In order to create a productive learning environment, I would aim primarily to create a class that is challenging for students. Secondarily, I would give students as much feedback and opportunities to contribute as possible. I think we are most motivated when we are doing something that is relevant and engaging, and as I consider these two qualities of an effective classroom, I would recall the information on Universal Design Learning that we reviewed for our last quiz. I would remember that what I find engaging may not always be what appeals to my students. We are also motivated when we are recognized for the efforts we contribute to a relevant cause, and to that end, I would shape the time in my class so that I always have time to provide intentional, specific feedback on their work. For example, I hope to do a fair amount of conferencing with students on their papers since it’s often much easier and less time-consuming to share something orally than through writing.
I’m looking forward to letting these goals guide my practice in the classroom and hope that this might be one example of something that is as easy as it sounds:)
Happy Tuesday Night, Everyone.
- Website for Classroom Management: https://ed.ted.com/
Educational videos seem to be gaining popularity exponentially. TED-ED is a wonderful resource that brings together a lot of smartly animated lessons as well as celebrity lectures into a clear format searchable by subject, series, or popularity. In the Language and Literature section, for instance, there is a short video on the power of simple words. The animation in the video makes the lesson memorable, and like many of the other videos on this site, it is accompanied by a quiz, information about the creators, and a way to “dig deeper’ into the topic.
- Blog on Classroom Management: https://public-groups.nea.org/discussion/forum/show/162197
The link above takes us to the question and answer forum with the NEA’s expert on classroom management. I chose this link for two reasons: First, I liked the feature where you could actually write in with a question. As soon as I am back in the classroom and feel I have a real question to pose, I’m going to try that function. Second, many of the issues brought to the expert of a legal slant and I think this is one element of classroom management we don’t always consider or fully understand. For instance, what are the parents’ right in a classroom controlled by the behavior of one particularly disruptive student? This question is one of many that reflects a complex situation with many involved parties; I like that this blog-style website, given that its associated with our national union, considers not only good practices but also legal ones.
- Video for Classroom Management: https://www.edutopia.org/classroom-management-teacher-tips-video
On Edutopia, a playlist of classroom management “Tricks of the Trade’ can be found at this link above. The video is a running playlist of short vignettes featuring small, seemingly insignificant classroom management choices from a variety of classrooms. The videos show the tool in action, provides an explanative narrative, and concludes with a short interview with each teacher to hear their rationale for the trick.
Looking forward to checking out everyone’s lists,
I enjoyed the conversation that Paul Berg’s five-piece series has started. In my limited time in Alaska in Fairbanks and on the Kenai, I could tell that the issues surrounding Native education and acculturation were highly sensitive. While in Fairbanks in 2003-2005 working on my Master’s in English, I remember seeing so many Native men walking the streets late at night, nearly incoherent. To me, that’s what Paul Berg’s and the New Zealand professor’s notion of “acultural’ looks like. I also recall two Native students I had a Kenai Peninsula College in a composition class: one was quiet and demure like Judith Kleinfeld describes and another was confident and eager to receive her Elementary Education degree so she could return to her village and teach. She was one of the best writers in the class and her parents both had Master’s degrees. It seemed as though her decision to get a degree and return to her village originated from her own family’s ability to appreciate the importance of their culture and heritage but also to assimilate into a Western educational structure. Her story makes me believe that the future of Alaska Native education has to include clear steps that prepare the village students to enter the Western education system. I believe that in order to have the assertiveness and vision to enter this world, however, the village elders and students have to be empowered in the way Berg describes. Having a strong sense of purpose, place, and culture is, I think, the way anyone–not just Alaskan Natives–is encouraged to journey beyond their natural physical borders so that they might eventually return to them more fully prepared to lead the community forward.
In the comments that followed Berg’s piece, I heard a great deal of fear that has become a distressing form of ethnocentrism. Berg tried desperately not to blame anyone by insisting that all the attempted and failed solutions were introduced with the best of intentions. His opening about the Sami people provided a relevant historical example; just because someone such as Berg wants to learn from historical examples does not mean he wants to be divisive, as some comments suggest. It makes sense to consider historical precedence when making decisions about the future. I also believe his article was solely interested in discovering the best way to empower the villages. Obviously, past and current strategies are not working as well as they could, so why not consider using approaches that have worked for other Native populations?
Ideally, an Alaskan Native village could be educationally self-sufficient. The problem is, we can change the educational content as much as we want but the structure itself is definitively Western. I’m not sure Alaska is ready, or should be for that matter, to change the structure of education for the rural villages to reflect the Native cultural predispositions. So long as we are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, we’re going to need outside help to scaffold the process.
It was great to learn more about everyone’s experiences and perspectives in our class on Thursday.
Here are the four rules I would post in my high school English classroom:
1) Listen carefully before speaking.
2) Ask a question when something is unclear.
3) Bring required materials to class.
4) Think before you act.
As I considered the rules I wanted to implement in my class, I first thought about what I want my students to learn on a social level. More than anything, I want my students to learn how to engage. I feel that if they are engaged with the ideas and other students in our class, then I will not have to worry as much about whether or not they are seated or raising their hand to speak. Respect seems to be at the heart of every rule whether that rule is setting physical, emotional, or educational boundaries.
Here is a link to a website that discusses the differences between preventive, supportive, and corrective disciplines as teachers consider their classroom management plan: https://ci.columbia.edu/ci/tools/0511/index.html. It also includes a brief self-evaluation to see what you already know about these three types and how they might be used in the classroom. I like this website because it clearly defines the types and then provides a relatively comprehensive list for each of how you might use them in the class. It also helps us remember that classroom management is not strictly a corrective enterprise–that managing a class well often comes down to the preventive or supportive rules and policies we have in place.
I hope everyone has a great week. I look forward to the blog posts to follow.
Here’s my Wordle:
It was wonderful to meet everyone last night in our first class. I’m Sherry Lohmeyer. Up until the summer, my husband and I lived in Soldotna, AK, with our two-year-old and two Labs. Now, we’ve moved back to Tallahassee, FL, to be closer to family. On July 27th, I had a big ‘ole baby boy. I’m currently teaching online classes with Kenai Peninsula College while staying home with my two little ones. I taught high school English and community college for a few years before moving to Alaska, and I’m really looking forward to this course and progressing toward a Master’s in Education in general. My hope is to return to the high school classroom as a fully certified English teacher.
For now, my hobbies include reading “Go, Dog! Go.” three times a day and cutting off the crusts on PB and J. I’ve also rediscovered a love for swinging on swingsets. I keep a regular blog for family, also through Wordpress, and try to read all our current issues of Harper’s and The New Yorker. When I think about myself as a teacher again, I hope to design and implement a challenging curriculum that feels accessible and inspiring to students. I love teaching English.