Sunday, 20 September 2009

Teacher as host

Back to school -- autumn still always feels like the real start of the year to me, so Happy New Year.

If you teach primary or secondary school you've been in place for a fortnight or more, if adult/community education a week, if university or continuing higher education you still have a week or more before you stand up in front of your students.

See previous blog entries tagged First Class, Start of Term, Stimulus for ideas on short, sparking exercises to get people writing -- this week I'm thinking more instead of YOU, the teacher.

Flying back from a holiday (Lake Como, since you ask) I browsed through British Airways' magazine aimed at business readers and happened on a feature useful to us tutors. I clipped and saved it -- but blast! it was here on my desk before the university son used my pc, and it's gone now (surely he can't have... nah, he's a chemist and a drummer). So I will dredge up the tips I recall -- for businessfolk, it was on on giving presentations. But the advice is excellent for teaching:
  • think of yourself as the host of this group before you... what does a host do? welcomes people, helps them to feel relaxed and in friendly circumstances, makes clear he/she is glad to see them
  • be clear -- in yourself and to your audience -- what you are here to do, to say, and why they are here
  • prepare in advance, know what your main message is, keep focussed
  • use notes or bullet points if you must, but don't read from a page; ideally your preparation and your passion for the subject provide natural liveliness and information
  • speak clearly, project your voice, watch audience faces and body language to be sure they are receiving your communication
  • smile! make eye contact
  • move about; don't cling behind the table/desk/podium, step to the side, or even into the audience (ideally for creative writing tables are arranged in a U-shape, or boardroom style)
  • be flexible, allow for interruptions, adjust pace and order if needed, bring things back to the main message of the session

So there you are, creatively writerly businessly presenting -- hosting your audience into their new or growing creative world. See also the blogs tagged planning or preparation.

1 comment:

nellie59 said...

Hi Susan,

thanks for all your advice. Your book has been invaluable to me and I have been teaching for a year now. I teach two creative writing classes and really enjoying it.

best wishes, Nellie59