Get Better Faster

Decorative: A to-do list on which is written one item: Be Better


A. "What You Practice Is What You Value" (post; doc) offers 14 specific practices to help instructors "get better faster" in their teaching practice.

  • In a chart, it presents teaching practices/activities that constitute "a menu of skills teachers of all skill levels can hone."

B. Sample Action Steps to "Get Better Faster"

1. "Strong Voice"

  • "Square Up, Stand Still": "Draw students' attention by standing up straight, keeping feet planted on the ground, and facing the class."
  • "Formal Register": "Project your voice and strike a formal tone when delivering instructions."

2. "Teacher Radar"

  • "Scan Hot Spots": "Scan parts of the room where students are often off-task."
  • "Be Seen Looking": "Crane your neck to appear to see all parts of the room."

3. "Independent Practice"

  • "Write First, Talk Second": "Give students opportunities to respond to a prompt in writing before beginning class discussion."
  • "Do Now": "Begin class with an independent writing task."

4. Aggressively Monitor Student Work

  • "Monitoring Pathway": "Set up a monitoring pathway that maximizes the number of students you can reach during independent work time."
  • "Monitor the Quality of Student Work": "Look for patterns in student responses, not simply for whether students are on task."

5. Engage All Students

  • "Turn & Talk": "Have students turn and talk to one another in pairs at key moments during class."
  • Search "active-learning" and "active learning" on the Teaching Commons website for more engagement strategies. 
  • TeachLikeThis also briefly explains a variety of quick engagement engagement activities. 

6. Narrate the Positive

  • "Narrate What Students Do Well": "Narrate what students are doing well to encourage replication of that behavior."
  • "Look at Off-Task Student While Narrating the Positive": "Narrate what students are doing well while looking at off-task students to positively redirect those students."
  • "Reinforce Students' Intellectual Progress": "Use language that praises students' efforts, not just their results."

7. Check for Whole-Group Understanding

  • "Poll the Room": "Gauge student comprehension by polling the room. ('Thumbs up if you agree with Jasmyn's answer, thumbs down if you disagree!')"
  • "Target the Error": "Tailor instruction to focus on the pattern of error in the class."
Printer Friendly, PDF & Email