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During my fall clinical, I questioned the students about their favorite movie, favorite sport, after school activities,

etc. The responses were supposed to help me better understand the student and their culture. It took no more than five minutes to get to know the student. Ha, thats a joke! Students in middle school are their own culture. Five minutes of questions and answers do not paint the picture. These particular students in my 1st period class hear gunshots in the night as often as I hear birds singing outside of my bedroom window. They thrive on social drama and most of them raise their siblings. I needed more than answered questions on paper about favorite movies and songs. I needed to know how to effectively manage and communicate with this adolescent and with this culture. I had to reacquaint myself with this developmental stage of life. How would I do this in such a short span of time and be somewhat successful? I read an article from The Changing Lives of Children, How Novice Teachers Can Succeed with Adolescents (Volume 54, Number 7, pages 56-58). This article provided a simple recipe for being an effective communicator and classroom manager. As a novice secondary teacher, I needed to develop social insight and demonstrate withitness. Developing social insight required an appreciation of my students favorite music, their language, their conversations, and their fashion. Demonstrating withitness meant getting to know each student quickly; their names, and their behaviors. I need to be able to have the foresight of how one inappropriate behavior could cause another one. I needed to learn how to react to those behaviors appropriately. In addition to these elements, I needed to display appropriate body language, verbal expression, and eye contact when communicating and teaching. I needed to communicate sensitivity and empathy with my adolescent students. These students needed to recognize that I understood their needs; both academic and social. In reflection of my classroom experiences, I connected well with the students. However, I feel when I do have my own class, it will be very important to develop a better understanding of their behaviors and how I can develop those behaviors by teaching appropriate social behaviors and citizenship. I would do this by integrating their language, their music, and their fashion. In conclusion, understanding the contextual factors of each student not only would help me to plan an effective lesson, but also would enable me be a more effective communicator and manager.