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Into the Classroom

A Practical Guide for Starting Student Teaching

Rosalyn McKeown

Publication Year: 2011

Student teaching can be an endeavor fraught with anxiety. Those entering the classroom for the first time face the daunting challenge of translating coursework on the theory of teaching into real-world experience. Common questions for anxious student teachers include: Will I be a good teacher? Will I ever get control of my classroom? How can I do all of this grading and plan for next week at the same time? This helpful guide by teacher educator Rosalyn McKeown offers practical suggestions for student teachers, interns, and teacher candidates just starting out in a secondary school classroom. This easy-to-read text enables new educators to rapidly advance their teaching skills early in their pre-service experiences. After exploring the pitfalls of inexperience and providing helpful guidance on maintaining order in the classroom, McKeown focuses on teaching skills. She advises readers on writing objectives and lesson plans, creating interesting ways to start and end class, introducing variety into the classroom, lecturing, asking meaningful questions, and using visual aids. Among the other topics discussed are setting up a classroom, recognizing differences in learning styles, and developing an individual teaching style. Sidebars scattered throughout the text offer useful advice on everything from how to deal with stage fright and distracting noises from outside, to planning for block scheduling and avoiding the attributes of a boring teacher. With McKeown’s own list of expectations for her classes, templates for hall passes and lesson plans, and scores of tips garnered from years of experience, Into the Classroom provides information a first-time teacher needs to enter the secondary classroom with confidence.

Published by: The University of Tennessee Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-x


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pp. xi-xii

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Author’s Note

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pp. xiii-xvi

As a teacher educator, I am aware of the importance that student teachers, interns, and teacher candidates attach to becoming good teachers rapidly. This attention to praxis is admirable, and I want to assist my students in achieving this goal. However, I am also aware that these enthusiastic new teachers need to learn theory and read research-based literature as well as learn about the history ...

Part I: Before Entering the Classroom

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pp. 1-2

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Chapter 1: Twelve Years as a Student Do Not Prepare You to Be a Teacher

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pp. 3-6

Most adults in American society have spent at least twelve years in school observing their teachers. As a result, they often feel they understand teaching and know how to teach. Good teaching seems effortless to the casual observer and natural to children. Unfortunately, years of observation, especially through a ...

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Chapter 2: Common Pitfalls of Inexperience

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pp. 7-14

During your teacher-preparation program, you will hear many descriptions of good teaching techniques; however, rarely will you hear what not to do. This chapter is intended to help you avoid common mistakes as you begin teaching. Following are descriptions and remedies for eleven common errors exhibited ...

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Chapter 3: Order in the Classroom: Managing Common Discipline Problems

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pp. 15-30

Every new teacher’s nightmare is a class that will not listen, talks excessively, moves in and out of their seats at will, talks back, treats their fellow students and faculty rudely, and seems to enjoy it. Unfortunately, discipline becomes a major concern of K-12 teachers in today’s schools and of anyone who deals ...

Part II: Classroom Instruction

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pp. 31-32

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Chapter 4: Ready, Aim, Teach: Writing Objective and Lesson Plans

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pp. 33-42

Sometimes teaching is like serving a plate of spaghetti. We teachers offer a tangle of concepts, principles, facts, analogies, illustrations, and theories. From this confusing assemblage, we hope that the students sort out and remember the most important parts. But, how can a student, who does not know the ...

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Chapter 5: Great Beginnings and Endings

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pp. 43-46

Teaching is like preaching a sermon. One experienced country preacher was talking to a novice about how to preach a memorable sermon. The elder preacher said it was easy. The younger insisted it was not. The elder explained his method. “First I tells ’em what I’m gonna tell ’em. Then, I tells ’em. Then, I tells ’em what I told ’em.” In this chapter and chapter 7, “Lecture, If You Must,” I ...

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Chapter 6: Instructional Strategies and Techniques" Introduving Variety

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pp. 47-60

Later in the book, I will touch on lecture, models, and demonstrations, and on asking questions and leading discussions as well as interactive teaching. Many other instructional techniques exist. This is a good thing because the cycle of lecture, model, discussion, and worksheets gets a little boring—or ...

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Chapter 7: Lecture, If You Must

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pp. 61-70

An educational myth floats about that lecture is the most efficient method of teaching. However, research finds that only about one-fourth of the population learns best from lectures. That leaves three-quarters of the population to suffer through lectures that net them insufficient learning. The lecture is traditional within the European-American educational system. Granted, a lecture covers ...

