In my lesson premise, I worked with 23 students. Among the students, four had learning disabilities. Two of the learning-disabled students had ADHD while the others had ADD. The activity involved introducing the students to persuasive writing techniques such as ethos, pathos, logos, claims, debates and counterclaims. The activity started with a class discussion focused on the vocabulary related to these persuasive techniques. This was followed by dividing the students into eight groups of three and one with two. Each group was provided with vocabulary and sentence strips with their definition. Their task was to matching up the vocabularies to the strips. In addition, the discussion was recorded for later reference.
In order to manage the class effectively, I had to be mindful of several issues especially during the discussion. One of the issues to be mindful about was the possibility of students misbehaving. This can be through side conversations, falling asleep or showing contempt with the materials. Additionally, some students will want to over participate while some may not want to take part. Such behaviors will require good management strategies in order to ensure involvement (Marzano & Pickering, 2003).
Responses to student misbehavior included having a bell in the class to bring back the attention of the students when they get distracted. This was not be used often in order to be effective once rang. Another strategy was signaling verbally and making eye contacts with misbehaving students. The other strategy was use of humor especially when students show signs of falling asleep and engaging in side conversations. My goal with this activity in relation to class management was to ensure all students engage in the discussion and completed their tasks using the most quality process. By focusing on process, students were in a position to follow through instead of just caring about the right answers. In addition, this fostered good relationships between the group members (Marzano & Pickering, 2003).
In general, I feel that the experiment went quite well based on the cooperation of the students. Although some misbehavior and other issues arose, the strategies were quite effective in bringing back the classroom to the focus. Some of the issues that arose are some students having side conversations when one of them tried to dominate the discussion and one group had a quarrel during their tasks of matching vocabularies to definitions. In addition, I found that the activity was a challenge to the students, although it was appropriate for their age. This is from the fact that on average, the students were able to match the vocabularies to the sentence strips. Additionally, they did well during the discussion. Therefore, the success indicated that the activity was age-appropriate.
During the discussion, I was able to practice wittiness when one of the students misbehaved. I got the attention of the whole class and said I dreamt that the student sitting in the same desk and class next year. The other students laughed. This may have been hard on the students. However, I said it would happen if only he misbehaved again. It helped the class in knowing that misbehaving in class has negative consequences (Marzano, 2003). For emotional objectivity, I had to realize that I am emotional as a human being, which allowed me to be more attached to some students than others. However, I refrained from using unpleasant language to the students and maintaining a calm exterior to all students. This helped in ensuring that all students felt equal.
During the activity, I was able to interact with the student in a way that fostered a positive attitude. This was through the discussion and going to every group to see how they were doing. During the rounds, I encouraged the students for their cooperation instead of the outcome. This encouraged them to continue working together without having to care so much for the results. This increased the attitude and morale of the students (Gaddy & Foseid, 2005). After this activity, I got the sense that using management strategies enabled me to keep the class under control. Although a student misbehaved during the activity, the others went on with the activities with enthusiasm. However, the misbehaving student also picked up in the discussion later. Using signs to indicate when a student should not discuss anymore or ringing the bell managed the class very well. This allowed students to know time was of essence and gave each other a turn to talk.
I was also able to motivate the students during the discussion by participating and encouraging those who contributed. Whether the idea was wrong or right, I recognized it so that none of the students was afraid of participating (Weimer, 2007). This encouraged students to rise up their hand to counter the arguments placed by others during the discussion. I encouraged the students to think of different ideas than the ones mentioned. At some point as the discussion continued, I allowed them to take full control. This motivated the students to engage in arguments that contributed to new ideas (Gaddy & Foseid, 2005).
I was able to maintain the students’ attention. However, there were two cases of side conversations, which I dealt with appropriately. In addition, by allowing the students to take control of the discussion, almost all of them contributed willingly except for two of the leaning disabled children. However, I ensured their participation by asking their viewpoint concerning specific issues raised during the discussion. Throughout the activity, none of the students exhibited inappropriate behavior except for the side conversations (Marzano, 2003).
I met my goals of
having all students involved in the discussion and completing their group tasks
effectively. All the groups except for the one group that engaged in a quarrel
completed their tasks quite well. However, I feel that I could have improved
the involvement. I could have done this giving every student a turn to
participate and more time to go through the topic before starting the
discussion (Wiseman & Hunt, 2008). The feedback from my host
teacher said the students liked me and enjoyed the class. She also said I did
well in the discussion part and managing of the class. However, she recommended
that I improve more on being verbal to make sure the students, especially the
learning impaired do not lose attention. I do agree with these comments
especially on the recommendation because I did not talk to the disabled
children much. However, from this activity I have learnt that my personal class
management style is more of allowing students to take control, use signs and
humor to teach consequences.
Gaddy, B.B. & Foseid, M.C. (2005). A handbook for Classroom Management that Works. New York, N.Y: ASCD.
Marzano, J.S. (2003). What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action. New York, N.Y: ASCD.
Marzano, J.S. & Pickering, D. (2003). Classroom Management that Works: Research-based Strategies for Every Teacher. New York, N.Y: ASCD.
Weimer, M. (2007). Tips for Encouraging Student Participation in Classroom Discussions. Madison Wisconsin: Magna Publication.
Wiseman, D. G. & Hunt, G. (2008). Best Practice in Motivation and Management in the Classroom: An Integrative Approach. Springfield: Charles C Thomas Publisher, LTD.