Saturday, July 5, 2014

Four Rules of Teaching according to Mrs. Wargo

Happy Summer!

I have been wanting to share this but have not had the time.  I'm helping a bit with summer school, taking our boys on day trips, and keeping our home straight and tidy (one of my favorite things to do over the summer- really, no joke!).

Mrs. Wargo is our boy's taekwondo instructor.  Not only does she have 20+ years of taekwondo teaching experience, she also taught public school for many more years.  She is one smart lady and I really respect her and information she has to offer.  Our boys are JTIs or Junior Training Instructors.  They help her and other instructors in different classes, they perform demos in public, and attend a special JTI class once a week.  In this class they usually have some kind of life skill lesson.  A few weeks ago she discussed the 4 Rules of Teaching.  She spent the entire class on this and it was great for me, a teacher, to hear these reminders.

Her four rules of teaching are 1. Explanation, 2. Demonstration, 3. Correction, and 4. Repetition

Explanation involves explaining what you are going to teach.  What is your mission or goal for today's class?  How can you convey this information to your class?  I personally have a daily agenda written on my whiteboard.  Under the agenda I number the action items that I intend to cover.  Additionally, as I teach in Virginia, I put the day's SOL information.  This, too, is part of the explanation.

Demonstration is her next step.  Now, she is teaching a very physical subject.  I, on the other hand, am teaching World History.  Her demonstration is a bit easier to see.  What can I use to demonstrate the knowledge that I want my students to acquire?  Of course I can lecture, show powerpoints, hand out skeleton/Princeton/column notes to students that have the pertinent information on it.  Mrs. Wargo has  "Demonstrate properly what you are going to teach." and "Have students physically demonstrate technique."  Can you think of other ways you, as the classroom teacher, can demonstrate the knowledge you want your students to have?

Correction is the third step.  Again, how do we, as classroom teachers correct?  Of course we have students complete worksheets, problems, take quizzes, create items or recite information back to us.  This is what we are correcting.  I really liked her correction explanation and it reminded me of the management classes I took in my former life.  You first want to correct the MOST important thing.  Do not try to correct everything: it is exhausting for you as the teacher and it is deflating for the student.  She uses the acronym PCP.  I don't remember exactly what it stands for but I think it is positive, correction, positive.  You want to keep things positive: point out something the student is doing well.  Then you want to correct the misstep and then end it with a positive.

Repetition is the last step.  This is best way to have students remember key information.  Mrs. Wargo mentions that you should "start with the last thing correct and add from there".  In certain classes it is easier to have repetition: math classes come to mind.  So how do we offer repetition without getting that glassy eyed effect from our students?  I personally use thinking maps, graphic organizers, creation of games, and other activities that show the information in different ways.  What are some ways you offer repetition in class?

Happy Teaching!

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