A little more than a week ago I did my last observation at Hathaway Brown school. It really made me reflect on all that I had learned this year and got me super excited about all the things to come. For this week I walked into the school with a question very similar to the previous on, but with the intention of exploring a certain detail further. The question I came in with was what tools does the teacher use to teach the lessons?
The first class that I observed for this visit was a Spanish class. I was shocked and struck right a way by the fact that the class was taught all in spanish. Both the student and teacher spoke only in Spanish to each other. From a person who knows no Spanish this was incredible to see how all the students could communicate almost perfect in another language. I discovered soon that this was an important tool the teacher used to teach. By teaching in Spanish she truly immersed her students in the language. I learned that this was a great way to teach vocab and pronunciation. All in all I was super impressed by the teachers use of the language itself to teach her students to pick up on all the other parts.
The other tool the Spanish teacher used was worksheets. Through the worksheets the students were able to visualize the sentences as well as listening too them. The worksheets helped with comprehension, reading, and visualization. I believe that worksheets are an important part of teaching because they can help reinforce skills taught and help students to visualize the important parts of the material.
The last class I visited that day was Mr. Hoffman’s History class. The tools Mr. Hoffman uses to teach are different then the Spanish teacher. He liked to use a power point and discussion. The power point would be an outline essentially in order to serve as objectives for the days class. This is a good idea and tool because it helps as teachers to keep that connection and communication with students about what is to be learned and what is expected. As stated before Mr. Hoffman often uses discussion extensively. This helps the students thoughts to be discussed freely and exchanged openly. Discussing things is a powerful tool cause it can help students to identify personal with the material and with their classmates.
The last major tool that the history teacher uses for success is videos. The videos are used to reinforce the concepts that were covered in the lessons. It is good because it helps students visualize the material and make connections. Another important outcome of movies is that it reaches our students in a different way. When we use videos it is another persons understand or wording. So essentially it exposes students to other peoples interpretations and thoughts as well.
Overall, it has been a great chance and opportunity to observe at Hathaway Brown this year. I learned a lot from my visits and was very impressed by the school and community. These observations got me really excited about my future in teaching and I can’t wait to move forward.
On April 14th I took my 4th trip to Hathaway Brown school in order to do observations. For this day I had a chance to observe both a History class and an English class. Once again I was impressed by the students of the school and all their wonderful, joy for learning. The question I came in with, when observing the school was, how does the teacher reach his or her students?
In the history class they were talking about the Communist path of China. The teacher, Ms. Ali Day, did a typical lecture based class, but put her own spin on it. She taught her whole lecture by projecting Chinese propaganda images and pictures of Communist leaders. I found this to be quite interesting and very effective. The teacher chose to reach her students in a visual way. I believe it was really helpful to display these propaganda images because it helped show what the Chinese people saw as well.
Another tool the teacher used that was effective in reaching the students was the documents she gave to the students. The teacher based out documents about first hand accounts of what went on during this time period. This is a great way to reach our students because it gives an important way to connect to what was going on during this period from the people that lived through it.
Thus, I have concluded that an important and effective way for us as teachers to reach our students is to help them visualize what is going on. Likewise, especially in history it is important to provide our students with first hand accounts of what went on during certain time periods. In order to reinforce the lessons in class.
In the English the teacher also used the theme of visualization to reach her students. The students were currently reading a play by Oscar Wilde and were discussing it in great detail in class. The teacher believed it would be effective to show clips of the actually play as it was performed. This was really amazing because it helped establish this visualize connection in the students mind about how the work could be interpreted. In addition, it gave the students a chance to compare their visualization with another persons which spurred great discussion among the class. At the end the teacher asked this exact question bout what they thought of the directors interpretation and also how the students themselves visualized the play.
Overall, through visualization, we as teachers can directly reach our students and help them prosper in their own way. I found this idea of a teacher reaching their student very similar to one of Paulo Friere’s ideas. Friere said, “through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-student and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist” (Friere 110). This quotation shows the importance of reaching our students and communicating with them. If we have this open dialogue with our students learning because something truly amazing and trans-formative.
Friere, Paulo. “The Banking Concept of Education”. Educational Foundations. Ed. Alan Canestrari and Bruce Marlowe. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. 2013.103-115. Print.
About a week ago I had the chance to take my third trip to Hathaway Brown to do teacher observations. I believe this was one of my best observations yet because their was just much awesome stuff to observe. For this week I sat in on a U.S. History class and a AP World History class.
