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By Suzanne Klein on 7/28/2015 9:35 AM

Click the title to continue reading.3 Things You Can Do this Summer to Be a Better Teacher
By Elizabeth Stein

This entry was originally published in Education Week on June 10, 2015. Thank you to Elizabeth Stein for granting us permission to share the article.

As the school year winds down, effective teachers everywhere are reflecting on their experiences and translating them into a plan for another successful school year ahead. It doesn’t matter what grade or subjects you teach, how long you’ve been teaching, or where—there are three universal things that all educators can to do be a better teacher in the fall.

1. Practice Mindfulness

The word mindful itself can create a nice sense of inner calm. When a person is mindful, he or she is present in the moment, fully aware, and accepting of his thoughts, surroundings, and situation as a part of the natural process of experiencing life.

Mindful people are observant and responsive—not reactive. Instead of judging people or situations, they accept them. This state of awareness holds special value for teachers. It keeps us taking care of ourselves despite our busy schedules and long list of responsibilities.

In addition, mindfulness can make us better teachers. Just think about the last time you experienced stress at any point—for any reason—in the midst of your school day. How did you handle it? Hopefully the results were positive. But if stress isn’t handled well, it can adversely affect lessons, relationships, and even our personal energy level.

Mindfulness is a surefire way to become aware of our emotions but also to take charge and use them in ways that result in positive relationships with ourselves and our students, colleagues, parents, and family members.

By Suzanne Klein on 6/8/2015 10:15 AM
Click the title to continue reading.

No matter where you live in the world, writing is an important skill to master. We were contacted by Open Colleges, an education company based in Sydney, Australia, who asked if we would share a blog from their Community Manager, Tess Pajaron. We were happy to do so. It shows two countries think alike when it comes to writing! Read on to learn Tess Pajaron’s tips for encouraging students to write more.

When it comes to education, writing is an important part of every subject. Writing allows students to practice crucial learning skills like integrating new information or reframing their knowledge in logical structures. It also enables instructors to identify issues that students find difficult to understand. The best thing is, writing doesn't have to come in large pieces like term papers. Using some of these shorter assignments, teachers can effectively encourage their students to write more and polish their language skills.

Quick Writing Exercise

Once you start a new section or introduce a new chapter in your course, ask students to write about one thing for a few minutes. It can be a question they have about the day's reading material or a short summary of the major points made during the lesson.

You can later use those materials as your opener for a day – answering popular questions is a great method for clearing up any doubts about the material. These writing pieces work best when written anonymously.

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