"I make it a habit to plan activities that require full involvement of all students."
Effective teachers make sure that all classroom activities engage all students. There are some students in every class who would love to answer every question and do every demonstration, and others who would be content to let them. Instead, teachers should set up all activities in such a way that all students must participate.
It's important to avoid ‘batting practice’, or a situation where one student works and others merely observe (observation can be valuable, as long as students know that they will need to account for their observations in some way). This can be challenging during whole-class teaching or presentations. Here are a just a few ideas for making sure everyone stays involved in the learning:
- Rather than just ‘follow along’ or watch others at work, students fill in a study guide or graphic organizer, or correct their own work.
- During presentations or speeches, students use a grading sheet or rubric to assess student presentations.
- During teacher presentations (which should be rare!) stop frequently and have students write three questions they have, briefly summarize the main point, or have them tell how they did the process differently.
- Stop and have students engage in ‘mini-discussions’ with a partner on a specific question. Have one partner report to the class.
For more on this very important habit, take a look at pages 19-25 in Four Foundations of Great Teaching