THe question I enetered into this time was what is the teacher like? From my observation of Mr. Carl Hoffman, the U.S. History teacher, was that he was a kind and positive individual. He really seemed to care about his students and respect them as people. Mr. Hoffman sought often the students opinions on particular topics or lessons and really developed his lesson plans around them and what they seemed to enjoy. An important part of Mr. Hoffman’s class was the idea everyone working together in the learning environment. I observed the students discussing in depth the topics they were being taught about. Likewise, the students would bring up current events to Mr. Hoffman to try and make connections to the world around them. The teacher was always very patient and really listened to what his students had to say and valued their contributions. Though he had to lecture at some parts of the class to reinforce material, Mr. Hoffman made the lecture a time to connect with the students too. It seemed that in every lecture he tried to make connections with his personal life or things students may have knowledge of to reinforce the historical lessons.
I feel that what I observed in Mr. Hoffman’s class was the personification of the building bridges idea. He seemed to have this strong bond with his students. IN addition., both student and teacher came together in the classroom to make a strong learning environment.
The next teacher I observed was Mr. Purpura. He seemed to have a very different style then Mr. Hoffman had demonstrated. The teacher ran his class more on a lecture basis and from him I could see a true passion for the subject. Mr. Purpura loved what he was doing and was very passionate about his subject and students. He would lecture the class, but also go out of his way to answer questions and help students make important connection.
From the Ap World class I witnessed how dedicated teachers are to their students. The great teachers are the ones committed to making a difference in their students lives and seeing the power they have. A great teacher has to have a strong bond with his students and be able to nurture that bond and help it grow in the pursuit of learning.
Yesterday in class I had the opportunity to do my clinical teaching experience with Matt Byron and Grace DeMarco. As a group we had a chance to teach about the chapter “Poor Teaching For Poor Children… In the Name of Reform”. The chapter was all about how students from inner city schools are taught and how we are failing at helping these students. Instead of teaching these students valuable skills we are just preparing them for a test which doomed to fail them as our students. Another issue touched upon in the chapter was the idea of unequal funding and how we are not providing our inner city schools with enough funding to help them.
In order to convey the important themes and messages of this chapter we sought to focus on the problem on a national scale. Not only did we touch upon the issues in the chapter, but as a group we attempted to show them on a national scale. We wanted to inform to the class that the problem related to them personally.
Overall, I believe our group was really effective at teaching the lesson. We did a good job of summarizing the important parts of the chapter and having discussions with the class. I think one of the best things we did as a group was to seek the opinions and promote classroom discussions. That is an important part of being a teacher, stimulating discussions in class and seeking students personal stories and opinions. It makes the topic real and personal to them. Another part of the lesson that I though our group excelled at was to help students see the problem as a larger one. The problem of school funding is not just caused by nothing it stems from a problem at the national level. Likewise, our group made fantastic use of technology and that was a really important to our teaching experience.
Personally, I think I did well as the class went along. At the beginning of the class I think I really struggled a little I had some unfamiliarity initially that caused me to feel uncomfortable and struggle. However, see I regained my composure and collected myself. From that point on I felt that I really succeed in teaching the class, developing questions, and really reaching my students.
This experience was really great because it gave me an opportunity to be in control of a classroom with some help and support. I think the hardest part was the unfamiliarity of the subject and situation. However, As time went along I felt that I began to achieve great success and had lots of fun working with the class. It was a great exercise to show you what it is like to run and control a class.
16 April 2015
For the This I Believe Project I want to take a look at the theme of Democratic Pedagogy and how it can be used in the classroom. In a broad sense, I am entering into the discussion of how we as future teachers should manage and run our classrooms. Also, I am looking out how teachers should have more say in their courses and way the course is taught. I believe that democratic classroom and pedagogy is the best way for teachers to run their classrooms. This is because with a democratic pedagogy the students, parents, and teacher are all united in one. This theme of equality and unity is a topic I would like to further explore.
The major hope and belief that my paper is centered around is that one day the classroom, curriculum, and school districts will become a more democratic process and environment. I believe that it is time that teachers as well as parents had a larger say in the way that the schools teach their students and how classes are run. Likewise, I hope that same day soon both teachers and students will be liberated in the classroom. In my belief, the classroom of the future and the one I hope to teach in is an environment where students are liberated and are respected individuals.
