Pupils’ opinions — do you value class collaboration and positivity?

20/07/18

As a forward-thinking educator, you already approach your class as a set of individuals with contrasting learning styles, educational needs, and unique preferences. But have you ever wondered if they think you’re doing the ‘right things’?

Do you enjoy taking a positive approach to learning, seeking to inspire your pupils with enthusiasm for your subject, and the wider world of learning? Are you giving each pupil the space and encouragement to learn at his or her own pace, without putting less motivated or able pupils ‘on the spot’ in front of their peers?

Then, according to a recent TES article, you’re doing things right; that’s exactly what today’s pupils want to see.

The importance of collaboration

Today, the days of long lecture-style lessons are drawing to a close. And for good reason; Generation Z learns differently to its older peers. Digital technology is neither distracting nor exciting for this generation, it is normal life.

Taking a collaborative learning approach — encouraging pupils to step away from their desks and interact in small groups on diverse topics on different platforms — is an increasingly popular teaching method. It addresses the needs of mixed-ability classes and promotes pupil engagement.

On top of this, digital natives respond best to visual learning. They learn most effectively through interactive education, collaborative projects and unique challenges rather than long auditory, explanatory lessons.

With interactive tools like your Promethean ActivPanel front-of-class display that acts like a hub of the classroom, creating this collaborative environment is seamless and straightforward.

Teacher positivity breeds pupil positivity

According to the same TES article, your pupils are incredibly sensitive to the attitude you walk into the classroom with.

“Whilst a joyful mood is contagious, so is a negative one. Students are truly like animals. They can sense what you’re feeling. You’ll find that how you present your attitude will be mirrored throughout your class.”
Pupil, South London comprehensive

Quick to dispel the miserable student myth, the same pupil explains that a teacher’s approach to learning is entirely infectious. The more positive and enthusiastic you are about your subject, the more you will engage your pupils in return. It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many wary teachers approach their class with hackles already raised.

“Rest assured that the number of ‘moody’ teenagers is severely outnumbered by the jovial bunch! If you realise this – and show that you do – not only will the atmosphere in the lesson change entirely, but soon enough it’ll become contagious. The classroom will become a plague of positivity, infecting anyone that steps foot in it.”
Pupil, South London comprehensive

Take Mr Hunt from Tottington Primary, for example. In his videos, he shows how a dose of enthusiasm in his lessons and an infectious passion for edtech can deliver incredible results for his pupils, the schools and his personal profile.

The engagement and motivation he breeds in his students through his viral videos is palpable.

“The classroom will become a plague of positivity, infecting anyone that steps foot in it.”
Pupil, South London comprehensive

Boosting confidence through anonymity

Lastly, pupils want to trust you not to humiliate them in front of their peers, according to TES.

For some teachers, it can be tempting to ‘call out’ a wandering mind or a distracted student. The benefits of providing a positive and safe environment in your digital-first classroom however, outweigh the opportunity to keep your pupils on edge all lesson.

“Don’t randomly pick on students – it will only make them less comfortable. Choose only the ones who are confident with answering and who have their hand up.”
Year 11 pupil

With your front-of-class display, like an ActivPanel, you’re able to turn the traditional feedback method on its head. When you provide digital channels for your pupils to respond to questions, anonymously or otherwise, you’re instantly boosting their confidence. Whilst it might come naturally to you to explore these digital channels and encourage interactive learning, it’s good to hear your students appreciate it, too.

So, what’s the bottom line? Continue working with your students individually, considering each pupil’s unique learning pace and respect the mutual importance of their peers’ opinions. As you know, the goal is to get the most from your pupils, not push them so far beyond their comfortable boundaries, they will never push themselves.

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A quick guide to encouraging teacher and student collaboration
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A quick guide to encouraging teacher and student collaboration

How can collaboration transform teaching, pupil attainment and whole-school performance? This guide explores the impact of collaborative working in schools and contains practical tips for effective collaboration – both inside and outside the classroom.

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