Whole class teaching can often be daunting for a beginning teacher, especially in a composite class.
As your 4/5 class is a split stage class, your understandings of the Stage Two and Stage Three syllabi outcomes are important. Your 24 students need to be able to learn from authentic episodes tailored towards their abilities and interests. Through developing your Key Learning Areas knowledge this is attainable.
Below are some strategies that can help students develop their whole class learning skills to gain the best outcome from the lessons (Porter 2006).
Set your expectations at the beginning of the class.
By telling the students what they are to have completed by a certain time, and why they are doing, it allows for students to build more meaning to the activities. By explicitly explaining to the students why they are learning about language features, or mathematical concepts, students can continue their work more effectively as they are aware of the importance placed on learning that specific content.
Allow for strategic questioning
As you have familiarised yourself with your students, questioning individual students in a non-threatening way can allow for more student input and discussion to take place in the learning environment. By using opened and closed questions, Cailtin, you can assure that your students are all on task and building their knowledge in a whole class learning.
Holding the attention of 24 students at one time is complex over a longer period of time, regardless of the teacher’s classroom experience. Caitlin, as a beginning classroom teacher, you need to develop a good sense of time management in your lessons, you need to be aware of how much time your students can stay on task. By utilizing the time constraints you are able to break up learning episodes into manageable amount of quality learning.
If you are to do whole class learning, by keeping it short and explicit students are able to engage and focus on the aim and content of the lesson, rather than get distracted and ‘switch’ off.
Lepper, M, Corpus, J & Lyengar, S 2005, ‘Intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations in the classroom: age differences and academic correlates’, Journal of Educational Psychology, vol.97, no.2, p184-196.
McLeod, J & Reynolds, R 2003, Planning for learning, Social Science Press, Katoomba, NSW.