New Teacher Survival Guide Series
Teacher Survival Guide series is produced to help teachers new to the classroom
navigate their first few months on the job.
A teacher’s first year
is often the most challenging. Learning how to manage a classroom, design
lesson plans that work for students, cooperate with faculty and administrators,
and manage the time to perform all of these tasks and more is difficult for
entering teachers. This new teacher guide offers tips for new teachers and
strategies for new teachers to help your first year be successful in seven
New Teacher Tip: Learning about
David Leiboff, a renowned classroom architect, equates classroom lectures
to “choreographed live theater”. In the context of a modular classroom that
changes between sets, or lessons, his observation is apt. Use these tips for
new teachers for a classroom to compliment your live theater.
§ Don’t rely on what you learned in pre-service
instruction. In a 2008 study
“Evidenced based practices in classroom management”,Simonsen, Fairbanks et al. noted
that most pre-service teacher training on classroom management and arrangement
is based on work done in the 1960s, which may be highly correlative (i.e., not
evidence based) and/or outdated.
§ Go modular. These classrooms institute elements such as movable small
tables that can be arranged into large tables for larger group work, wheeled
chairs for students, and movable white boards. Guildford, Connecticut schools
are experimenting with these classroom elements to see if alternatives to
traditional classrooms improve student performance. It’s too early to report
any student achievement data, but the new designs are receiving rave reviews
from students. You can read more courtesy the New Haven Register.
§ Use non-traditional set ups. In “Activity-enhancing arenas of
designs”, a study by Amedeo and Dyck, teachers reported
non-traditional classroom layouts such as T-shapes, L-shapes, and cross shapes
are better for technology use, diverse/separated activities, flexible time
scheduling, and group privacy.
§ Re-organize into traditional rectangles for
surveyed in the above study were more likely to associate rectangular layouts with
“supervision and vigilance”, and felt that non-traditional designs made it more
difficult to enforce a highly managed classroom.
§ Exploit the various characteristics of all of
these orientations. A modular class
room can be arranged into a traditional rectangle for testing periods, and
re-arranged into a cross shape for group discussions, fitting the needs of the
lesson as required.
§ Be familiar with the different modular set-ups, both traditional and non-traditional, to
make the greatest impact with movable classrooms.