The coaching meeting was a great way to focus my thoughts for a short period of time and really stick to a framework to help develop those thoughts. I really liked having a “coach” with me to guide me through the thought process and pose questions that kept me relevant to my topic. My coaching session focused on the topic of student engagement. We discussed my goals dealing with student engagement, different things I may want to try to see how it would affect student engagement, and aspects that I will need to stay mindful of while teaching to ensure student engagement.
My coaching session gave me some great insights on what I think engagement should look like in a classroom as well as a few strategies that I will try to incorporate in my teaching that should be helpful in keeping students engaged throughout an entire class period. One idea was to reduce clutter in room and on assignments to increase focus on the important ideas. We had also discussed the idea of using questioning as an effective form of formative assessment and teaching using dialogue as opposed to teaching using lecture.
There were also a few key pieces of teaching that I want to stay mindful of, one being to keep students constantly challenged and learning. Not only for the students that may be having a hard time in the class, but also for students that seem to pick up the material rather quickly. In either case, these students need to have activities that keep them engaged and learning, not just going through the motions.
After my coaching session, I have a much clearer idea of what engagement in my classroom will look like from many different perspectives. I do not want posters to clutter the walls and take away from what is important on the whiteboard. I want an environment where students feel safe and that wrong answers are seen as an opportunity to learn, not a reason to be reprimanded. I want to engage in conversations with my students about math and make sure that they are gaining a conceptual understanding of the lessons, not just a procedural understanding. I want students to be challenged with their assignments, but not set them up for failure. Giving them an impossible task with destroy their self-confidence and decrease their willingness to learn. Students that pick up the material quickly should also have extension problems that push them to think deeper into the concept and challenge what they already know so that they do not become bored with the class.
While this looks great in text, the difficult part will be putting all of these different concepts to use in a classroom setting. This will take some practice, as well as trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t. A contributing factor to the success of any classroom is the students. Getting to know their interests is also an important piece in having an engaging classroom setting.