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Reflective Essay on Classroom Observations

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❶Much of this depends on where I will be teaching, whether that is urban, rural, or city.




The start and end of each day would have to be generally consistent: In the middle, the teacher needs a consistent, quiet way to call for attention. Interruptions for absent students, bathroom passes, turning in homework, and small logistical things need to taught explicitly and practiced so time is not wasted during the year.

When students are in the middle of a project, they should be able to walk into class, know what to do, quietly transition into project teams, work, clean up, and leave without a teacher present. The classroom I observed had some of these procedures in place, but there were still frequent questions about small things that could have been automated. The more active a classroom will be, the less time there will be for teachers to micro-manage small student issues.

The room itself needs to be setup for cooperative and independent learning. There should be some tables, some desks, and furniture should be mobile. To keep the room neat, there should be a procedure for putting the room back to its initial state at the end. The classroom I observed did this very well. In games, kids play and screw up all the time. They lose a life, lose their gun, get swallowed by monsters, or get sent back to the start.

Then they try again, knowing what not to do the next time. If they played for 20 minutes and then were sent back to the start for something they did wrong in the first minute, they would surely quit. To prevent the same situation in math class, students need to be taught how to check their work after every problem. If there is a mistake, they need to get help from another person teacher or peer , a video, a solution guide, or some other source until they correct the mistake and understand what they did wrong.

They need to keep trying again on progressively harder problems until they get the concept. In the advanced math class in the middle school, peer teaching and frequent use of the solution guide helped most students understand the material with almost no teacher support required. Understand typical developmental progressions and ranges of individual variation within and across development domains. VERY chatty in 1-on-1 situations — spent most of the work time on most days chatting with one of a few friends in the class quietly.

Friends in class were white or Asian. Appeared bored by the step by step lessons and long worksheets of problems busywork. Sat next to a girl that he seemed to like and flirted with her. Also talked to a number of other students in the class.

Friends spanned multiple races. He joked with students and then brought them back on task, encouraging them to do their work, non-confrontationally correcting errors as he saw them. Throughout all of the periods, he was incredibly patient and relaxed. When students did something disrespectful or significantly wrong, he told them clearly to stop. When students had small interpersonal issues, he told them to work it out between themselves.

From watching a number of students, I was amazed at the individual differences that showed through in class. Students had different levels of social engagement, different misunderstandings, different levels of engagement, and different ways to be motivated. It seemed crazy to teach everyone the same things at the same time. The biggest deal-breaker seemed to be engagement.

Once kids stopped wanting to learn, it became very difficult to help them or get them to start trying again. He used jokes, eye contact, and facial expressions very effectively to start conversations. Understand differences in how students construct knowledge, acquire skills, and develop habits of mind.

There were TONS of misconceptions in algebra class. Additionally, students were quick to give up whenever they failed, even when they got the answer right and felt like they were failing.

The teacher used guided practice to lead people through a problem and show them what to do in a few examples. He also used non-examples to clarify when not to do something. I gave them explicit instruction through a small game to teach them when to use and not use the distributive property.

It seemed to help clear up misconceptions. In general, I think more time needs to be spent explaining when and why to use rules, not just how. Understand the impact of individual experience, talents, prior learning, language, culture, and family and community values on student learning.

Describe impact of individual experiences and prior learning on student learning. Did not complete interview, but interacted 1-on-1 during advisory time with an 8 th grade girl in algebra class.

She talked a lot about her brother, her boyfriend, and her cousin in the military who she played cards with. She was very talkative in the small advisory.

In class, she was much less talkative and seemed to be an average student, generally not getting things on the first try, but capable of understanding with targeted feedback and support. Describe classroom engagement, behavior, interest in content, and academic achievement that may be impacted by language, culture and family.

I observed a different than above 8 th grade Hispanic boy. In the classroom, he sat next to another Hispanic boy and appeared completely disinterested in the content. Despite the mostly white class, most of his interactions were with the other two Hispanic boys in class. When approached, he acted more confused than I think he actually was. I simply rose my eyebrows at him and then proceeded to ask him to complete a problem to show me that he understood the content.

After multiple prods, he complied. His English is quite good, for the record. From the kids I interacted with 1-on-1 in advisory or in the halls, it seemed that the kids were fairly different in class and out of class. Part of this effect was whether or not they had friends in the class — the same quiet kids were much more social when they were with their friends in another context.

Culture played a huge role with many of the Hispanic boys in classes. Positive also used humor often when talking with the students.

This is not to be confused with sarcasm, which I believe can be very destructive to the student-teacher relationship. The student understood that they spelled the word wrong, but it was done in a fun manner. The quality of relationship was also noticeable as the students exited the classroom.

Positive wished them a good day, but in response almost all of the students thanked him. The ones that did not thank him said they would see him tomorrow or gave some kind of acknowledgement. I was pretty impressed by this small gesture from the students especially from high schoolers. Respect is such a huge thing! I truly believe if you genuinely respect students, they will respect you back. I feel that the movement in education is to allow us to learn from each other so that we are a community of learners.

I have even found that our high school, which has posted little student work in the past, is now displaying some student work with pride. Because of our K status in the building that I teach in, we can all have an understanding of what is necessary for success at the next grade level and beyond.

One thing that I take from this process that I intend on sharing with others is the fact that reflection is a positive thing. We can only move forward if we see that everything we do is not always the best way to do it. Many years ago during my first year of teaching, my principal told me that we need to take time at the end of each day to think about what worked, what did not work, and what changes might be effective. It took me several years to see the importance of this idea, but this only solidifies my understanding of this.

While my skills of suggestion have always played a part in my guidance as a mentor teacher, I had to improve my listening skills for this activity. I would like to see others, as well as myself, use teacher observation as a learning tool to improve instructional practices and impact student achievement.

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Classroom Observation and Reflection Paper MTE/ The Art of Science and Teaching Regis Lawrence For my classroom observation I had the opportunity of sitting in on a first grade regular education classroom. Listed below are the following that relates to the teacher’s classroom design.

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Throughout my class lectures and discussions in many of my classes, I recall one of my professors accenting the fact that teachers need to be flexible in their schedule and need to conform to the changes that are associated with the career. Reflective Essay on Classroom Observations by Terri S. Dudley, M.S. Ed. Schools of today hold a variety of challenges. First and foremost, schools should be learning communities where teacher improvement comes from a plethora of sources.