Building Class Relationships and Chunking Instruction

In his book Engaging Students With Poverty In Mind, Eric Jenson says:

The best way to start shaping student states is to build strong relationships… Instead of delivering long lectures,limit your talk time to short chunks:5-8 minutes for elementary classes and 8-12 minutes for secondary classes.

These are two ideas that I want to make a a priority in my classroom this year. I continue to see the value in fostering a emotionally connected classroom. With students who have few, if any positive relationships they need to have an atmosphere of support in order to optimize learning. This not only is support from me, but support from their fellow students.

I also see the need to shorten or “chunk” instructional time. By shortening instruction and specifically targeting skills to practice I hope that students will be more willing to stay engaged and not give up so easily. I also want to encourage independence by not making learning tasks too difficult, but challenging enough so that they feel a sense of accomplishment when they succeed.

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