How classroom management tech can help teachers master the “guide on the side” role
March 22, 2019
Picture an exceptional teacher. Who comes to mind? Whether it’s a character from a film or a memorable mentor from your own school days, chances are that person exudes confidence, passion, and wisdom that goes much deeper than their subject matter.
The crux is that great teachers nurture so much more than academic learning. They inspire students to have the self-confidence to tackle challenges, seek information, and solve problems inside and outside the classroom. A great teacher shows students not only how to think about math, science, history, or literature, but how to think for themselves.
Student-led learning unleashes confidence
Of course, every teacher wants to engage students on this level — they just need a supportive environment in which to do so. Thankfully, schools all over the country are embracing the practice of student-led learning, where teachers regularly spend time serving as a “guide on the side” while students present to the class, lead discussions, and engage in self-directed research and learning.
Teachers who incorporate student-led learning in their classrooms find it helps students improve their communication skills, learn resourcefulness, and engage mental skills other than listening and memorization.
But giving students the reins requires schools to equip them with the tools they need to present, research, and explore the wide world of knowledge independently. Often that means providing them with Internet-connected electronic devices and the apps they need to create and discover in innovative ways.
3 ways classroom management tech helps student-led learning succeed
1. Empower shy or introverted students.
With software like LanSchool, teachers can maintain a direct digital connection to each student so those who may be afraid to speak up in class can still communicate and participate. Students can “raise their hand” digitally to send their proposed answers directly to the teacher, ask questions, and share ideas.
Over time, as students gain confidence through direct feedback from the teacher, they may feel more confident speaking up and leading discussions themselves. It may be counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to help shy students find their voices is to not force them to speak before they’re ready.
2. Enable smooth and successful group work.
Striking the right balance between teaching and guiding can be tricky when you don’t have a good grasp on where students are in the assignment. Group work in particular can require a bit more oversight to ensure students are equally participating and are focused on the task at hand.
LanSchool gives teachers a thumbnail view of what each student is working on so you can get a sense of how cohesive each group is and where they are in the process. If one student in a group seems to be on a different page (literally or metaphorically), you can message that student privately to see whether they need help.
You can also discreetly message individual students to correct their behavior, check in on their group’s dynamics, or find out if any questions have arisen. Message all students at once to quietly share the answers to common questions and keep them informed of project countdowns (“10 minutes until we move on”) without breaking the room’s concentration.
3. Get all students on the same page.
When it’s time for a student to present, the teacher can use classroom management software like LanSchool to quickly get everyone in the class on the same web page. The student leading the discussion can even broadcast their own screen so all the other students can follow along without distraction or interruption.
Presenting to a class of one’s peers can naturally induce anxiety — and it’s much more intimidating when the student leading the discussion doesn’t know for certain what other students are looking at on their individual devices. The ability to force all student screens to the same web page takes this fear out of the equation and makes students feel a bit more confident in presenting.
Exploring technology in your classroom
Every teacher has the ability to nurture self-confidence and resourcefulness in their students. Having the right tools at your disposal can simply make it easier to balance one-to-many and one-to-one instruction and correction — and striking that perfect balance is what makes for a successful “guide on the side” during student-led learning.
Learn more about LanSchool classroom management software, and see which version is right for you.