My current philosophy about creating a productive learning environment is that students should teach each other. More often than not, students feel more comfortable talking to their peers than their teachers. The role of a teacher should be that of a facilitator, a guide for when people are lost. Not all students will have the same knowledge, but their input will be valuable for the learning experience.
The most effective moments in the classroom is when students work together. Before students have to take a quiz, I give the students a practice quiz. Students work on the quiz together, then we go over the problems as a class. While students are working together, I can focus on personal instruction. Individual students will have questions about the practice quiz, and those are the opportunities when students will finally “get” the material. Those opportunities arise more often when they first work with other students, because they often ask the question as a group.
Classroom management is very important, regardless of what the students are doing. Even when they are working in groups, it’s important that each group can function on its own. Even then, students need affirmation that what they’re doing is correct. Now granted, I certainly cannot make every student pay attention to me. There will be students who will look right through me. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. As that old saying goes: I can’t make a horse drink, but I can certainly lead him to water. When it comes to Mathematics, I am an excellent guide in doing just that.
This is an excellent article! I never thought the predictability of “cool kids” becoming premature failures would be so scientific. It was a common problem I saw from the people in high school, and so I selectively chose the people I hung out with. Even as an adolescent, I knew those could would grow up to be delinquents, because there was one giant trait about them: their personality was insubstantial.
Now I agree that positive social interactions are key for getting the right job. There is nothing wrong of building a friendship that is beneficial. If I was a high school freshman again, I would probably try to build more friendships. The problem with “cool kids” is that their friendships are not substantial. The common bond with each other stems from a concept that is premature in nature. I knew which friendships I chose and which ones I avoided. I’m glad to say my most of my high school friends have their Bachelor’s degree, and they are making something out of their lives.
Fortunately, Homer High School is not made of delinquents. When I was in high school, the average GPA was a 3.6, which is really good! I made sure not to involve myself in illegal activities, and I earned over a 4.0 GPA. I was valedictorian for my class, and just recently I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. One of my 4.0 friends graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, and just recently he published an iphone app. In high school he did not care to be premature, and now he doesn’t need to rely n his high school personality to be successful.
I think of rebellion as a failure in nearly every situation. A parent is able to give valuable advice based on personal experience. I listened to my parents while I was in high school and now I have excellent academic performance. I know in a society that values paperwork so much, I’m opening up my options by succeeding in school. I just wish my peers understood that earlier.