Chapter 19 My ideal of a class period

Let me dream of what I would like in an ideal class period. I can look back on wonderful times I had in class. There were also classes that left me hurt and disappointed. But let us launch into ideal teaching of a class period.

It begins with meeting a smiling class monitor walking towards me to carry my books, or get anything I need in the class. When I enter the classroom, all are standing straight, in silence outside their desks, with their books in their hands. I begin with the School Prayer.

The students then sit at their places, with their homework open and any other books required. I collect the homework. Learning depends on our efforts and work, so homework should show what the students have been doing after what they were taught in the previous period. I then distribute at random the homework back to the students and ask them to check it. The homework should be perfect with no mistakes! Then after five minutes, students turn around to talk about the homework and give a mark. This trains students to spot careless mistakes, and revise what has been learned. Then I collect the homework and spend time after class to check each homework. I give less than one minute to each homework. I confirm or correct the mark given by the student, and also correct anything I spot as unacceptable.

Many teachers spend much time on corrections. Do students learn from their mistakes and correct them? I hope they do, but I know that the more confidence the students have in their homework, the better. They will have more interest in learning and more enthusiasm study when they see their work as very good. Correction of mistakes discourages and makes students feel they are not progressing. On the other hand, earning high marks and approval does wonders.

With only twenty minutes of class left, I begin to teach what I have prepared, which has taken time. I admire the teachers who now use powerpoint or other new information technology. Notes and diagrams can be project on the TV monitor, which saves time. I only use the white board to emphasize or add what I think is apposite.

In the past, I have used recordings from TV progammes, or parts of DVD’s. The students like this, but I am aware of how passive they can be, so I restrict it to a few minutes. This material must stimulate them to think and imagine. Further, students must be lead to make a critical assessment of what is presented. Positively, it means showing the values and importance of what is taught, and also indicating what is not true or done inadequately.

This is training in critical thinking.

We are to form people who seek the truth and what is of value, not to be consumers and passive receivers. Information technology and other teaching aids are to help teaching and education. They are like textbooks, which the teacher feels can help in teaching. And I have found textbooks that really helped me teach and also visual aids to stimulate the students and help them make assessments.

The more interaction with the students during the class the better. With knowledge now available in good books and the internet, the class periods should be used for this personal interaction with the students. Education should form minds that can see through presentations to what is true and good. This is real teaching.

And this teaching takes place with real people, students who have their moods and immediate concerns. Students have their personal agenda, even as the teacher has his own. When the students look at us, they have in mind what they have heard of us, and the feelings generated in past periods. This is how our reputation and past influence the atmosphere in the class. I have constantly been surprised listening to students I am teaching talk about what previous classes have said of me. I have been skeptical about this, as much comes from exaggeration and sometimes from malice. Whatever the past, I go forward, and try and correct what they refer to and build on the good I hear.

I like to ask for three questions from the class, usually according to their class number. This is one way for inter action with the students. But I insist that the question has to be limited to what was taught or what they have been studying, otherwise these questions derail the teaching!

Would that after each period the students feel they have learned how to make the world a better place and that they have developed into a person of competence, conscience and compassion. What a wonderful life we would be learning to live.

A few minutes before the end of the period, students take out their books for the next period and prepare themselves for the next period. The homework has been collected and the vice monitor carries my books and homework to where I want them to go. The students stand with books of the coming teacher in their hand, all fresh and eager! They thank the teacher who happily goes to another class!

Oh I forgot the most important part of the lesson is humour! If there are not three laughs in a period, the period can not be considered as successful. There is something lacking. Laughter reduces stress; laughter engenders vitality; laughter is the evidence of good class spirit.

But what kind of laughter! There is bad laughter at the mistakes of others, which is common. When someone is mocked or put down, bad education is taking place. Rather laughter should come from people seeing how stupid or how exaggerated, or how distorted something is. Laughter then is the best way to engender values. Finally, as the saying goes: Laughter is the best medicine, curing self-depreciation, self-centeredness, and self conceit.

Humour can serve to deflate the ego. Humour is the first step to humility.

I have had many happy class periods like this! Perhaps Wah Yan is one of the very few places where such teaching can take place. (1031)

An ideal class period- learning and laughter!

第十九章 我的理想課堂




很多老師花很多時間在改正上,究竟學生有沒有從他們的錯處和改正中學習呢? 我希望他們有,但我知道,學生越對自己的家課,有信心越好,當他們看到自己做得很好,便會更有興趣學習和更積極讀書,改錯令人沮喪,及令學生覺得自己沒有進步,另一方面,得到高分和認可會創造奇蹟。




! 我忘記課堂中最重要的部份就是: 幽默! 如果學生一堂中沒有笑過三次,這一節課不能算是成功的,像缺少什麼似的,笑聲可以減少壓力,笑聲可以引起活力,笑聲是一個好課堂精神的証明。

究竟要有甚麼樣的笑聲呢! 有種很普遍的壞笑聲是「取笑別人」,有人被嘲笑或貶低,這是不良的教育,笑聲應該是發自當事人看到某些事物是多麼笨拙,或多麼誇大或多麼歪曲了,笑聲是最佳的方法形成價值。最後,正如俗語說: 笑是要佳的良藥,醫治自卑感,自我中心,自高自大。


我曾有過很多這樣快樂的課堂! 也許華仁是其中一間少數的學校可以如此教學的學校。