. Drinking coffee and wearing perfume are some of the things that you can control which may potentially lessen the child’s anxiety.
- If the child is capable of talking but is not responding to you initially, try to be in the same physical level. In other words, if he is sitting down, sit on a smaller chair, so that his eyes are parallel to yours. If he is playing on the floor, sit on the floor. Make him feel as comfortable as possible.
- Let him talk about Spiderman or Star Wars at the beginning, if he wants to. People with ASD who are verbal have the tendency to talk a lot about their interests passionately. You must let them do this, again to make them feel comfortable.
- 10 Second Rule- some people with ASD need more time to process information, especially during conversations. Wait for at least 10 seconds before repeating an unanswered question.
There you have it! Good luck!
More articles on Autism:
What Would You Do If You Witness An Autistic Person Being Insulted?
Never EVER say these things to people iwth Autism!
He flaps his hands and screams a lot but he doesn’t mean to annoy you
Optimum Outcomes for people with Autism
DSM 5 and its implications to ASD diagnosis
Diagnosing Autism: What you need to know
Vote for Miss Montana 2012, Alexis Wineman
Communication difficulties in Autism
Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster Boy?
Still unsure if Sheldon has Asperger’s?
The Autistic Me: BBC Documentary
Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds
Autism in the classroom:
Guide to parents of students with ASD on coping with the first day back to school
Common signs of Autism in the classroom
First day back to school: Top tips for parents of children with Autism
Practical tips to make your classroom Autism-Friendly
Inspiring People with Autism:
Jessica-Jane Applegate (British Paralympian)
Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator)
More on Savants:
Simon Baron-Cohen on Daniel Tammet
The Psychology of Savants: Memory Masters
The Einstein Effect: Is there a link between having Autism and being a genius?