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General Notes on Teaching


AHA has often dealt with classroom management by having a very close teacher/student ratio, ie: 4 students to 1 teacher. As we find ourselves teaching more classes, it has become harder for us to find 3 or 4 people to teach a class of 12 students. Furthermore, there is no grading, and little to no paperwork involved in the program we are primarily involved in (Bright Futures). Our goal is to provide an exciting after school program that reflects the educational level of the students in the class. The more we can relate our curriculum with those of Michigan Core Science & Math Standards, the better. However, if we can simply get students more excited ABOUT learning, we've done our job.

We are not so much teachers as we are passionate individuals interested in sharing our knowledge.

Designing Curriculum

Example Syllabus: Syllabus

  1. Time Estimates:
    1. 3 to 4 hours of prep p/hour of class: If it's material you know, but have not taught a class on it.
    2. 1 hour of prep p/hour of class: If it's material you have taught before.
    3. The above time does NOT include material prep.
  2. Know what they should know (K-12)!
    1. States have adopted some sort of standard educational expectations. We don't strive to know these in detail, but we try to apply some aspect of the Science and Math standards in our curriculum.
    2. Michigan: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-28753_33232---,00.html
    3. General: http://www.corestandards.org/
  3. General Comments
    1. Don't set yourself up to talk for more than five minutes straight.
      1. Unless you are an amazing orator, it's hard to maintain interest simply by talking at students
      2. Engage the kids, ask questions, move around
    2. Create an environment where asking questions and failing is encouraged, acceptable, etc.
    3. People lie!
      1. People will say they understand, when they don't. They will say they understand, when they do. They will say they don't understand, when they do.
      2. It takes more time, but ask how something works, or ask students to demonstrate.
    4. What age group (if specific) are you working with?
      1. Younger kids probably won't have the same vocabulary as you.
        1. Example: Everything from geometry terms, to theory, hypothesis, etc.
      2. Younger kids probably won't have the same hand/eye coordination as you.
        1. Example: Soldering before the age of 12 is doable, but we find it easier for them to do it in pairs. One person holds the solder, the other holds the iron.
      3. Younger kids probably won't have the same experience as you.
        1. Example: Teaching middle school kids how to program. A significant number of middle school students are not yet familiar with a PC Keyboard layout.
      4. You might find older individuals getting frustrated faster
  4. First day
    1. Introductions
    2. What will kids get out of course (if applicable)
    3. What will kids get out of this specific class

Classroom Management

  1. General information / good reads:
    1. https://www.msu.edu/~dunbarc/dunbar3.pdf
    2. www.msu.edu/user/swigerja/CEP%20883%20Paper.ppt

Getting their attention

  1. Don't talk louder than students unless absolutely necessary.
  2. If you need the students to listen to you and only you, wait until all students are done talking before you begin.
  3. K-8 will often respond to: Teacher raises hand, counts down loudly from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, gradually getting quieter with each count.
  4. Be patient