Thursday, May 17, 2012

Observations from our first teaching session

The observation of how the children interacted has made me reflect on my own practice.  How well do my children keep conversations about learning on task?  I have not had a lot of experience with teaching Year 2s and it seemed to me they are quite into self, e.g. talking but not necessarily listening to each other or their ideas.  This must be a developmental stage and I need to do some further questioning about when  children transition out of this phase?

Did the focus on roles get in the way of quality conversations about learning?  Did it get in the way of 'going the extra mile?'  The group I was observing knew their roles but they were satisfied in just doing the bare minimum: "I've taken 10 photos" "I'm the presenter" (as she sat there and did not contribute) Collector saying "I've done my job"  Certainly, as the lesson went on, Sonita did a fantastic job at roving and gauging whether the students were on-task. and she stopped them twice to repeat her expectations of the task.  Towards the end, there was much more focus.  

This also brings the question; why couldn't we celebrate the successes of some children being able to blow up a balloon?  This wasn't part of our success criteria but for some of the kids in the the group I was observing - this was a big deal!  If learning is the process of moving from the unknown into the known.  You could argue that this was successful; "The teachable moment."

So I am wondering if the job descriptions need to be unpacked and practiced some more.  Anne Giles talked about 'talking partners' and how it takes time to become effective at it.  Kids need to be shown, through video, what behaviours or skills are effective.  These are then co-constructed and practiced.


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