Saturday, September 20, 2008

Four-Week Reflection

On Friday, I had my two algebra classes reflect (individually) on how the first month of class has gone. The feedback was interesting and surprisingly different between the two classes.

From my sheltered class (all English language learners):
"I like it when we learn by working as a group because every one knows something what someone might not. It's hard for me when we learn by individual because we don't know everything."
"One new thing Ive learned is 2 be more loud, graph, not to be shy :) Thanx u"
"One new thing I've learned is to work the rest of the people of the group without being shy."
"I like it when we learn by groups because we get more ideas of how to solve something. It's hard for me when we learn by individuals because I can't get ideas from others."
"One new thing I've learned is working with a team"
"One new thing I've learned is that i noe algebra bruh"
"I like it when we learn by presenting things because we get to learn people's ideas."
"One new thing I've learned is how not to be shy to do preseteations"

From my mainstream algebra class (not English Language Learners):
"It's hard for me when we learn by talking in groups about homework because we don't always agree on answers and it creates arguments."
"I like it when we learn by whole class discussions because we all have different ideas and when we hear everyone thought it helps us all in a way."
"One new thing I've learned is nothing! I already knew everything."
"I like it when we learn by ourselfs because it's light weight challenging"
"I like it when we learn by working in groups because it feels like I am not by myself."
"I like it when we learn by presenting projects because it's cool to see different ways to do stuff."
"It's hard for me when we learn by working all together because people are talking very loud and I can't understand some of the stuff."
"I like it when we learn by individual work because I learn my way so I learn faster and better."
"I'm unclear about why we only work at our groups. I need help understanding why you don't give lessons."
"One thing I've learned is that we all have to work as a group. One thing I already knew but I've gotten better at is getting along with others."
"It's hard for me when we learn by group projects because I've always been an independent worker."
On the reflection I put a list of "ways we've learned together" so far and asked students to put smiley faces next to things that helped then and sad faces by things that make it difficult for them. One student put frowns by everything.

Thanks for the feedback. Maybe a good teaching would take this feedback and interpret that I need to be giving more direct instruction to my mainstream students. They want a teacher who lectures with example problems and sends them on their way? I can do that. But I'm not going to. I feel my challenge is not how to adapt to being the kind of teacher they think they need, but how to adapt them to my being the kind of teacher I think they need.


SWE said...

It's a tough balance to strike. There is something to be said for giving 'em what they want some of the time. Otherwise, it becomes a long, uncomfortable slog for students and they shut down.

It's more work to address comfort levels in order to get at the skills necessary for productive group work. But it's good work, and your students are lucky to have you working on it!

Jaya said...

Your kids use text-speak in class assignments?

Linda said...

I was glad to see that the kids use text-speak because this was, I assume, a casual assignment. They will speak more clearly when they are able to speak/write in a comfortable format--including text-speak. Good grief, Jaya, you and I are some of the few folks left who don't text-speak and who worry about being always so gosh darn correct.

I agree with you, Geetha, on getting your students to open to up to learning in a way that you think is ultimately better. It is good to see that there are some in favor of both ways of presenting the material. The kids are still thinking, "Wow, this is new and odd and therefore, scary." Once they get used to it they may well appreciate it, though fewer will admit it or even realize it than you would like.

Hang in there. They are giving good feed back that you can use to fine tune yourself and them.

Roni said...

My students give me the same feedback. The quiet ones like to listen to others, but don't always like the noise levels. The talkative kids (most of them here in NZ thanks to the whole oral historical background) hate group work at first because they don't know how to make it productive; it took one class 4 months to get it right. Now that they know how to balance individual responsibility with group collaboration and use it well, they're having a rough time going back to working on their own.

It definitely a slog to drag the little muppets along. Surveys are pretty cool for the social/psychological factor, aren't they?

Jaya said...

No, I mean they write text-speak? With a pen? Weird.

Geetha said...

If it's faster to punch in the shorthand, it's definitely faster to write it with a pen...