The Importance of Managing Equipment and Teaching Aids
Imagine a student walks into English class for the first time and sees the teacher [a woman - solely for example’s sake] fumbling for a cord and searching for an outlet because her lesson was based off a slideshow on her laptop, which ran out of battery power and she wasn’t prepared to have to plug it in. The student might get a negative first impression of the teacher, possibly thinking she’s disorganized and maybe even doubting her competency to teach the class well.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Lindsay G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The Success of The Lesson
The above example illustrates the importance of being prepared in the classroom, particularly with respect to managing teaching aids and equipment. They can make a powerful impact on a lesson’s success (or lack of), depending on whether or not they’re used effectively and are functioning as desired.
Even with the most straightforward equipment like blackboards, whiteboards, flip pads, etc., the well-prepared teacher will have backup chalk, dry erase markers and other writing utensils (like pencils and regular markers or permanent markers) on-hand in case needed. There’s nothing more disruptive than trying to use the board for a teaching exercise and having no working chalk or markers!
Say a teacher wants to run a slideshow during class as a supplement to the day’s lesson. If well-prepared, that teacher will turn on the projector and laptop in advance of class and do a test run to make sure everything operates smoothly - from batteries being charged to the slideshow playing properly and being visible from all seats.
Benefits of Modern Technologies
Advances in technology have brought new teaching aids to the classroom, like interactive whiteboards (IWBs) and tablets with touch screens, providing teachers with new and creative ways of activating and engaging students, while also making studying more fun.
Something that may go overlooked is that teachers have to maintain the equipment (like keeping batteries charged or running software updates, for example) and learn how to use the educational software that is frequently packaged with it. This requires a level of proficiency with today’s technology, as well as some creativity and resiliency.
How to Integrate?
Why creativity and resiliency? Even if a teacher has plenty of battery power remaining in the device they’re using, technology-based equipment can malfunction at the worst times, like glitching or freezing up right before a lesson. Additionally, if Internet-based, the software or apps running off them can encounter connectivity, latency, and other issues. It’s crucial for teachers to be prepared for these situations and have a backup plan so there’s no loss of the students’ valuable learning time or confidence in their instructor.
One backup plan might be to come equipped with [lesson-related] visual aids and/or other realia. There’s no risk of those items freezing up when least expected! Flash cards, photos, magazines, and items relatable to the lesson (like an apple if teaching food words or a ball if teaching sports words, for example) could all be effective tools to use in lieu of using technology devices to accomplish lesson objectives.
Another failsafe plan might be to teach the lesson from the course book. Although possibly not as exciting or engaging of a teaching aid as an IWB, a teacher can trust the content in a course book is tried and true.
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No matter what teaching aids or equipment a teacher plans on using, the bottom line is: a) be prepared in advance and b) have a backup plan “just in case”. Teachers that follow this philosophy will manage a successful classroom and keep students eager to learn.