Julie Coles, Author, Shares Resources Aligned with Realistic Needs of Teachers in Classrooms

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It can be challenging for new teachers to find the right resources when inheriting a broad range of responsibilities at the start of their career. Julie Coles, Author and former educator, understands the challenge of accessing resources that actually align with the real needs of teachers at the classroom level. We will discuss some of the best resources for teachers in the classroom. Many new teachers should consider starting their search for resources by pursuing the wisdom of colleagues. Seasoned teachers are among every school’s most valuable resources.

Disadvantages Of Technology In The Classroom 4

Classroom Management Resources

Classroom management resources generally refer to strategies educators rely on to address behavioral issues. Consider using lessons and diverse methods of instruction to engage all students in learning among the resources for managing your class. Capturing and sustaining students’ attention is helpful because engagement in learning reduces behavioral disruptions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for classroom management, as the best resources will vary depending on the individual needs of students. However, in addition to behavior management strategies, consider adding diverse models of instruction and class routines/organization as a means of managing your classes.  

Highly engaging instructional resources combined with delivery of instruction designed to captivate student attention are assets. Other assets are computers, ipads, and a variety of education models available across a range of technology platforms. Whatever resources are used be sure they are aligned with each student’s learning profile. Connecting the right resources with student learning profiles will sustain their focus on learning and impact academic performance outcomes.

Realistically behavioral issues that arise will need behavioral management resources. Assessing behavioral problems that interfere with class routines or disrupt learning is time consuming and among the most challenging responsibilities for teachers. Numerous sites on the Internet list sources for teachers interested in exploring resources for classroom management strategies.

One of the most accessible resources for assisting teachers address behavioral issues are currently available at your school. Check in with your colleagues about strategies they have had success using when encountering similar behaviors. Colleagues may share advice, behavioral modification methods or templates of models they created to address behaviors. Often, teachers who focus on ways to reward and reinforce positive improvements in behaviors achieve a high rate of success.  Consider inviting colleagues to observe your class and meet with you to discuss ways to strengthen your classroom management practices. Their feedback may include helpful tips related to class organization and routines that need to be enhanced or clarified to benefit the entire class.

Five Influential Areas Impacting Classroom Culture

As a former educator and school leader, Julie Coles is familiar with the broad spectrum of classroom management issues. During her tenure as a professional development consultant for teachers and school leaders Julie spent the majority of her time addressing classroom management practices to improve the overall culture of each classroom. She identified five key areas that influenced classroom cultures. Four of the five areas related to how well teachers organized their classrooms, made expectations clear, established and maintained routines and delivered instruction.  The fifth area of significant influence rarely gets the level of attention it deserves. A teacher’s rapport with students is so essential to a healthy and resilient classroom culture. We tend to undervalue the benefit of quality interactions between teachers and their students throughout each day. How influential are those interactions? I think every adult who once attended school can recall how gratifying it felt whenever teachers conveyed messages of approval. It may have been in the form of a smile, verbal compliment, or a quick wink. Being familiar with how appreciative we were to receive recognition from our teachers, it’s probably no different for today’s students. Generally positive attention from teachers can be a motivating factor. Even students experiencing a challenge are motivated to try to remain engaged in learning because of the quality of the rapport they have with their teacher. Students want, and like, positive feedback. When they see teachers traveling around the class to observe how they are progressing with their work, it’s an opportunity for students to receive their teacher’s approval. A teacher’s approval means so much to students. In fact, any praise from adults contributes to building every young person’s self-esteem and confidence. 

By now it should come as no surprise that Julie firmly believes the most valuable resource in every classroom is the teacher. Teachers are a uniquely qualified resource because of their ability to meaningfully connect with students. Unlike books and computers, teachers’ interactions tend to resonate with students when they let them know their efforts are seen and appreciated. Acknowledgement of a student’s efforts motivates student investment learning. It supersedes the instructional materials you ordered, the policies you posted to remind them of your expectations and the lessons you took so much time to develop.

If you are interested in additional information about cultivating high performance levels from your students, check out Julie’s first book, America’s Educational Crossroads. Discover the many ways teachers can positively influence how students experience education, as well as her innovative instructional process to close academic achievement gaps. Be sure and look for the future release of her second book, Cultivating Exceptional Classrooms; Unmasking Missing Links to Achieve Quality Education, in 2023. Readers will learn why Julie is such a strong advocate of school-based professional development resources for teachers. Advancing each educator’s progress is one of the links for improving the quality of education. Julie helps teachers discover the many ways they can build a strong rapport with their students, while improving their teaching. Simply adopting the habit of providing encouraging feedback when students make an effort to apply themselves will have a positive impact on every student.

