Thursday, January 7, 2010


I realize now that I was spoiled in my last student teaching experience. My teacher was very big into cooperative learning and self-esteem. She made sure from the very first day that her classroom was a respectful and safe place to learn. From what I observed her philosophy is that it is perfectly fine to BE wrong, so long as you from it. Often she would give them the right answer, and they would the have to explain why the answer was correct.

Not to nay-say my teacher, I think she is wonderful, but this classroom is not built on that philosophy. (Which, I'll admit, is a very different philosophy then I have seen any other teacher employ.) This classroom does not follow that philosophy. The students worked in groups to create a pamphlet of Texas facts and they struggled with it. The groups argued and got impatient with one another when the work was not progressing fast enough. Often they would get so mired down with their arguments that myself or Ms. Howard had to step in and get them moving again.

One of my most recent pet peeves is the students saying "that's easy" when another student struggles with an answer. I always turn to the commenter and say, "Easy for you." More than once I've gotten back, "No, easy for everyone." Which is just plain not true. Comments like this make it hard to get the struggling student to venture an answer because they might be 'wrong'. As a teacher is is very frustrating.

Another thing I have noticed is that very few of these kids will venture an answer that may even possibly be wrong. On a rough draft they will redraw a picture several times to make it 'right', and will often give up if they cannot get it 'right'.

So, what do I do now? How do I get these students to work well in groups, as well as bolster their self-confidence? I believe that it is easier to learn from a wrong answer than a right answer, but when the kids plain will not answer a question for fear of being wrong... what I can I do?

To Do:
1. Ask Ms. Howard if I can see the report card.
2. Keep up on anecdotal notes.
3. Check out Triad.

Something Cool:
Ms. Howard sent me an email saying that the museum district down here is having a day for the teachers. They've got presentations in the morning and then educators get a free pass to all of the museums. If you go to at least three of the presentations you also get a certificate saying that you did it. I signed up right away, this should be interesting.

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