Archive for the ‘Classroom environment’ Category

Week 10 Social Class and School Achievement


04 Nov

1. What steps can you take to create a more supportive school environment?
One of the biggest steps that I think we can take as educators to create a more supportive school environment is to put our own prejudices aside. “For educators, the challenge is to improve the performance of all low-status students, from whatever ethnic group”(Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 348). We want to educate ALL students and give each of them the chance to succeed and how can we do that if we go into a classroom with prejudices? It would be impossible. As a teacher if we think that a student isn’t capable of doing something, the students is most likely going to pick up on that negative attitude and then most likely they will just give up. If you as their teacher doesn’t believe in them why would they believe in themselves? As a future teacher I personally plan on leaving any prior knowledge that I THINK I know about my students outside of the classroom. Every year I’ll be getting a new group of kids with their own individual background stories and personalities and I plan on letting them express that, I plan on letting them tell me who they are rather than just making assumptions. I want to see what prior knowledge they have and then build on that knowledge. I plan on lifting my students up, believing in them and encouraging them on a daily basis. I think that if you go into a classroom and expect your students to work hard, try their best and encourage them students are able to accomplish pretty much anything. Students and teachers have to be willing to work hard and listen to one another. Look at the movie Freedom Writers Erin treated her students with respect, she believed in them and she didn’t treat them like they were stupid like many other teachers did and ever single one of her students went to college. That’s pretty amazing. Erin showed what teachers and students are able to accomplish if you work hard as a group and put your prejudices aside.

2. How is class time related to student achievement?
I think that class time is where teachers can make the biggest impact on a student on an educational level. It is during class time that teachers can assess students and the knowledge that they know. Also class time tends to go one of two ways either it is engaging and the students are having fun while they are learning or they are bored, tune out the teacher and they learn very little to no information. I have been involved in both types of classrooms. I think it is the teacher’s responsibility to make the information fun, engaging and relatable. As educators we need to make our students understand why education is important and how it matters in their life. The class time is also a very important time to help and encourage students. It is very, very important that we help students understand better when they are having trouble in school and that we continue to encourage them everyday. “Lack of academic success in the early grades not only detracts from learning more difficult material later; it also damages a student’s perception that he or she is a capable learner who has a chance to succeed in school and later in life” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 355) so encouraging students must start at an early age and continue throughout their academic career. Also, during class time is where students should be getting most, if not all, of the explanation they need to complete homework and other projects that get completed outside of the classroom. If a student doesn’t understand an assignment and they go home to either an empty house, because their parents are working, or a house with parents who also don’t understand the assignment how likely is it that the student is going to complete the assignment? Students should leave the classroom feeling confident in their own personal knowledge and their own abilities to do assignments by themselves.

3. Do you think tracking is a valid method for enhancing student performance?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about tracking in schools. There is so much debate over tracking and rather or not it is helpful or harmful to students, “…If teachers find it easier to teach a homogeneous group of students, tracking could enhance school effectiveness and raise test scores of both low- and high-ability students. But if students benefit from learning with higher-achieving peers, tracking could disadvantage lower-achieving students, thereby exacerbating inequality”(Duflo, 2009). I think that tracking can work well for certain students and then not work well for others so I think students and parents should be given the choice to be involved in tracking or to not be involved with tracking.

I found this article about tracking to be very interesting and informative: Can Tracking Improve Learning? by Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas and Michael Kremer.
This is the link: http://educationnext.org/tracking-improve-learning/

Sources:

1. Duflo, E. (2009). Education next. Retrieved from http://educationnext.org/tracking-improve-learning/

2. Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Thoughts of a Future Teacher

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