The power of a great teacher is knowing when “not to teach!”
I know it sounds crazy but there are clearly times when the teacher should not be teaching.
Recently research has emerged that direct teaching has its benefits but if we only teach using this method we limit the amount of opportunities for those learners who find it hard to digest information in that manner, whilst discouraging peer support, parallel learning, collaborative learning and independent investigation.
Imagine your class as a bunch of plates spinning on sticks. Each child is represented by a spinning plate. A highly motivated and engaged child is spinning away beautifully. (No chance of falling down)
Your job as the teacher is to keep those plates spinning. If they’re all spinning, then sit back and observe. Note the groups that are forming in your room, note the social interactions, the natural leaders, the quiet solo workers. These are the things we cannot assess through exams and usually don’t have time to spot.
As soon as you see a plate wobbling, get in there and teach! Keep that plate spinning hard and fast. Inspire, motivate, discuss! Yes other children may be attracted to your lesson and that’s fine!
Whatever you do. Don’t let a plate drop.