How to Set Context

How to Set Context

Perhaps even more important than knowing what you will teach is knowing how you will teach.

Everything we do sets context with students.

An unorganized classroom indicates to students that it is not important that they be organized.

Speaking rudely to students indicates it is okay for them to speak rudely to others.

Soft slow music indicates that it is time for students to slow down.

Essentially, the context we set causes students to be in a certain state of mind. The students' states of mind cause them to function in a way that produces some sort of result. Our job is to ensure that the context we set helps yield the results we want, understanding that the results will not be exactly the same for each student in every situation.

So let's dig a little deeper into some ways we can set the context we want.

The appearance of the classroom speaks. So ask yourself, "What state of mind do I want my students to regularly enter my classroom with?" Is it a creative state of mind? An enthused state of mind? A calm state? A productive state?

You can help establish the state of mind you desire by setting context in your classroom… without even speaking a word.

You might have a ritual song that plays as students enter your classroom and students are allowed to be out of their seats handing in work and visiting until the song stops.

Your attitude as you greet students at the door sets the context for the attitudes you would like your students to display during that day's class.

Your level of preparedness each day will be visible to students, and they will meet you to some degree with the same level of preparation.

We also set context about how we expect students to treat us and one another by how we treat them. So what do you expect of them? And how will you model this for them?

We can set context by establishing class expectations with our students. We will discuss this a bit more during the second objective of the learning module.

For more ideas and a document about setting context, click on the "Samples" button.

Remember that when it comes to setting context, what we accept, we teach. If a student's actions are unacceptable to you, stop them, set context and redirect the behavior.

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Last modified: Thursday, 19 July 2012, 03:18 PM