Integrating the Australian Curriculum Using Web2.0
 
With Classroom management strategies fresh in my mind I went off bushy tailed to a year 6 substitute teaching day. This became a unique experience to test out different theories as I was teaching three different year 6 classes with many different personalities and completely different classroom teachers. 

My first class (my previous prac class) were well behaved on the whole. There was one student who refuses to do any work he doesn't feel he will enjoy and is generally disruptive in class. I began by ignoring him during the teaching experience. I started by calling out his name, just letting him know that I knew what he was doing and this was followed by him moving to the back of the classroom and lying on his back/throwing a ball in the air. The other students were very well behaved as they were completely ignoring him. As this student was not disrupting any one I was happy to leave him where he was and call him up to the front once all the work had begun. This worked quite well as the rest of the class was into the lesson and beginning work. 

Thinking about what worked in this lesson, I noticed that I continually negotiated with the students. "If you are able to work quietly for the next 20 minutes we can go out and do 10 minutes of sport at the end of the session". Or, "Just complete two more questions and then you will be done". It is really interesting how I have to provide the motivation for the students and they are unable to or I do not give them an opportunity to develop their own self-motivation. 

In the other classes, I noticed similar trends, lots of negotiation. I was however very quick to stamp out negative off-task behaviours when they occurred. Making sure students were doing what they were meant to be doing and that the work that was meant to be completed was finished in a suitable time. 

So what does this mean for next year? Well it contributes to the idea that a balanced approach is required in the classroom. Students need to be set boundaries but they are there to learn. They will learn most productively if they enjoy what they are doing and that will require different sort of activities which test what they know and to the limit of their abilities. 

I love it!
 
 
As I contemplate my future teacher career and anxieties about my inexperience surface in the face of great responsibility next year, I am starting to think about what kind of teacher I am going to be. Of most concern is how I will deal with particular negative behaviours. As a younger teacher, I want to be a relaxed, easy-going teacher where the focus of the classroom is learning, technology and respect rather than poor behaviour. This is however a Utopian classroom, and not all students will be able to be self-directed in their learning, it is also a cruel reality that not all students will learn the same, come from stable home lives or be as interested in their learning as I am.  


In my behaviours management classes, the lecturers joked about the idea "we don't smile until Easter" or "treat them mean, keep them keen". Furthermore, my practical teacher this semester is a very experienced teacher who I respect very much. I would consider her one of the most effective teachers I have ever witnessed and yet she is what I would describe as a tough, finger on student's behaviour at all times kind of teacher. She created a sense of respect as she would not accept any behaviour from any of the students. Her teaching style was incredibly efficient and effective as she got the absolute most of her students. 


So the question remains, do I take that role, lay down guidelines early and create a hierarchy of response and make sure that if any negative behaviour occurs it is stopped by paying attention to it and punishing those students involved.  Alternatively, I would prefer to allow a little bit of off-task behaviour if it allows for students to feel comfortable in the classroom, are willing to try new things and trust me to push them in their learning. One of the best ideas I have heard through my studies is the idea that if we plan more interesting relevant lessons less time will be spent on classroom management. This is of particular interest to me as my strength is in my lessons and creating unique interesting learning situations and is clearly not in classroom management. 


One other interesting way to look at this issue is through the thought of social justice. This strategy looks at creating environments where students feel safe, where all students have the ability to succeed without fear of failure. This places a large emphasis on the role of self-motivation and self-regulation where students will feel remorse for their actions on others and want to improve their behaviour because they want too. Students don't receive awards or punishments and it is their success which they strive for. 


Stay tuned, I will let you know how it goes over the coming months. 
 
 
Picture
Over the past week, I have been exploring our world through this wonderful program Celestia (Thank you to @MitchSquires for the link).  It had me thinking about the possibilities of exploration and how that can be used to develop inspiration, focus and interest in the curriculum. 
Celestia allows you to travel through space, orbiting the Earth, the planets in our solar system and a multitude of stars. A visually stunning program which excites the mind into thoughts of astronauts, star wars and that need to discover something for the very first time. 
I was trying to imagine how my own excitement could be extracted in a class setting from a large group of both boys and girls. Firstly, I believe that this type of program reaffirms the need for Web2.0 and other technologies in the classroom.  We all know, and witness everyday that students learn best when they construct their own understanding, when they take what they know and the challenge themselves.  A unit on space is a fantastic way for students to challenge what they know, to explore the world as we know it as well as their own way of thinking. "We came out of the cave and we looked over the hill and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the West and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what's next." (Aaron Sorkin in The West Wing) If we are to really prepare our students so that they can advance our world, challenge the unknown and be fulfilled, educated people we must give them opportunities like this everyday.

 

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    This blog is that of a very confused, bewildered and amazed new scheme teacher in Sydney Australia who is hoping with all his might that he doesn't fall on his face. Enjoy!

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