Sunday, December 4, 2011

Different kinds of students

I have had to take many classes while at Cortland and many of them have students going out to do observations at schools.  One of my observations was at a middle school and high school level, with this I had to create a notebook based off many things that was in the school.  Some of the things were interviewing teachers, how my host teacher taught, what the school was about, how the teacher handled behavior management, and interviewing different students.  There are many different kinds of students and learners.  We had to interview a disengaged student who does not participate in class, a ESL student or a student who has English as a second language or a foreign exchange student, and a disabled student.  With each of these interviews, I learned about how different students react and also how I would be able to teach them.

These are each of the interviews that I took with the students.  (The names of the students have been changed to protect the students identity.)


         Based on my observations here at Deposit School, there are very few disengaged students.   But my host teacher picked out a student who is much disengaged and who he has a hard time getting engaged.  This student is a very nice kid; he is a sophomore whose favorite subject is Math.  When I asked Steve, the student, some questions about why he does not like physical education class, he just said “It’s not the same anymore.  I do not really like to run or anything”.  He did mention that he only likes a few games that they play in class.  For example, he said that he can get into flag football but after a while he gets bored with it and does not want to do it anymore.  Steve likes to ride his bike doing a lot of BMX tricks, but he does not like any other physical activity. 
The teacher would go over to the student and ask him to play a game with him but after the game was over the student would just sit back down.  Another thing the teacher does to try and help engage him is by jokingly yelling at him to get dressed and involved.  Steve notices that he is joking and takes it as a joke, but he knows that he is actually serious at him getting involved. 
When I asked Steve if he could change one thing about physical education class, without taking it away, he said bring back the real dodge ball.  By this he means dodge ball with the red balls not the foam ones that are used today.  If that were to happen then maybe he would be more involved.  He did not really understand why they used them to begin with, “They do not go as far and are hard to throw” Steve told me. 
Based on this interview I have found that some students really do like physical education but it depends on what we are doing in class.  Steve told me that he does like Table Tennis and Badminton for the most part he likes how everyone is just laid back and hanging out.  There may be reasons why most students do not engage in class and that could be because they do not like the activity.  Or maybe they just do not like class at all.  But this interview opened up my eyes because everyone is different, and when I become a teacher, I want to try and make class enjoyable for everyone.


            In my host school they have a foreign exchange student who has English as her second language.  Emily is a senior here and is able to graduate right now unlike if she were in Japan.  When she goes home she will become a senior again.  Her first language is Japanese and both her parents speak it also, so they speak Japanese at home.  But her mom is able to speak English like herself.  When she is at school she speaks English.  Emily said that she would actual rather speak English instead of Japanese she likes to talk so she gets better and better at it.  All the teachers here help her with her English; it is not just one teacher. 
            When she is at school she said her favorite class is physical education.  She likes all the sports and she is able to talk more to better her English.  Emily said that how she learns the sports is by watching what to do and then doing.  She said that if she has trouble with something she just asks the teacher or another student to help her.  It is the same with other classes.  She just watches what they are doing and then tries it herself.  If she does not understand it then she asks someone.
            Whenever she does not understand her homework, she just asks the teacher.  So therefore she does all of her homework in school instead of at home, unless it is something that she understands well.  But if she does have a question on the homework or anything else dealing with class she just asks the teacher.  And she does not ask for help unless she knows she needs it.  Whenever she does need help she just asks that teacher in the class to come and help her.  


 There are at least three disabled students in my host school, all with autism.  They are all very active in class and absolutely love physical education.  The boy that I chose to interview was named Bobby and he was in the sixth grade.  Like I said previously his disability is autism.  Bobby did not really want to answer these questions that I was asking.  He was very short with me.  When I asked him what his favorite subject was he told me physical education.  I asked him why and he said “I don’t know”.  I asked him if it was because he got to run around and play games and he replied, “Yes”.  When I brought up what is so hard in class for him he just told me the new stuff till he gets used to it.  When I had asked him how his teacher helps him succeed, he just replied “I don’t know”.  The only time he really answered anything was when I asked what his favorite sport was, and that is baseball. 
The teacher before he started the actual lessons, he would just let the students play to get a feel for the game and learn it on their own.  He told me that the students that were disabled were able to learn it a lot quicker than when they had to follow the rules.  They would just get frustrated with themselves and totally shut off from the lesson.  So my host teacher just lets them play the game to learn what to do and what not to do on their own and then he brings in the rules after a while.  This seems to work really well for the disable students.  They seem to catch on a lot quicker by learning something on their own.  When the teacher did bring in a new skill with rules, he made sure to go slow and made sure to hit every point.  Then he would watch them to see if they understood it or needed help.  

With each of these interviews I was able to learn more about students because I was one on one with the students.  Since I was observing them, and talking to them, I was able to learn more ways of teaching and how my teaching can affect the learning of a student.  If I am unable to reach a student with how I speak or act, then it can hinder their learning.  I need to be able to reach any students learning abilities along with still teaching other students the same way.

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