To be really enjoyable and fruitful, classroom recitations should be lively. A lively recitation provides opportunities for sharing and promoting feelings of recognition and sense of belongingness. It gives both teacher and pupils/students a sense of success and self-fulfillment, factors conducive to teaching-learning.
Many a teacher then asks: How can I make recitations lively?
1. Be lively yourself. The teacher’s personality is very contaminating so be sure to radiate enthusiasm, zeal, fun and life. Bring sunshine into the classroom, so to speak.
Even in spite of yourself, be pleasant, approachable and encouraging.
Your voice should inspire and turn on hearers instead of turning them off. Take in a well-modulated tone of voice, neither shrill nor hoarse. Speak clearly with proper face.
As soon as you enter the room, be sure you bring about wholesome vibration/atmosphere, enough to make pupils/students enthusiastic and eager to participate in classroom discussions.
2. Master the art of asking questions. The question-answer method cannot be avoided, it is the usual/most common practice and should therefore be done with care.
a. Ask thought-provoking, challenging questions that develop critical thinking. Do not be contented with yes-no and/or recall questions. Follow up these yes-o responses with questions like why, how, in what way, etc. that require interpretation, inferring, explanation, comparison, etc.
b. State questions to the class, using simple and specific words. Adjust language to class abilities and interests.
c. Direct questions to the class, then call on individual pupils/students to answer (not the other way round). This way the whole class is supposed to listen and get ready to answer.
d. As much as possible, distribute questions/chances evenly. Give chances for all to recite. Call on bright pupils/students to answer difficult questions; slow pupils, the easy questions, doing it subtly, though.
e. Avoid repeating questions unnecessarily, to develop in pupils/students the skill/habit of listening attentively.
3. Create a democratic atmosphere in the classroom. Encourage all to speak whenever given a chance. Pupils/students should be able to do any of the following politely:
a. Ask questions for clarifications
b. Given additional information
c. Explain/reason further
d. Express opinions
e. Make conclusions
f. Infer and summarize
Encourage free/open discussion. Comment on pupils/student’s answers but do not repeat verbatim.
4. Make lessons interesting. Develop needed mind set or readiness through.
a. Proper motivation at the beginning and every part of the lesson
b. Apperceptive basis, the use of past lessons or related experiences as springboard for the new/past lesson making transition/presentation smooth and easy
c. Review or drill lessons to show the relation to the new
5. Use visual aids or better still, audio-visual aids: pictures, illustrations, real objects, power point presentations, graphs, clippings, etc. All should be relevant and functional.
But remember that the best audio-visual aid is the teacher. By the way you talk, pronounce names, move about, etc., be sure you get the attention and interest of the whole class.
6. Provide opportunities for self-expression like brainstorming, class meetings, group dynamics, small group discussion, informal dialogs, etc.
During these activities, you the teacher, remains in the background serving as facilitator and guide-consultant. As much as possible, talk less and have maximum individual participation. Guide groups in evaluating their own activities, giving praise, comments, and directions as needed.
7. Relate lessons to real life experiences; something meaningful/significant to learners; something that suits their capabilities, dreams and aspirations.
8. Select reporters/secretaries who will take down minutes and individual contributions plus resolutions/conclusions formed. Develop emerging leadership in the class.
Making classroom recitations lively cannot be done overnight. It is a product of effective/systematic classroom management/discipline.
From the start, develop skills in listening and participating in discussions gradually and consistently. Allow no exceptions.
Develop sufficient vocabulary to enable pupils/students to express themselves, and at the same time, to behave properly. Encourage them to read, read and read during their spare time to widen their vicarious experiences.
Provide guidance in evaluating individual performance/participation, giving incentives to deserving ones. Graphs or tables may be used towards the end of the period/activity to show how members have contributed to a lively recitations.
The measures mentioned are not hard and fast rules. They are merely suggestions flexible enough to suit local and specific needs and conditions. Much depends on the teacher’s creativity, attitude and personality as a whole. The teacher who at heart loves/enjoys teaching can certainly make recitations lively.
Photo Courtesy: Roselyn Lanuzo / DAZSMA Antipolo City