Saturday, May 21, 2011

Classroom presence

I asked a colleague to talk to my practicum student about teaching.. Often a colleague has different viewpoints on teaching and can get to the nub of a problem faster than I can. There was some great advice about establishing presence in a classroom.

Establish space between the whiteboard and the class >1.5m
- use this as performance space. Move towards the class for emphasis and towards the board when teaching.

Establish modes of voice.
- develop a range of tones that can be used to indicate pleasure/displeasure, tied to a range of volumes

Develop affectations to your teaching
- Tapping a whiteboard marker can be more effective than shouting, as can removing or looking over your glasses.

Change your travel path
- ensure that your travel path is giving attention to all students and is not just a convenient way to travel a room.

All of these things will change your presence in the room and were good ideas. I would add a few more - wait for quiet before starting instruction (be patient.. 5 seconds is longer than you think), establish a spot so students know to be quiet when you are standing in it when waiting for attention, ensure that you are giving positive and negative feedback, be warm but not overly friendly and welcome students on entry.

I'm sure there are many more!


  1. Thanks for the tips. I will try some of these out at my next placement.

  2. Great, if you learn anything new, drop a line.


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