Resources for Teaching Academic Skills

You will hear about the availability of many resources to support the teaching of academic skills. What you won’t hear is the degree of credibility or true level of instructional value resources may or may not have.  For many companies selling educational resources, it’s the marketing strategies used to boost sales of their products that matter more than the accuracy of claims promising high performance outcomes. That’s why Julie encourages new teachers to seek input from their colleagues. Over the span of many years resources that improve teaching practices, and earn a “highly credible” seal of approval, are those recommended by veteran teachers. Pay particular attention to seasoned teachers familiar with teaching academic skills linked directly with content areas and student learning profiles.

Generally districts are responsible for disseminating information about resources. Do not hesitate to contact department leaders to request additional support for subjects you are assigned to teach. Invite them to meet with you and visit your classroom to allow them to gain insight about why the resources requested will support your ability to deliver quality instruction.  In addition to district resources, all states post grade level standards and specific skills for development across all subjects.

There are also a variety of online educational service models that have recently generated a lot of interest. One reason for the increase in interest is each company’s ability to link their resources with each state’s standards. Online education models  showcasing lessons embedded with specific skills recommended to support students achieve district and state standards are outpacing use of textbooks in most classes.   Pre-made lesson plans across all content areas appeal to teachers. Another feature teachers find advantageous is the rapid pace many companies can electronically assess, analyze and share student performance outcomes. The convenience of digitally available education platforms reduces the number of hours needed to correct student work. The turn around time between detecting errors then immediately providing tutorial videos to augment learning is also much shorter. Searches for online educational models are helpful but they should be viewed as supplemental resources, and not a primary instructional resource. When students repeatedly make errors during online tutorial sessions it is evident they need instructional intervention from their teacher. Online educational learning platforms has not always proven to be beneficial for all students. And it’s why in-person teaching will always be needed in all classrooms. Over reliance on educating students soley on digital platforms is determential when students cannot independently work through challenging situations and get themselves unstuck. Digital learning platforms have not proven the capacity to work with students needing more indepth instruction. For many students the learning process needs trained educators capable of assessing where mistakes are made and helping students acquire skills needed to master understanding of how tools and steps needed to proceed. New teachers who experience being stuck when students need their intervention to get unstuck should not panic. But do not negate the educational needs of students in those moments. Immediately pause and assess your level of knowledge about the content. If there is a need to strengthen your teaching practices for a particular topic or content area, seek tutorial sessions with seasoned teachers or consider online master classes. Learning from other teachers, who are experts in instruction, or far more knowledgeable of content, is highly recommended. New teachers who seek the support of experienced colleagues can accelerate their progress towards achieving proficiency in instruction. In fact, instructional mentors providing tutorial sessions should be made available to all new teachers.

Final Thoughts

Class management is influenced by many factors; including those already discussed. The culture of every classroom is primarily impacted by classroom management and teaching practices. But students achieving at the highest academic standards is also greatly impacted by their level of social and emotional well-being. It’s something teachers need to be cognizant of because social-emotional well-being influences each student’s self-esteem, which is an indicator of their educational comfort level. Often a student’s self-esteem is revealed in their level of educational comfort. When students resists participating in lessons or express frustrations it’s a sign of their educational discomfort. Each student’s educational experience differs from their peers. Professional development trainings for addressing the holistic needs of each student would benefit all staff members. Educators are trained to assess students overall performances based on academic achievement, which is primarily based on their grade performance. Perhaps it would make more sense to place greater emphasis on how we build each student’s self-esteem. In many ways new teachers are also developing their own educational comfort as educators in a demanding profession. My advice is to pursue resources to nurture your professional growth to advance your educational comfort. Your well-being also matters. Having to simultaneously attend to the social, emotional and academic needs of your students to advance their educational comfort levels, while having to attend to your own professional needs is a challenge. Seek out seasoned teachers who usually arrive to school wearing a smile. Associating with colleagues who are passionate and express unabashed joy of teaching can serve as inspirational role models. It may be useful to observe how they achieve balance between taking care of their needs, and the holistic well-being of their students.

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