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Problem with engaging the students and delivery

Discussion in 'Science' started by dkarana, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. dkarana

    dkarana New commenter

    Hi there,
    I am a PGCE student and I have major problem.I am not the kind of person who will jump around and create drama in the class.Although students are involved and focussed but I find it hard to create immediate excitement in my lessons.I do alot of activities and experiments and I am told my planning is excellent but have to work on my delivery.My teaching is perfect for A level students but I feel they also need excitement not only interest in the lesson.Can any one tell me a kind of format to follow so that its easier for me work on it.
    Look forward to responses from all of you wonderful people

  2. you're posting on science but you don't say what discipline. Doesn't matter. What do you want to achieve with your students? I'd say that excellent teaching leaves your students intellectually independent. Why not arrange "show and tell".. I'd take a conker into my lesson and just put it on my desk: ask students to comment about it in any way they like.. just use your brains in other words. Finally we'd get on to the fact that if you put this into the ground it would "know" how to grow into a tree that can make other conkers. That was usually enough for anyone to contemplate... and then we'd get on with the lesson, all equally inspired and in awe of Nature.
  3. dkarana

    dkarana New commenter

    Thanks Alderbaran,
    It was really helpful
    I am dealing with secondary Physics.
  4. Good. There is a world of difference between teaching and training, which is what befalls rose bushes. Einstein said something along the lines that education is what you're left with once all the lessons have been forgotten. Being able to use your brain is a successful outcome of a lesson. Period.
  5. ...and don't worry: having "presence" will come with age and experience! When I started teaching [more years ago than I care to think about] I had a script and I didn't really know what was going on, apart from the fact that I wanted to "teach"... only after many years did the confidence come to bring in the conker... and spend a whole lesson on it knowing that until you can talk to students you can't teach them
  6. When you say that you lack 'presence' what do you mean? If your class are interested focused and engaged in your lessons then you have prescence enough! If you are worried about them being interested then start the lesson with a 'hook' e.g. a clip from the BBC (their archives cover loads!). This gives you LOADS to discuss.
  7. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    Absolutely agree (well maybe not a whole lesson!) with experience you will relax and not be afraid to depart from the script a bit and teach off-piste occasionally. As long as you are confident of your aims for the lesson.
    Presumably something about science engaged/enthused/excited you to make you want to become a science teacher. Think back before the ineffable dryness of teacher training to remember what it was - and pass it on. Pupils love personal recollections and stories about the topic - "When I did this at school I had a bonkers Physics teacher who...."
    Sometimes if you're lucky there's a relevant current news story - another good starter.
  8. Music's good too - can you find a song with a link to a topic....
    Chain reaction for polymers; Monty Python's Galaxy Song - for space (there are some great ppts
    or videos to accompany this); Force behind the power (Diana Ross); Are friends electric (gary Numan); Atomic - Blondie etc....
    Play the track as pupils come in - and either ask them what they think the connection could be or what the lesson's about - or tell them that you will expect them to make the link by the end of the lesson....

  9. dkarana

    dkarana New commenter

    Thank you all for your great suggestions and encouraging words.
    Noting down!
    Will get back after having used them!
  10. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    hHave to agree about the music stuff. also vid clips. Youtube has some great science stuff that I use. eg the DNA one to the tune of YMCA. Look at 'Chemical Party' great for yr 11 groups. Da Rock Cycle. I also use 'Chemistry' by Semisonic.

    Making lessons a bit risque can work if you can carry it off deadpan. The occassional rude word (or just a word that is a homophone of a rude word can sometimes just perk their ears up. This week with yr 9 I was covering the conditions plants need to grow and there was a great story on the BBC news about a cannabis factory. The film included scenes from inside the factory with big lamps, fans, bags of fertiliser, hosepipes. All relevent to the topic. I now have to work out how to rip that from the BBC for next year.

    Google 'science songs' for some great (and not so great but better) songs about science. Inflict some of these on your classes.
  11. I play lots of music in science lessons. I sometimes get my pupils to spend 30s/1min doing exercises at their desk to the tunes. I've played Atomic, Under Pressure, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds in the last week to various classes. I've also comedy sung "Let's Get Physical" during a lesson on weathering. Obviously I didn't go into the details of the song's meaning....
    Video clip hooks are great too. I recently taught an entire lesson on red shift focused entirely around a sequence of videos to explain the idea to pupils. I only talked to them inbetween videos.
    One of my lowest sets has just made a class display as part of a lesson. We now use it to teach through the sequence. Ours was about finding evidence of human life over the last 90,000 years but in physics you could try a class solar system display; an electromagnetic spectrum display. There's a lot of really good physics activity circuses you could do - energy transfers; moments and pressure; light; sound.
    You have to trust your classes to allow them to get up, move around the room etc. Get them where you want them in terms of behaviour - knowing the limits, the class rules etc. - and encourage them to independent learning. Not just answering questions but letting them loose with a tray of sand and a variety of items to investigate pressure (for example). No theory beforehand - just 15mins free time for them to explore.
    Sorry if I've repeated other advice or am telling you things you already know! :)
  12. dkarana

    dkarana New commenter

    Thank you all for the great ideas,
    You all seem to be excellent teachers.I have a long way to go.
    And Physallis,your advice is not the repetition at all.
    Thanks for your time,it is really helpful!

  13. Gauge the response of your class before you rely too much on music, especially for a higher set - my teenage children who are really into science think that playing 'Atomic' as you go into a physics lesson is 'pathetic'. They feel patronised, though I think if music is used sparingly with humour, that is ok.
    I found that being constantly observed during my PGCE really cramped my style and made me nervous. Once I had my own classes, I quickly became more confident and spent more time chatting with classes and answering their questions (lots of stretch and challenge), which provided variety for them.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Ability and music go hand in habd.

    JLS for lower sets, Metallica, Black Sabbath and Nickelback for top sets. (I work in a girls school). However 50s and 60s rock and roll goes down well with all as Glee is very popular and they know all the songs from this and also from all the ads on TV.
  15. shughesbio88

    shughesbio88 New commenter

    Have you seen symphony of science?

    Scientists put through auto-tune to make scientific points into music? I love it, I use the unbroken thread when doing evolution but there are loads of physics one (introduce Dawkins with caution if you are in a faith school as he crops up in a couple of the videos!)

    For younger pupils they might be giants have a great album (science is real or something) which has some good physics points.

    Weird little demos are always good for hooks, air pucs for newtons laws, or the floating magnets for magnetism. Try hawkins bizzarre joke shop they do lots of cheap little toys that have some cool science behind them.

    I think I've found that my students respond best when you get really excited about something, or they ask you a question and you explain it in a bit more detail. I like interesting facts about science so I tell some of these during lessons, (e.g. Flemming called penicillin "mold juice" for a good few month before settling on penicilin - lesson about antibiotics to KS5). Or my truely terrible science jokes (What's the only animal that dissolves in water?.... a POLAR bear) if they are getting a bit sleepy


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