Time, as we all know, is a precious commodity to any individual. In the realm of education, time cannot be allowed to tick faster than the rate at which students intake knowledge obtained in the classroom. Most teachers would argue on them not having enough time to explain a certain topic, or not being able to complete objectives they've set during classroom hours. It does take time to reach out to a student, especially ones that need special care, but as time plays a vital role, every second spent with a student must be meaningful and productive.
Successful teachers establish procedures and expectations that minimize wasteful downtime, and maximize engaging learning opportunities.
Wasted time does add up. If you, as a teacher, lose 15 minutes of your teaching time, this adds up to inefficiencies that cost you fifteen hours over a course of a 180-day school year. That time wasted could be effectviely used to aid students and make a difference, specifically to students that struggle as learners. To help teachers improve their teaching methodologies, here are a list of 6 strategies you can use to make the most of your instructional time.
Without a plan and a road map, nothing can be achieved. Likewise, effective planning and preparation for a class is vital for teachers to keep students on their feet. Under-prepared teachers can't keep a classroom active throughout the hour, and while you preach about the woes of procrastination, you too should be its true follower. It's always better to be over-prepared for a class; that way, you cover a lot more than you think you did, and your students remain active throughout the class. In addition to the above, its always better to prepare from a variety of material.
Bonus point: It's always better to practice what you wish to teach. Many skip this step, but when you don't practice, you lose instructional time, as you would not have figured out steps and shortcuts prior to the class.
Classroom procedures are an essential part of the educational environment. Procedures that include turning in due assignments, keeping up to date with homework, forming groups for activities like debates, discussions or games help teachers operate their classrooms like well-oiled machines. This helps students follow a pattern, and with the help of that pattern, they are provided a pathway to learn. This way, there is less instructional downtime, and everyone's is made happy.
It's impossible to stop every distraction that occurs during the course of a class. The uncalled for guests, announcements on loud speakers, arguments that break out between students that lead to chaos, are all distractions that you as a teacher have no control over. What you can do is note down such incidents for over a two-week period, and then come up with solutions that will help you weed out such distractions in the future.
What I mean by a transition is when you have to shift from one component of a lesson or activity to another. If your lessons are well-planned, you will be able to join the dots and create a bridge between the topic that had recently been covered and the one you are about to teach. It may seem easy, but some teachers find transitions to be the hardest part. When not executed according to plan, these transitions become the elements in a classroom that are the reason for your teaching downtime.
As a student, I rejoiced when my teachers gave my friends and I the time to do whatever we wanted to. My productivity in those hours were a very poor number; the only skills that improved was my communication and social skills. I didn't end up thinking about it too much - my friends and I were happy as we saw our teacher read through material or correct answer sheets that belonged to another class. What none of us realized was how the idea of "free-time" affected our learning potential, and what effect it had on the teacher's instructional time.
A major necessity for teachers to have is the ability to provide clear and consice directions to their students. Keeping these directions simple, clear and straightforward can help cut down instructional time. Poor and confusing directions can cause students to stick to a topic for longer than usual, and this would turn the learning environment into a total chaos. Good directions are given in multiple formats, either verbal and written.