When you are a teacher, you often find yourself in challenging situations, some more than others. Not every teaching experience is the same and the more you practice, the better you get at it. Well, that is unless you run into a large classroom with many students. This happens at universities and sometimes at high schools, depending on the country and organization of education.
Anyway, if you have any doubts about handling a large classroom and need some tips and tricks on how to do it, here is a list of activities to consider, as well as how to approach such a daunting task.
Questions and More Questions
Students like to be included and to actually do something other than listen when they are at a class. Questions help with this.
You should plan them in advance and not make them up as you go. Planned questions that have to do with the topic at hand make sense, but also plan to be surprised. The students may have questions of their own, which should help you steer the conversation towards the goal of learning.
The questions should not be for nuclear physicists, but they should not be for newborns, either. Have them think and engage in conversation. Conversations and discussions help and will bridge the gap between the topic and the students.
Debates – They Do Like Talking
Debates are great and they will have the students engaged in conversation. Debates should be planned ahead, at least the topics, but you can also improvise them if there are multiple opinions on the topic, which there will be.
You should always explain why the debate is taking place before anything else. Create the sides of the debate, two or more, and then have the students speak by raising their hands. You can ask them questions, ones that will spark more debate but refrain from being the judge and jury. Moderation is great, but do not overdo it. The classroom should light up with conversation pretty quickly. Afterwards, summarize the debate and what everybody has learned.
Summaries are Great – As Short As Possible
Students like a challenge so challenge them to give you a summary of your class or topic. This can be done in the middle of a class if you have just covered a topic or after a couple of classes, after you have closed a chapter on something. This works for almost any class.
Have them write or tell you a summary of the topics you covered, as short as possible. One sentence would be great, but up to five should do it. This will make the students think hard about the topic, and you will find what everybody thought they learned, and what they thought about the subject. That gives you a lot of feedback as well as ideas what you can improve on.
Roleplay and Acting
Depending on the class, managing a larger group could be easier if you can get them to act out something. Having them assume a position and group can make things more interesting. Make sure to align the students with their beliefs so that it will be more realistic. This might not work for all classes, but it will do great for the majority of topics.
These are a couple of tips and ideas on how to approach managing a larger class with interesting activities.