This page is part our online professional development for teachers - Primary Classroom Strategies.
By Michael Hilkemeijer
When it comes to motivating students in the classroom there is no doubt in my mind that ICT works wonders! However, it is important to remember that along with using ICT in the classroom as a source of motivation that you develop a scheme of work or a series of lessons plans that will include opportunities for students to progress throughout them.
Through the use of high impact teaching this can be achieved as it captures the interest of the students right from the beginning. By using this particular teaching strategy you are making the learning outcomes clear and attainable for the students in you lessons. As a teacher, you will notice that there will be more of focus on the students themselves and less about the content as it is about putting the learning into context.
Teaching about technology can be a tricky thing sometimes especially when it comes to trying to facilitate conceptual understanding behind various techniques to younger children. Language plays an important role and your planning should involve how you are going to rephrase things, question students and the jargon that typically comes from using ICT. Imagine the barrier language would pose for those ESL students.
Here is what you can do:
- If you school has a literacy coordinator, talk to them about what work is being conducted to promote literacy across the curriculum;
- It is also important to follow up this discussion with the ICT coordinator to see what is being done within the department;
- Think about the various aspects of language use that cause problems for learners and;
- Focus on vocabulary and identify two aspects that need particular attention – namely general vocabulary and subject-specific vocabulary.
Terminology can also create barriers for learning when trying to develop student ICT capability. It is best to that you use the correct terms and ensure that you identify the ones you want to cover. I would also advise that you identify any opportunities for tackling issues of specific terminology. Decide what terminology are you going to use? How are the words spelt? What do they mean? Can you explain them in lay terms and give examples of how they are applied?
When using technology in the classroom you can also promote motivation and progression if you identify those students who need support from you. By providing support you will be able to help them in their conceptual understanding of new skills or of those they have forgotten about. In addition, students will also need to support to complete work. Then there are those who require extension activities to remain motivated. Either way, ensure that you identify these students and tackle the issue of their completion rate.
In every classroom, there are those students who consistently meet the requirements you set for them. It is essential that you plan for these students to progress by guaranteeing the extension of their knowledge, skills and capabilities. This can be achieved if you begin looking at the requirements of the next level of attainment and developing tasks and activities which enable them to meet new outcomes within the context you have established for the work of the rest of the class.
Another method to consider is to ensure that every lesson progresses smoothly. Understand that there are different stages in the lesson as it moves from its beginnings to end. For this to occur, make sure that you plan lessons that provide a balance between the introduction, the development and activities.
Finally, decide how far you want to go in targeting the help that students will need. Determine when it is appropriate to give help and when it is not.