Strategies for Reshaping Practice: The habits of the classroom #27

Add the personal touch

Teachers can use personal stories, images and examples where that is appropriate. This could involve organising visitors in religious education or using real life case studies of people in modern foreign languages or geography. Such stories can challenge learners and evoke an affective or moral response. Teaching in this way can focus attention on others and on service. For example, just a small change in a lesson about sound can make a big difference; instead of talking about the intricacies of the design of ‘the ear', talk about ‘your ears’ and relate it to the students.

  • Teachers can provide photographs and images of German students who resisted the Nazis in a German lesson. This enables students to practise their language relating to real people and situations. Teachers could create activities that encouraged students/pupils to use a modern language to foster good relationships. Migrants stories could be used in geography when teaching about population movements.
  • Teachers can introduce students to real scientists with different views about faith in science lessons rather than just discuss the issue abstractly. Teachers could focus on the learner as a person who is part of a family and report on the person as whole being on parents' evenings. A topic on heroes can be made personal by encouraging learners to look at imperfect heroes who achieved and relate that to how we see ourselves.

These examples show that giving a lesson a more personal slant can be done with small changes that make a big difference.