In my own personal experiences in school, I always felt oppressed by the way things were run. I feel like in the classroom my voice mattered very little. Also, in certain cases my classmates and I were told at that our opinions did not matter and that what the teacher said was basically law. This had a very negative impact on my and made me think as an aspiring teacher. I decided I wanted my future classroom environment to be different. I came to the conclusion that a big component I wanted in the classroom was respect and equality and this is why the democratic pedagogy was so attractive to me. In the future I wanted my classroom to be a liberating one. A place where student’s ideas were respected and value and a place where the students had a say in what was taught as well as how it was taught.
In addition, some of teachers in my district seemed to be just as oppressed as I was. In particular a few of my History teachers in the past seemed to be forced to teach a certain way and certain material. They had their whole curriculum handed down to them by the school district which told them they had to teach a certain way. These instances formed an even stronger need within in my to change the way the teachers were dealt with. I believe that teacher’s relations with the district should be democratic too. It is time for the teachers to have a bigger role in what they teach and how they teach it and I believe democratic pedagogy in the classroom and democratic relations with the school district will aid in the process becoming fairer.
The big question that I really have going forward with the paper is how effective will the democratic pedagogy be. Also, I want to know why schools refuse or are hesitant of trying this new pedagogy. I have actually already found some sources regarding how to successful implement the process in the classroom. Thus, I know that it can be done, but I believe by reaching out and finding a true success story about the implementation will further help my case.
In conclusion, I believe that with the sources, personal experiences, and other experiences I will be able to make a strong case for Democratic Pedagogy. In my belief I have enough sources to prove the benefits of Democratic Pedagogy. Therefore, I have concluded and will prove that Democratic Pedagogy can be instituted in the classroom and can greatly benefit our future students.
Just a few weeks ago on March 12th, I was able to make my second observation trip to Hathaway Brown School. This time when I came to the school I was interested in how the students interacted with the teacher and themselves. The first class I observed that day was Ms. Ali Day’s history class. In the class the students were working on computers and having a discussion on the Holocaust. I observed that the room was naturally inclined for discussions because all the desks were arranged in a big table with everyone facing each other. This set up helped create a sense of community among the students because they could all see each other and pay attention to who was speaking. Also, it seemed to create a sense of belonging in the classroom. every one was eager to participate in the discussion and provide their own opinions.
Another key point I noticed about this particular class is that the students were free. They were free to be themselves, have their own ideas, and speak their minds. The students never just gave the teacher the answer they thought he or she wanted to hear. Instead they truly thought about and internalized the question. This led to the girls producing deep and thoughtful ideas based off their beliefs and thoughts. The students specifically were discussing primary documents about the Holocaust and asked very intriguing questions such as why didn’t the allies help the Jews? Questions such as these show that the students are always thinking about the readings and asking questioning what they read.
The last class I observed that day was a tenth grade physics class. This class was relatively small and was only comprised of about 10 students. It provide a new dynamic then I was used to because most classes I have ever been in or observed were about 20 to 30 students. I believe this small class dynamic was even more helpful in producing that community type classroom in which all students are eager to learn and participate. It offered a personal relationship between student and teacher as well. One could clearly see that the students in the class were very comfortable with their teacher. The teacher had developed a personal body and friendship with her students that greatly aided in them learning the material. Just like most of the other classes I observed at Hathaway Brown, the students always were eager to participate and offer their own opinions.
Recently our education class took its last and final observation trip to Shaker middle school. For this last and final observation I came in with the questions What does the school look like? and who are our students? I used these two questions to guide my observations of the classes that morning.
The first thing I noticed about the school itself was that it was a coed and very diverse community. Throughout the school I observed many different types of people and cultures working together in the classroom as one. It was so fascinating to see all these different types of students coming together as one and I think that has to do a lot with the curriculum of the school. Shaker middle school is an International Baccalaureate school, which focuses in preparing students for the world around the world. It also focuses especially on international issues outside of just the U.S.
The first class that I observed was a world history class. The students were working on a paper for the class and the teacher was walking around to help them. The teacher was always eager to answer questions and to extent had to discipline students. In one instance the teacher had to get a student to calm down because he was acting up. The teacher politely calmed down and did what he was asked. I left shortly after because the class was almost finished.
The next class I observed was a United States history class. The class was working on a historical rap project. I found this project very interesting and cool because it gave the students a chance to demonstrate and express what they knew through a creative outlet. Most of the students seemed eager to participate in the project, while others became dissatisfied and gave up. However, with some and attention from the teacher these students got back on track and continued to work on their projects. All in all, I found the project interesting and useful because it gave the students a chance to interact, be creative, and display what they know about the material.
