Looking Back: Final Response for ECS 100 Field Experience

ECS 100 Final Fieldwork Response

            The fieldwork experience has allowed me to put the ideas of my education so far into a real world context. I have learned, with the help of the focus questions, a lot about influencing factors and structures of the educational environment and I have been able to draw on the knowledge I have gained to set my own professional goals.

The fieldwork observations have provided the opportunity to take the in-class knowledge to see and understand educational environments. I have learned to identify the diversity and subsequently different needs of a group of learners and noticed how the environment can reflect the learners; how they influence each other. I have been able to see the way the school environment and community play an important role in the learners’ education. I have learned about the importance of and the methods of integrating diversity and inclusivity into the classroom and school. I have learned about the curriculum and learning materials that are used. I have been able to see the school as a whole by being able to address and notice the individual aspects that make up the collective environment.

The experience has also set me up to establish my own professional goals. First I want to delve deeper into understanding the reasoning behind the way things are done. I want to take an active part in my education so I can shape myself to be an educator that creates a positive environment and provides equitable education opportunities. I want to learn more about my own personally held and unquestioned ideas, so that I can be sure I am not making mistakes based on ignorance and assumption. I want to learn how to create a curriculum and classroom community that deeply integrates the practice of celebrating and acknowledging diversity. I also want to address my weakness in being technologically literate. I see that it can be an important and wonderful tool if utilized. I want to make connections to the available technological materials.

Overall this observation experience has allowed me to see classroom information in action, gain deeper understanding and set up the goals and ideas I wish to look at and establish as I continue on in my education.

Bullying: Issues and Prevention

Issues with bullying and cyber bullying within my school appear to be minimal. Of course, it seems so anyways, within any extended group of people there are cases of bullying. However, it seems to be in check at the school I do my field experience. In regards to acts of bullying, there have been instances that I have noticed. In the younger grades I have observed some students need to “tattle” on other students. While tattling isn’t really bullying, the manner in which the children behaved before bringing in their teacher felt a bit like bullying to me. For even simple events it appeared as if some students look for others doing something incorrectly so that they could verbally attack them for it. To me this can be an issue, because it is unnecessary, but this kind of behaviour can lead to social ostracism. In my own grade 8 classroom, I have noticed some students get momentarily frustrated with each other, but overall the classroom environment works more as a cohesive unit. Cyber bullying is more difficult for me to see, since I have never worked or observed students using computers during class or bring up issues of cyber bullying. That is not to say that there is more than what I have seen going on. I’m sure bullying still exists even if I am not aware of it. I think the most common type of bullying has a high social aspect to it.

Prevention of bullying within my school is noticeable. The walls contain images and saying that reflect a community that expects everyone be given respect. I think the setting of this kind of tone enacts bully prevention. Additionally, there is a document on the wall that asks students to prevent bullying and all of the students have signed their names on it. It is displayed in one of the hallways. To me this shows that the school as a whole is teaching students to not only stop participating in bullying, but to allies for their peers. In my classroom the teacher has a policy of leaving drama at the door. She sets up a classroom community that demonstrates prevention against bullying and supporting of peers. I cannot speak to the prevention of cyber bullying, because I have not noticed anything outlining the issue or prevention of it in my class.

How will I deal with and prevent bullying in my own classroom? I think it is important to establish a safe and respectful classroom community from day one. I will model this behaviour by respecting all of my students, but also by being an ally against bullying of any kind. This will also be reflected in the way that I teach and the materials present in my classroom. I think that by only valuing certain ways of knowing and certain perspectives we present a belief that some ways and some perspectives are lesser. Creating imbalance and a lack of respect for diversity goes hand in hand with bullying. I will set guidelines and expectations that will directly make note that I will not tolerate bullying of any kind. I will follow through, by acknowledging acts of bullying. Moreover, I will ask my students to be a part of the process of building a respectful classroom community. I feel it is my job to create a safe environment for everyone of my students.

 

Reflecting on ECS 300 Field Experience

I began my experience with a list of goals.

They were: Make and teach engaging and motivating sets; respond and react appropriately to behavioural problems; appear and be confident while teaching my lessons; and ask questions that prompt discussion. The full post on my goals can be found here.

I used specific steps as guidelines, which I felt helped me visualize not only what I wanted to achieve, but ways I could achieve my goals. If something didn’t go as planned I could consult these steps and question if I needed to add something or work something in to achieve what I hoped to.

