Comments on First Weeks of School: Best Practices for Teachers

While starting into the year with content, build relationships first. Teach discipline after the foundation of relationships has been built.

Envision with students the perfect classroom environment. Effective modeling, especially the reflection step, is a very good strategy. Communicate your high expectations and students will produce to those high expectations. Promote growth mindset (demonstrate).

Set a positive tone about learning. Find a way to build students’ sense of competence. Make sure you are in Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development. Connect with families.
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I really liked the emphasis on teacher tone/attitude. A teacher who reacts positively to students, approaches content passionately, cultivates a growth mindset, and displays integrity and work ethic from the year’s start to finish will, I think, see these values reflected in his or her students’ behavior and sustained throughout the school year.

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The study that suggested a teacher’s personality, being introvert or extravert, does not have a significant impact on learning, when compared to affect. Was most interesting.

Being a music teacher I am constantly focused on tone, whether it is a singing voice, the sound of a drum, or a clarinet, the majority of my time is focused on  tone. This is important, because as musicians we always say, “If your tone is poor no one will care to listen to you, no matter how beautiful the music.”

This same concept can be directly applied to your teaching praxis. We have to set a precipice of tone in teaching that speaks from authority and directs students ability to fulfill their best learning.

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The most important idea that I got from this webinar was that modelling must be explicitly taught. For a new skill to be learned successfully, a teacher must state clearly what the goal is in a simple statement from students, demonstrate, allow for reflection and then immediately give time to practice. This time to practice is a critical necessity for children to acquire the new skill.

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I found Kohlberg’s moral hierarchy very interesting and helpful in terms of how I set up my classroom for the first few days or even weeks. I do have a wondering that–do certain stages of this hierarchy correspond with certain development ages and if so how can we ensure that students are developing appropriately for their age level?

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My main takeaway was to be positive and work on building relationships with students. Also, make the first days of school collaborative.