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Chapter 8: Models: The Memorable Part of the Lesson

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pp. 71-78

Have you ever listened to a detailed and complex description of an object or process, only to feel confused and frustrated? You probably felt like blurting out, “Just show me!” You knew instinctively that the long description would become clear if the instructor would show you or demonstrate what s/he was describing. These instincts point to a powerful teaching ...

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Chapter 9: Asking Questions

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pp. 76-88

Asking questions is an essential part of teaching. Asking questions is also central to good learning. One study revealed that new teachers ask roughly one question per minute. Another showed that 80 percent of classroom talk centers on asking, answering, and reacting to questions. Anything teachers do that often should be done well. ...

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Chapter 10: Little Thought and Big Thoughts

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pp. 89-96

Much of education is introduced in small pieces. We ask students to: memorize this definition, recite that law, name that mountain range, read this and tell me what it said in your own words, or solve for x in the math problem 2x 3 = 13. Unfortunately, much of secondary education is based around such and requires

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Chapter 11: Discussions and Interactive Teaching

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pp. 97-102

Students arrive in the classroom with a wide variety of life experiences that can enrich your class. You can structure these experiences into your lessons through discussions in which students provide the real-life interpretation of concepts you present.
These discussions can take a variety of forms. ...

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Chapter 12: Working with Visual Aids

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pp. 103-112

I attend many conferences, student presentations, and guest lectures. The most noticeable errors I find in presentation techniques concern the use of chalkboards, slides, images from overhead projector transparencies, and PowerPoint presentations. Presenters often turn their backs to the audience, speak to the whiteboard, make eye contact primarily with the projector, or become so involved ...

Part III: The Bigger Picture

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pp. 113-114

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Chapter 13: Boring Teachers

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pp. 115-120

No teacher admits to being boring; yet, boring teachers abound. In fact, the proportion of boring teachers seems to increase with grade level. I do not know any boring kindergarten teacher—grumpy yes, boring no. Kindergarten teachers use a variety of methods and strategies to teach children through their five ...

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Chapter 14: Not Everyone Learns the Same Way You Do

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pp. 121-132

New teachers tend to imitate the way they were taught or they teach the way they learn best (Ebeling 2000). Both of these bring some measure of success to the classroom; yet, many students struggle to learn. Many of them feel like unsuccessful learners, because the way they have been taught does not match the way they learn best. ...

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Chapter 15: Be Kind

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pp. 133-138

When I ask pre-service teachers about their favorite K-12 teachers, they often respond that the teachers were kind, fair, enthusiastic, loved teaching their disciplines, or helped students learn. Descriptions such as unkind, arbitrary, angry, and unfair do not enter the discussion. I have found that kindness can produce goodwill, cooperation, and effort in the classroom.

Part IV: Becoming the Teacher You Want to Be

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pp. 139-140

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Chapter 16: Tensions of Practice Teaching

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pp. 141-146

All student teachers, interns, and teacher candidates experience tensions during their school placements. In fact, the initial year of teaching via your internship or student teaching is replete with tensions. The tensions come with the combination of you—your personality, your prior classroom experiences, your ...

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Chapter 17: Organizing Your Room to Suit Your Needs

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pp. 147-153

No two classrooms in a school are identical. Although the physical layout of the walls and windows may be the same, each classroom is unique, reflecting the personality of the teacher. Teachers move the desks around, decorate the walls, set procedures, enforce policies, and establish routines that reflect their unique teaching perspectives and personalities. In this chapter, I share my own ...

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Chapter 18: Developing Your Own Teaching Style

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pp. 153-156

During an introductory teaching methods class, I was encouraging my students to show enthusiasm for the subjects they teach. I cited research showing that students, teachers, and administrators valued enthusiasm and interpersonal relationships more highly than knowledge and organization of subject matter or plans and classroom procedures. After class, a soft-spoken student came to ...


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pp. 157-158


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pp. 159-169

E-ISBN-13: 9781572338364
E-ISBN-10: 1572338369
Print-ISBN-13: 9781572338166
Print-ISBN-10: 1572338164

Page Count: 184
Illustrations: 3 figures
Publication Year: 2011