Overall, I believe that I have made great improvement and for the most part have met my goals (I believe there is always more to learn and always room for growth and improvement). I think that I appear confident in the classroom. After my first lesson I fully realized and completely felt that I have it in me to be a great educator. I felt confident in what I was doing and I think that my confidence grows each time I teach and each time I experience something new and challenging. I feel that what I was teaching was interesting. Several lessons I could see the students enjoying the lesson. I was able to make lessons that could have easily been dry, into an interesting learning experience for the students. Some examples are a math lesson with linking cubes, an ELA lesson on citing sources, and an ELA lesson on writing flashbacks. There were few occasions that required me to step in and either remind students to be on task or to sort out difficulties/misbehaviour that arose. I think a classroom with more difficult classroom management issues would have me further exercise this aspect of my goals. I did get some opportunities to have discussion in my lessons. I believe that I was able to ask open ended questions or question that required more than a yes or no answer. To help with this I brainstormed and included questions that I could use to prompt discussion right in my lesson plans. If I needed to they were on paper to give me ideas of boosting conversation.

I think I will continue to get ideas on classroom management. The class I had already had a strong system. I think that I have learned a lot in the subject of classroom management and I have gained confidence in my ability to manage the classroom. I would love to get more knowledge with interdisciplinary lesson planning as well as Treaty Education. I think by practicing and getting input from other educators I can improve in these ways. Moreover, I want to be able to write and feel confident about writing cohesive unit plans, since I was only able to write singular lessons.

Specifically, about my students, I learned that they really enjoyed collaborative learning. In my own education, I’m not sure if I was less into this kind of process because it was only allowed in few group projects of which I was not often given say as to who I would work with and often felt that I had to carry the burden of doing the whole assignment on my own, but I think that a certain expectation for the classroom as a community of learners I taught in was set and so the students participated more equally. I also learned that some of my students will interpret somethings I’m teaching differently than I imagined in my head, but also that these interpretations are not necessarily incorrect and that it is actually quite refreshing to allow and hear different perspectives. I much enjoy the idea of a democratic classroom and I think my students appreciate having a voice and having me recognize that. Overall, I think that my students helped me sort out my beliefs about teaching by allowing me to experience the reception different things had and figuring out what went well, what didn’t, and why.

I really did have a great experience. I learned so much that can’t be taught in a class. I have gained confidence as a teacher and in my lesson making skills. I look for new and interesting ideas for lessons and I can consider how they might play out and what I can do to make them more effective. Having a target every week also played a large part in my consideration of what I can improve on and how I’m doing in certain areas. Knowing that my cooperating teacher was giving me feedback and discussing my lesson with me helped me in my growth. Having discussions in class with my peers had me consider different ideas, see different ways of doing things and opened me up to interesting activities for a variety of subject areas.

I look forward to continuing to grow as an educator and as a learner. I think one of the most important things for me and my learning is to be opened up to a variety of experiences. This experience has allowed me to take a big step forward. I feel more capable and I am continuing to search for ways of improving. I can’t wait to start my next experience and grow even more.

Field Experience Week 8: The Final Lesson

This week, the final week, I got to end my experience teaching English Language Arts. I was super excited to get to finish off teaching my favourite subject. I was also excited to try out an idea I had worked on since my teaching my first ELA lesson. I taught my class how to write flashbacks. I went over why we use flashbacks in our writing, the techniques used to make flashbacks clear and effective, and I had the class do a fun activity to put the new skills into use in a creative and entertaining activity. I had the students do a “circle writing” activity. I had done this in my lab and it went well. The students really seemed to enjoy the activity and had a good time sharing the wacky stories they had come up with. Each sentence was part of writing a flashback and was to use the techniques taught in class. I think the lesson went well, because I was able to end off the experience with both an educational, but interesting lesson. I think the students gained a good sense of the material and will be able to use it in other stories (ones that are actually coherent).

Something that didn’t go as expected was the difficulty in controlling the activity. I wouldn’t say it got out of hand, it just didn’t go the way I had planned. I wrote the activity structure on the board and I told the rules and expectations of the assignment while I was handing the activity sheet out and I think that this resulted in some students beginning before I instructed them to and some students went through the activity without my guided instruction to do so. It didn’t detract from the completion of the activity. It did mean that some students finished before others and there wasn’t time to do a larger class sharing of the assignments.

If I were to teach the lesson again, I would makes sure I handed out the activity sheet after I went through the expectations and rules of the activity. I would also use a shorter example in the beginning of the lesson in order to leave more room for the activity and for sharing afterward. I might also highlight the tone of the activity. Go through the idea of just writing the first thing that comes to mind and not worrying about being perfect. It can be easy to get hung up on typical classroom ideals. This activity was supposed to be somewhat liberating and make creative writing more free.

This week I learned that it can be easy to get wrapped up in the energy of the classroom. I want students to enjoy my lessons and I feel that I generate an environment that is safe and conducive to learning. I think that it is also important that I check in with students and make sure my expectations are always clear. I know what its like to over think and worry, so I feel it is part of my job to make sure my students never feel that they have to be unsure or worry. I will always be around to help and answer questions.