Having an open conversation environment in your classroom can be a very powerful tool. By allowing your students to trust you and speak up when issues arise, your students will feel empowered to use their voices and learn the importance of vocalizing their thoughts, and in turn you can gain important insight about your students, and your work. We’ve gathered our top 3 tips on how to do this effectively.

Use student feedback wisely:
Student feedback is very important, it can tell you a lot about your teaching, the subject, and most importantly: your students. Creating an open conversation with your students will allow you to develop trust and will also help you improve your work. However, some feedback given may not be conducive. While allowing for all students to nap during class may be a fun suggestion, it’s not reasonably done. When asking for feedback from your students be open with them and make them aware that while you may not be able to action each point they raise, you encourage them to raise it anyway to support communication between teacher and student. This will impower them to learn how to use their voice and will help them continue to do so in the future. As for yourself, make sure to listen to all feedback carefully and look at it with a critical eye, while some feedback may look like it can easily be dismissed it could point to a different issue that was not raised. A student having a problem with noise in the classroom may look like an issue that cannot be fixed but it may point to a child who is overstimulated and may need learning accommodations, or to an issue in controlling the class.

How to create an open conversation with your students

Learn how to praise correctly:
Giving students praise for their work can be an effective way to encourage them to work hard, however, praise can be a fickle thing. Too much praise can become repetitive and so make the students less likely to believe it’s authentic. Adding to this, praising one student often over others can cause confidence issues in other students who do not receive positive reinforcements often, leading them misbehave. Furthermore, only focusing on praise based on academic achievement can leave out students who many struggle academically more than others. Try and focus on actions-based accolade rather than behaviour or grades. Encourage your students to perform tasks throughout the week that can lead to them receiving recognition. For example, helping others or tidying up. By focusing on tasks or actions that any student can complete you are showing your students that anyone can receive praise regardless of academic ability.

Be prepared to make mistakes:

Learning is hard, and teachers are expected to learn all the time. You may try a new teaching technique that doesn’t do as well as you expect, or implement feedback that didn’t succeed, and that’s ok. Be open with your students and let them know that sometimes it’s ok to try something new even if it doesn’t quite work. This will show them that you are happy to be honest with them, and it will also teach them that it’s ok to not succeed every time. Continue to try different things and form an open conversation with your students, their parents, and other colleagues to see what improvements you can make in your classroom to make your teaching experience and the student’s learning experience the best it can be.

How to create an open conversation with your students

Looking for more tips and tricks? Check out the Teacher Tips section on our blog HERE