I love Fred Rogers and Bill Cosby. When it comes to TV educators they have so much to offer those of us who would teach primary school.
How does one get and keep a child, or multiple children, attention and focus?
Watch and listen to Fred Rogers. Then compare him to Bill Cosby. Both use the tone, the tempo, and melodic aspects of their voice to get their message across. It isn’t solely good story telling technique, it is also a sound pedagogical approach that utilizes human psychology.
I try to mimic these attributes in some aspects of my teaching even at the high school level.
I am a high energy pseudo-hyper teacher that uses a lot of indirect instruction and group activities. I use humour and play in my direct instruction. However, I am always careful to slow it down when I teach directly. When I use direct instruction, or give directions as to my expectations or for explaining procedures I go somewhere between Bill Cosby & Fred Rogers.
I get my students’ attention with a hand in the air. Once I have their full attention, I speak calmly, and softly (almost quietly) as to draw them in. I slow down my tempo to make sure that they register all I have to say, then I ask a student to paraphrase my directive. I then ask a second student to do the same. By then everyone knows what needs to be done. I works remarkably well.
**Be careful not to take a condescending tone. If you sound condescending, you’ll lose your adolescents students every time. **