The last major observation I made was about who the students were themselves. I noticed in the classroom that there were often three distinct types of middle school students. The ones who were very focused on the task at hand and the assignment, the kids that liked to goof around, and the kids that appeared to want to have nothing to do with school. I think that as teachers it is essential for us to keep this in mind. In our classes no matter what age these camps and characteristics can emerge and that is not a bad thing. It just means that you need to pay more attention to the students as individuals. See what makes them tick and how they are best suited to learn and get excited about the material. Personalize what you teach and get the students involved.
After taking the time to look back at all my previous blog posts and reflecting on them I have come up with a few simple statements of what I believe as a person going into teaching. I believe in a few simple, yet very powerful statements. I believe in open mindedness in the classroom. I believe in the power of the relationship created between students and teachers. I believe that teachers should have a part in designing the curriculum they teach and the school themselves. Finally, I believe that democratic education is the best type of education system for my classroom.
The first statement I believe in is that the classroom should produce an environment of open mindedness. I feel that all students should be free to present their ideas without fear of judgement for others. By having this open minded environment students would be free from judgement and feel respected by their peers and teachers. It is important as teachers to nurture this friendly environment and great a place where all students are free to be who they are without fear.
Also, I believe that the students and teacher have a unique and powerful relationship. I believe that it is the job of our teachers to build bridges with their students and create a fun and exciting learning environment. The bridges can be built in many different ways. One way to build a bridge is to show the students the real world implications and application of the problem. This analysis helps create for the student a way to see how the problem really effects them and provide their own solutions to the problems. In Bill Ayers book he directly addresses this issue of the bridge building saying, “I want to engage folks in discussions leading to informed decisions about reality” (108). This is important for us as future teachers, we need to see that the students are really people and have a reality around them. It is time for us to help them see the problem in relation to their world. The relationship of respect between student and teacher and produce so much good in the classroom. It can create a unique and fun learning environment, where all share equality.
Another strong idea I have about education is that teachers should have a hand in designing the curriculum and the school. Many teachers today that I have noticed today only have the power to control the way they teach. They really have no say in what they teacher or how the school operates. I believe this is a great injustice. How can we expect teachers to reach to the youths and create a strong relationship with them if they have no say in the school. I believe teachers should be allowed to work with students and parents to design the curriculum and I believe teachers should have a heavy hand in making decisions in the school.
The final point I believe most strongly in his the power of democratic schooling. The article, “Success in East Harlem” addresses this theory. It says that there should be an importance on nurturing the values of democracy in the classroom (144). This is important in creating a sense of equality and democracy in the class. I do not believe that today’s education system has it right with the teachers being told what to do as well as the students. I feel there should be a collaborative effort between the parties and there parents to provide for the students best interest because that’s who its really all about, the students. It is time that we gave the students more freedom to be who they are in the class and let them explore who they want to become. I believe a democratic learning style would provide this freedom for the students. It would allow them to explore what really interests them and build the strong relationship with their teachers. Also, I believe that by having this democratic environment it will reinforce to the students the idea of respect between student and teacher. This is due to the fact that they are basically equals. The teacher may still have some power over the students, but all in all a friendly and fair system of education, where all are equal has been achieved.
Ayers, William and Ryan Alexander-Tanner. To Teach: They Journey in Comics. New York: Teachers College Press, 2010. Print.
Meier, Deborah. “Success in East Harlem”. Educational Foundations. Ed. Alan Canestrari and Bruce Marlowe. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. 2013.141-150. Print.
On March 10th I had the pleasure of observing a few classes at Hathaway Brown school.The school itself is a small all girls school in Shaker heights, Ohio, near the campus of John Carroll University. The first thing that struck me about the school itself was the environment. The school serves girls in the grades K-12 and is a private school. The I had only really been exposed to a public co-ed school so I was really interested in experiencing this new learning environment.
The classes were all relatively small. The biggest class I was observing was a 20 girl English class. In my belief I think these small classes are very conducive to learning because they give the class a sense of community among the students themselves. In my observations of both Mr. Cumi’s 20 girl, 9th grade English class and Mr. Hoffman’s 5 girl, 12th grade politics class this feeling was the same. Each of the students felt connected to each other and created a loving learning environment around each other. In both the classes I observed I noticed that each of the girls voluntarily participated on a regular basis. In contrast to many of my personal experiences, the teacher never had to force the classes to participate. This was really amazing to me has an individual to see the enthusiasm and excitement for class that was taking place in the school.
