Understanding the kids

There were eight reading materials to be read for this module, but I was fortunately able to finish them in time since they were short, but more importantly, more interesting than the previous topic. Teacher professionalism was a good topic, and a novel one to note, but I guess since one of the major factors I had in taking PTC in the first place was to give me a hand on properly handling my students, this student-inclined topic touched on my interest more. Actually, if I wasn’t so side-tracked with other non-academic, non-work-related stuff, I would’ve posted this journal sooner. *Sigh* And I thought I’ve improved as a student. Well, I have to try better.

 

This week’s module was called Teaching Skill, though I think the central idea of the source materials was on the teacher understanding the student for effective teaching. In instructional planning, Airasian, Engemann, and Gallagher (2007) pointed that the teacher should consider the student from the point that the teacher selects the topic to choose, to modifying the content to fit the student’s age and learning style, to delivering. Moreover, it was suggested by Jones (2015) that in managing class properly, teachers have to take into consideration that all students have personal needs. Students behave well when these needs are met in class. To meet these needs by students, the material about building positive teacher-student relationships can aid this area. Teachers have to use the interpersonal skills to build bridges between the teacher and student roles by showing care through showing interest, listening actively, using humor, etc. Probably, one of the best tip I learned from that material is the use of “I” statements to encourage, not praise (Gordon, 2003; cited by Scarlett, Ponte, and Singh, 2009). Personally, none of my teachers have used this method as I remember, but I guess with the changing of times, a positive frame fits this generation better who reacts rather radically on strict style of discipline. As a finale, the module wraps on the topic of student diversity (Cruickshank, Metcalf, & Jenkins, 2009; Jansen, 2009) which not only cover cultural and racial differences, but on social, gender, language, and learning style differences, also. The teacher has to understand and accept the diversity that makes a class and plan lessons according to building on established strengths to transform weaknesses of diverse areas, also. Whether the class are divided due to language or cultural differences, the teacher has to build a positive relationship with each of these students as well as look at them as a group, write an instructional plan that works on that diversity to have a great class management.

As I was reading through the materials, I was reminded of the teachers I had in the past. My favorite ones, and the ones I found most effective. I cited one English teacher during my high school days in one of my forum answers for this module, so I’ll talk about another favorite teacher in high school: Mrs. Ypil!

Mrs. Ypil was our Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) teacher whom was notorious for her classes. At the very start of the class term, she would state her expectations from the students, topic coverage, and her class rules. One of the activities she had for each class was a game called, “The Weakest Link”. Once a week, there would be a recitation for the topics covered for that week which could start anywhere from the room and so on. She would ask random questions based on the readings (we can open our books to frantically search answers) then, if we can answer, we survive to the next game, or we get a low score. Not a failing one of course, but just low enough to get your parents questioning if you’re an average-performing student. This game was nerve-wracking, but I remember it being very fun also. Moreover, the game kept us on our toes the whole time. We would have to listen closely to her lectures and review our lessons to survive the game. And actually, her delivery of topics were seamless and interesting. She was a big and intimidating teacher, but she also used humor from time to time to get the attention of the students. I remember her line being, “Mapunit yan!” when she spots a student yawning, but she never pointed out. Some students cannot approach her outside of class because the game affected her image, but since I was part of the school newspaper, I had chances of interacting with teachers in the faculty room at times, and that’s when I got to know her just as Mrs. Ypil, the funny, smart woman. I kinda wish to be a version of her in the future. 🙂

I am very grateful for these readings as I get to reflect on myself as a teacher and as a person every time. Before, I would day-dream of having a boyfriend or traveling, but now I day-dream of having a smooth-flowing class with the students learning while having fun in my class. What is this sorcery?! Haha. Well, I’ll take that as a good thing.

“No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” – James Comer


References:

Airasian, P. W., Engemann, J. F., and Gallagher, T. L. (2007). Instructional planning and assessment (Chapter 3). In Classroom assessment: Concepts and applications – First Canadian edition. Toronto, ON, Canada: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

Jones, V. (2015). Understanding effective classroom management (Chapter 1). In Practical classroom management (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson, pp 1 -16

Scarlett, W. G., Ponte, I. C., & Singh, J. P. (2009). Building positive teacher – student relationships (Chapter 3). In Approaches to behavior and classroom management. SAGE Publications.

Cruickshank, D. R., Metcalf, K. K., & Jenkins, D. B. (2009). Teaching diverse students (Chapter 3). In The act of teaching. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Jensen, E. (2009). How Poverty Affects Behavior and Academic Performance. In Teaching with Poverty in Mind. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109074/chapters/How-Poverty-Affects-Behavior-and-Academic-Performance.aspx

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