Sunday, October 20, 2013

Power Teaching, Become a Powerful Teacher!

Hi there,

There has been a little talk recently about Power Teaching or Whole Brain Learning, a set of teaching
techniques developed by some teachers in California.

I myself have used some of these techniques and have shared them with a lot of other teachers who have seen great results.

Most of the techniques are pretty much common sense but by putting them in a memorable and organized format like the team at have we can only benefit.

So today I want to give you a run down of some of the techniques from WBT that I have used and which I've found good.


One of the strategies they talk about in WBT is have just a few class rules that are understood by all students and applied at all times. The special feature of the rules that WBT suggest is that they are pretty all encompassing.

Rule 1: Follow directions quickly

Rule 2: Raise your hand if you want to speak

Rule 3: Raise your hand if you want to leave your chair

Rule 4: Make smart choices

Rule 5: Make your dear teacher happy (this is a rule that encompasses all rules really)

Each rule has an action that goes with it and the rules and the actions are rehearsed at the beginning of the lesson/school day.

A modification I made was to add a rule "Remember that this is an English Zone!" for the immersion program.

If a student was to break one of the rules you could very quickly call out their name and the number of the rule e.g. "Ticka, Rule 3!" After which the student has to straight away repeat the rule and the action thus internalizing that they have overstepped the boundaries of the classroom.

I find only having a few rules and actions that go along with them a great idea. For subject teachers if the rule is to be applied across levels (uniformity) it is also very useful as during the short amount of time they have with the students each week there can automatically be a very clear understanding of the behaviour that is expected during the lesson.

Another power teaching technique I've found good is


In it's basic form Teach-Okay! is a way to make introduction time more interactive. Instead of the students just passively listening to the introduction they are preparing to teach/relay what they have just heard from the teacher to their friend next to them.

What I am more impressed with though is what this habit eventually leads to, which is a more student-led classroom. For simple routine activities in the teaching-learning process the teacher gradually hands over the reins to the students, having competent students come up sometimes to lead the lesson. Seeing videos of this in action I had a warm fussy feeling inside realizing that students as young as primary age could have such a degree of autonomy and confidence.


Another great technique and one that cuts down on teacher correction time is having the students reach consensus on the correct answer. Some training and practice is needed to have the students properly be able to apply this technique but once they have got it sorted it's going to be a much more powerful and functional way for students to learn from their mistakes and experience a more student focused approach. Of course one of the coolest aspects is it's going to take a lot of pressure off the teacher to correct endless answer sheets (like a robot).


Most veteran teachers of younger learners are no stranger to recalls. They are also very useful for older students as well. A couple of the recalls I've found useful from WBT are:

Teacher: Class = Students: Yes! (just to get their attention)

Teacher: Hands and Eyes = Students: [all sit nicely with their hands on the table (or their lap) and their eyes towards the teacher] I've introduced the students replying "Knees and shoulders!" with actions before sitting nicely and quietly ready to pay attention.

For one of the big attractions for these techniques is if teachers for a whole level can get together and agree on commands and a system for discipline and assisting the learning process then it will be much easier for the teachers and the students to understand and apply.

So if you don't already use some similar techniques in your classroom and are finding classroom management a challenge, why not try some of the WBT techniques today? There are a lot more that you can find at  and don't feel shy to ask you workmates what techniques they use to control their classrooms and assist the learning process!

Hope you are having a great week. Don't forget to keep shining, sharing and changing lives!

In kindness,