Another important observation I made was that the girls are never afraid of being judged or being wrong. As one teacher told me, “the girls in the school are not distracted and this seems to give them confidence. Also it gives them drive to further their learning no matter what.” The teacher’s ideas reflect very accurately on what I have observed at Hathaway Brown. It is an environment that I believes in-powers the girls attending and gives them the confidence they deserve. Likewise, the girls are never afraid of being wrong or judged by their peers because the school provides a sense of family. As A.S. Neil talks about in his article, “the Idea of Summerhill”, the learning environment is very important and must be focused on the student. He argues thats what makes a good school. In his essay Neil states, ” we set out to make a school in which we allow freedom to be themselves” (Neil 135). This is exactly what I see at Hathaway Brown. The students are passionate about their school and feel that they have freedom. This is important in contributing to the family feel of the school. The students feel that they have the freedom to do what they want and say. So, this creates an environment where all students are respected and are free to express their ideas. That is what I believe makes a good school, a place where a child’s freedom is respected.
In conclusion, my first observation at Hathaway Brown has been a remarkable and memorable one. I have learned a lot about this new environment that I had never been exposed to. My observations on March 10th taught me one very important thing about myself. As a future teacher, I believe in the power of smaller classes and their ability to create a sense of family. I also believe that within that small environment, the students ideas can be fully respected and brought to fruition.
Neil, A.S. “The Idea of Summerhill”. Educational Foundations. Ed. Alan Canestrari and Bruce Marlowe. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. 2013.133-140. Print.
A couple weeks ago our education class took a trip to the lovely Cleveland Heights high school. The students, teachers, and workers were some of the friendliest people I have ever met and I was excited to start my observation. For the observation I was placed in Ms. Bauer-Blazer’s macroeconomics classroom. The question that would come to guide my observation of this 11th grade macroeconomics class was, how does the teacher interact with her students?
This was a little difficult to answer initially because while I was in the classroom the kids were assigned a test that day. However, I came to learn a lot about how a teacher can properly and successfully interact with the students in his or her classroom. The first thing I observed about the teacher and student interaction is how when the student had a question the teacher was always there to help out. Before the students even received the test the teacher asked if anyone had question and proceed to answer all of them. This was an important action because it helped address the students last minute needs and uncertainties before they took the test. Also, the teacher reviewed many of the important themes from the lessons and helped the students figure out the answers to their own questions.
After all the questions are fully answered the teacher makes jokes with the students and helps them to relax. This is very important because it shows the strong bond the teacher has with her students. As stated in chapter 4 of Bill Ayers “To Teach” it is important to build the bridge or relationship between the student and teacher. In this chapter Ayers says, “teaching always involves a human being engaged with other human beings” (58). This quotation from the book sums up this whole situation of the teacher joking around with the students and helping them relax before a test. It is important as teachers that we develop a personal relationship with our students and seeing things from their perspective as well. The teacher must keep in mind the stress and uncertainty they once had as students taking tests and recognize that pain in their students. Then the teacher can truly comfort and develop that bond with his or her students.
Another distinct feature of Ms. Bauer-Blazer’s class was the syllabus she created for each unit. The class is an AP Macroeconomics class so to some extent the chapters and materials that need to be covered are set in stone. However, it is important to remember as teachers to engage our students with our plans (Ayers 97). Ms. Bauer-Blazer definitely does that. She takes the material from the AP rubric and turns it into fun projects and activities. So by doing that she makes the subject matter fun and exciting, which in turn engages the students.
The last key observation I made was about the room. The classroom is decorated all over with students’; projects, trophies, and posters. This is important because it shows again that bond of respect between the student and teacher. It shows how the teacher recognizes and sees the power of the students in the class. As Ayers states in chapter 3 he wants classrooms that reflect the power of his students. Ayers asserts that, “students should sense their own unique power and potential” (44). It is important for the teacher to create the environment where all students are appreciated and understood. This is a positive interaction between student and teacher because it builds the relationship between student and teacher.
In conclusion, I learned a lot about a teachers interaction with his or her students. I also, learned how to establish that positive and encouraging relationship with my students by observing Ms. Bauer- Blazers class.
Ayers, William and Ryan Alexander-Tanner. To Teach: They Journey in Comics. New York: Teachers College Press, 2010. Print.