Tag Archives: how to

How To Teach A Dull Lesson

5 Tops Tips On How To Make Your Lessons Dull

1. Go To An Inset Training Day

This is a day run by the exam board that will tell you what to teach students to that they can pass the exam. The exam board has been told by government organisations what should go in the exam. The board will also tell you what terminology they will expect in the essays, the way in which the topic will be covered and they will tell you what not to teach because it’s not relevant to the exam.

2. Plan Your Lesson

Plan it down to the minute make sure you have your clear objectives set out at the beginning. Make sure that you remind students how you have met those objectives at the end of the lesson. Include an activity for them to do, some independent reading, some writing, perhaps, make sure you have an extension task ready.

3. Deliver Your Lesson

There is a danger here that your well planned lesson will prove to be interesting and dynamic. After all, you know and love your subject, you have some good resources, perhaps an online presentation you have made, some lively handouts and a nice discussion exercise for them to complete. You are enthusiastic about your subject and you know it well, so there is a serious danger of good and interesting delivery. However this is easy to cure – simply ask the students to read a passage and write some notes on it, perhaps in pairs, so that they can feed back in plenary. Any attempt to get them to contribute is regarded by them as you attempting to get out of your obligation to teach them, and thus they grow restless and disinterested because you’re not telling them what to do. If the lesson is still not dull, then ask them to stop texting on their mobile phones, and if that doesn’t work then show them a clip from a relevant TV programme. Preferably use a clip that showcases someone with knighthood for their services to their industry, mankind whatever they’re brilliant at, and then ask the students to comment. The students will happily announce that said clip is perpetuated and broadcast by an idiot who is also boring and dull. That should do it.

4. Set Them Homework

In particular set them homework that requires them to do independent research, and most particularly in the conduct of that research ban Wikipedia. Ask for one side of appropriate prose and set a deadline a week hence.

5. Ofsted

Now you are ready for inspection, just settle the inspector at the back of the class and allow him or her to discuss the nature of your lessons with the students,  and you should have completed your course on how to teach a dull lesson!

 This was in response to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/nov/23/weak-teachers-schools-ofsted

PowerPoint to Podcast

How to Podcast your PowerPoint

There are whole cohorts of people out there that are better than I am at IT. I struggle on in my own little world of wannadu for not very much money. I work in education, where there is limited money for training, not much for software and even less for hardware. Added to that, there is substantial resistance to the use of IT in the classroom.  Staff feel embattled by the constant insistence that they must make everything electronic. They rarely have the time to learn new skills, and what they do learn, often has to be applied to administrative and tracking procedures, which of course really make them feel inclined to experiment with a little forum or Hot Potatoes quiz.

All that being true, it is part of my job, apart from having to teach, mark, console and track, to try and find ways for the staff in my institution to use IT in their lessons. I also wanted to find a way of doing it that would use what staff know already, without having to learn too much that’s new. Unfortunately that is almost impossible, but I thought I would give it a shot with PowerPoint. Yes, I know, the dreaded PowerPoint. “Should we?” I hear you cry, “Should we really encourage staff to continue producing PowerPoints that are little better than chalk and talk and often a lot worse?” Agreed, but then chalk and talk has done its job for decades, and its successor is probably not going to go away for a bit. Hence, since most staff seem to have the hang of PowerPoint, how about a little sound or even a way to podcast it, a little ppt movie maybe?

I must admit when I started on this project, I thought this would be easy, and maybe the IT mega-wizards out there will give me a much better way to do this. I do know about some of the methods, things like slide share, options on the web, or options like GarageBand, that require a little knowledge of the basics.  But I also know that staff don’t download, don’t understand new software, don’t want to use IT, and don’t enjoy learning more packages, even when it is straightforward. Maybe they should, but that’s another story.

Anyway podcasting ppt is not that easy, and I still ended up having to import it into Keynote (the old Mac avenger) to export it with sound files. Ppt made silent movies. Keynote did necessitate a bit of fiddling with the timings. I must say it does bother me that the powers that be who invent this stuff, have not addressed, in a simple and effective fashion, the ability to export ppt to Quicktime. I suspect the geeks regard the ppt as women’s work and therefore not worth  the bother, or is it really that hard to do? Even then to get the thing to play from Youtube I had to import the Quicktime into Garage Band and export as m4v sooo…. uploaded here is a vodcast on how to podcast a ppt. I bet I’ve missed something, I bet it is not as easy as I think, but it might work for some who want to have a go. There’s the podcast and a pdf of slides and notes. Give it a go.