Monday, June 26, 2006

Summer School Reflection

What I really learned in summer school is how a teacher’s teaching style “creates” a certain classroom environment. I watched a couple of authoritarian teachers, and the differences between my class and theirs were very noticeable. I am more of an authoritative teacher (I took an online quiz). I took notes on the good and the bad of each. This is all opinion, of course.

First, authoritarian teachers have presence. Everyone knows who the teacher is. The authoritarian teacher has an attentive class, but more because the teacher tells the students to pay attention, not always because the students fell fully engaged. The teacher does a lot of the writing on the board, while asking the students questions about what is being written on the board. The students do not discuss the material with themselves, and the students do not ask the teacher many questions, especially during the guided part of the lesson. The teacher does not come to the students, but instead places some distance between the teacher and students.

On the other hand, the authoritative teacher has rules but also encourages independence. I think I’m this. I don’t believe in making the students raise their hands, and I don’t really make the students be interested in the lesson. I’m more a part of the class. I’m always walking around the room, talking with the students, asking specific questions to make sure they understand. The students can pretty much ask questions anytime they feel. The students don’t sit for long in my class. I’m either picking people to write on the dry erase board, or I give one student a dry erase marker and say, “when you finish your problem, you can give the marker to any one you choose.” It changes it up a bit. The advantages—the classroom works for different learning styles. Some kids need to go to the board (most kids), some kids need to hear it, some students need to discuss it with other students. It isn’t intimidating at all. There is more of a free flow to the class. Personally, I love it. It fits me, which is the most important thing.

Also worth noting, I’m overly organized. The board, the notes, the students’ notebooks, everything is structured down to the last detail. It helps me feel in control enough to let the students have some freedoms in leading the discussion.


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