Have you ever considered why open lessons are necessary?
As we all know, teachers definitely have a lot of stuff to juggle. Considering most of us hold regular meetings with parents to keep them well informed, why would inviting them to participate in an actual lesson even be needed? Well, there is an answer to this question, one that you as a teacher should definitely keep in mind. Consider this: your classroom is a world of details, sometimes too many to handle, but you can make things much easier in your classroom by using parents as partners. Remember that there are things that parents don't know or can't imagine on their own. By giving them the chance to participate and see things first hand, you would be giving them valuable insight as to how their kids are working and how they, as parents, can be useful to you. Take a look at some of the benefits of holding open lessons.
- Parents can be very powerful allies in any child's education. Keeping parents informed and inviting them to become part of the educational process can significantly influence their child's progress. Teachers who take advantage of “parent power” can significantly improve teaching effectiveness.
- Parents have an amazing opportunity to see first hand how you work and how you connect with the kids.
- Parents can get to know you and their child's academic program. They can see how kids work and what is challenging for them.
There are different types of open lessons and they even have different names such as open house, back-to-school night and meet-the-teacher night.
Most of them occur sometime in the beginning of the school year or at the start of the course. All of them provide parents with an “inside look” into the daily activities and occurrences of your classroom. It's a wonderful opportunity for you to share the classroom experience with them. However, it is important to keep in mind that being ready for such an event is extremely important. After all, you want to show parents that you are an organized teacher who is on top of things, not that you are simply winging it. Here are some tips and ideas that can help you make this annual event successful and full of purpose.
How to Get Parents Involved with Open Lessons
Send Out Personal Invitations
Parents need to be well informed of when the open lesson will take place ahead of time. Remember they might need to make changes in their busy personal schedules in order to be able to attend. You can have your students make the invitations themselves using art materials. Your students can then take them home or, another option is to mail to the invitations. All invitations should include the following information: name and address of the school, date and time of the event, your room number, your name, and a brief outline of the schedule and activities for that evening.
Plan Your Presentation
What you will be saying to parents should be meticulously planned beforehand. Parents will want to know about the kids and the curriculum but they also want to know a little about you. Share something about yourself (where you grew up, your education, your family, your educational philosophy). Make sure to mention what goals you have set for the year. Your presentation should be no longer than 10 to 11 minutes tops, after all, parents are there to see how kids work. You can provide more details in your parent-teacher conferences later on.
Tidy and Clean
Your image, as well as the classroom's reflects on you as the teacher of that course. Where you are concerned, dress professionally and be well groomed. As they say, first impressions are often lasting impressions. A jacket and tie or at least a dress shirt and tie along with pressed slacks are considered very appropriate for men. Pantsuit, blouse and skirt, or a dress are a great choice for women. Where the classroom is concerned, make sure it is clean and tidy. Also , prepare everything you will need for that lesson and keep it handy. You can hang a “Welcome” sign outside the door, with your name and the room number on it. Prepare a sign-in sheet for parents and leave a list with the activities and any other useful information for parents to take as they come in, as well. Decorate your classroom and bulletin boards, and make sure you have enough chairs for everyone
Set out textbooks, and be sure each child's desk has a folder with samples of the student's work. Additional student work (be sure to have samples from all students) can be posted on bulletin boards. Photographs of students and activities can also be posted there. Put up lots of colorful posters and charts with some of the content kids have seen. Make sure the classroom is vibrant and full of the kids' work.
Welcoming Your Guests
It is ideal to stand at the door and to greet each and every parent with a handshake and a smile. Be pleasant and courteous, and if there is someone you haven't met, make sure to introduce yourself. It is also a good idea to have parents use name tags with their name and the names of their kids.
Your presentation should be brief since it is only meant to provide some information about yourself and to cover what children have worked on so far and what they will work on in the future. Afterward, make sure to invite parents to stay to work on the activity you have planned for that evening with the kids and also look at their child's work.
Make sure to give a lot of thought to what activities will be done that lesson. This is not a good time to teach anything new. After all, parents want to see what their kids are able to do in English. Choose activities your students are good at and familiar with. Also, fun activities you know the students like and do well will keep them motivated. Circulate around the room, smile, and make positive comments about the students and what they are doing.
Open lessons are a great time for teachers, parents and kids to be part of the same educational experience.
Remember, it is not the time for personal conferences. Those should be set up a different day. Make the experience enjoyable and don't forget to have fun.
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