Naked Teaching Day: could you teach without resources?
In many countries across the world, teachers have little or no resources to help teach their children. #NakedTeachingDay aims to raise awareness of this, by encouraging teachers to teach for one day without using any resources – to strip their teaching back and make it "naked".
I experienced what it was like to make lessons out of nothing when I was teaching in Ghana in 2014.
Now, to help you get ready for Naked Teaching Day, here are some of my top strategies for teaching without the aid of resources:
Fact, fiction, fantasy
This is an idea that you can use with any object at all. For example: your shoes. Look at the shoes and make three statements about them: one factual, one fictional and one fantastical. This idea can be adapted to suit anything the children are learning about or looking at. It encourages imaginative and independent thinking. You can share your own ideas with the class to make it real and relevant to the world.
- 'I spy' an idea
Look at what can be used in your teaching space as a learning hook, rather than preparing resources or using technology. The idea behind "something from nothing" is that you work with what is already around you to help teach the children.
- Take risks
Teaching without resources is a great opportunity to try something new. In Ghana, a child had made a car from broken bits of tin can, but one of the wheels had fallen off. I challenged the class to find a way to fix it by chanting questions to a rhythm. The children had never moved from their seating area before, but suddenly they were collaborating as a group through chanting and questioning. It was magical.
- Reporter, reflector
In this activity, one child shares with another what they learned from the previous lesson, and how. This child is the "reporter". Their task is to explain what learning took place while the listener – or "reflector" – thinks about what the reporter is saying, and then makes an official news presentation to the class after their discussion.
This is a great cognitive tool for developing skills in listening and analysis. It also supports the process of remembering and consolidating the learning.
- Ping-pong learning
This is a great way to exchange statements, key words or questions. Two lines of children (or two individuals) have to keep exchanging questions and answers or statements related to a given topic, until one person can’t think of anything else to pass over. You could do this as teacher to the children, too. You "ping" a question, they "pong" back an answer, and so forth.
Beyond these ideas, connecting and developing purposeful learning relationships with the children is key. Good eye contact and a great smile always work wonders too. This exudes safety, support and confidence – even if you’re feeling nervous yourself about teaching "naked" for the first time.
Ultimately, it’s about developing your own ideas and believing that you can teach something truly amazing, without the use of resources. Remember that you are your best resource – always.