February 3, 2011

Classroom Management

While watching the video, I first noticed the huge differences between classrooms in 1947 and classrooms today. All the desks were facing front, in neat rows and columns. I find in most current classrooms have desks clustered and facing in all directions, or arranged in concentric arcs like in an auditorium. When the students answered questions, they stood up and spoke without permission while modern classroom teachers require their students to raise their hands and wait to be called on. If I were the teacher, I wouldn’t have done the math myself when explaining the conversion problem. I would have focused on bigger concepts, or asked the students how to do the math.

I found it familiar that while the teacher was gone, the students talked and goofed around. This was common in many of my high school classes. One of the things I found unfamiliar was the fact that the teacher was working on the board while the silent class watched and took notes. As a high school student most of my teachers would take a more active role and engage the class.

In the first scenario, the teacher expected the students to be well behaved and silent. He expected them to know how to study and raise their grades without knowing how. In the second scenario, the teacher asked more questions and expected the students to participate. He was still expecting good behavior but was more lenient when punishing bad behavior. With this friendlier attitude, the students respected him more and were less likely to act out.

Reflecting on this video in class, we talked about the six NCTM principles.

  • Equity was the most apparent issue. The class was probably 100% white. The teacher was using examples that were sexist. Girls were supposed to be good at cooking and boys were supposed to be good at building.
  • Regarding Learning, the students were all expected to learn the way the teacher taught. There was no accountability for differences in learning styles.
  • The Teaching was not student-centered and very lecture oriented. In a modern classroom, the teaching is supposed to be more interactive.
  • In the second scenario, the teacher was more critical of the Curriculum. When demonstrating a problem, the teacher left no “wait time”, or student interaction. The focus was on the conversion from yards into feet.
  • Using the Assessment, the teacher could figure out which topics the students had most trouble with.
  • The only available Technology in 1947 was the textbooks, chalkboard, and pencil and paper (used traditionally).


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