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A report on classroom observation

A good classroom management makes learning pleasant and meaningful. It takes a lot of
effort and constant reflection as to how to address misbehaviour, reduce unnecessary noise
and to make sure that learning does happen. Indeed these challenges of managing
discipline in the classroom and at the same thinking of how to get the lesson content well
conveyed to the pupils is a real uphill task. Sometimes a teacher may need to consume half
or more of the teaching periods controlling the class. This report that I am coming up with is
a real scenario of how difficult situations can be when it comes to managing a class.
In this report I am going to strictly refer to the authentic video recording of a teacher
teaching a Year 2 class. The theme is !orld of knowledge" and the topic is Shapes around
us". The teacher entred the class and instructed the pupils to sit in front of the class on the
mat readied for them. This has been a common practice. #resumably this is a better way to
monitor pupils movement and to get their attention while the teacher is presenting his lesson.
$nce they are all seated, the teacher held up different shapes one by one. %e directs his
&uestions to the class, saying, Today we are learning shapes. !hat shape is this'". The
pupils answer in chorus, suckle" rather than circle". The teacher did immediate correction.
%e said( )o that is wrong. Say circle". The pupils repeated after him thrice. This was done
with great authority and the pupils* mistake was not tolerated. I overheard someone sighing.
$bviously there were some disappointment among the pupils as they felt that their effort to
try to answer was not valued by the teacher. The noise made by two people &uickly
developed into viral reaction. !ithin a minute there was more noise in the class and the
teacher had to raise his voice and displayed his dominance and authority. The class was
silent then. This was +ust the presentation stage.
,ooking at what the teacher has done in getting his pupils* attention, I believe that
other lessons carried out by the teacher could end up with the same scenario. -ost of the
time he would shout at them if the undesired bahaviour was displayed. This pictures how
much the teacher would want the pupils to behave the way he wants. %ow much has the
teacher tolerated and understood the differences in learning styles, e.pectation of the
pupils' Anyone would protest if the activities conducted by the teacher do not match the
pupils* e.pectation or learning behaviour. It is of paramount importance for a teacher to
make a meaningful links in his lesson. %e must be sensitive in acknowledging the pupils*
learning preferences. It is important too that the teacher should begin his lesson by making
meaningful connection between the pupils* e.periences and the topic or lesson content to be
taught. As in the case of the video, the teacher made an abrupt beginning for the lesson.
/ight after he put the class in order and pupils seated infront, on the floor, he took out the
shapes out and ask them to tell him the shapes. There was not any proper introduction or
lead0in to build a connection that enabled the pupils to see the link and meaning of what is
learnt. The pupils* failure to see the meaning resulted in the class to be not interested in
learning the way the teacher wanted it to be. This simple mismatch in trying to bridge the
pupils* prior knowledge to the new input will not make learning meaningful and would
certainly lead to a painful failure in the class management. The pupils will also brood the
sense of dislike toward the teacher because their preferred way of learning is ignored by the
teacher.
The evidence of this disapproval by the pupils was when they displayed a hostile
(reaction when the teacher asked them to tell him the shapes shown. 1ven the boy the
teacher asked to show the 2circle* did not say the word but the other were forced to support
him. %e looked so blank. This would not happen if pupils* learning styles and interests are
taken into account. This answers, the theory of 2with0it0ness* by 3ounin which states that the
teacher is responsible for the undesired behaviour displayed by the pupils. In 3ounin*s idea,
a teacher must make eye0contact, tell them the desired behaviour needed to be displayed,
know their individual interests, learning styles and bulid a common understanding with them
so that their cooperation when it comes to teaching and learning is obtained.
Indeed., the teacher should have begun his lesson by refering or using ob+ects
familiar to them in the classroom and at home. Talk about their characteristics and then
slowly 4oom into the topic that is shapes. !hile linking these concepts, the teacher must
ellicit the need information from them. The teacher must acknowledge all correct answers
while providing soft scaffolding for wrong responses. This will make the pupils feeling that
they are valued as a community of learners in the class. These sense of belongness will
automatically promote understanding at cooperation among pupils and the teacher. Young
children, even how soft and tender they are, need attention and love. So, shouting and
yelling at them when they show undesired behaviour will only escalate more unruly
behaviour. -anaging a classroom is not +ust about putting things in the classroom in place,
be able to silence the class, getting them to do what the teacher want, but to promote a
condusive learning environment. Thus, it is very important for a teacher to develop and
promote a cordial relationship with the learners so that they can work hand0in0hand to
construct meaning in a lesson.
The teacher I have recorded in the video has tried very hard to get his lesson going
while trying to control the pupils* misbehaviour. The lesson, I should say is too dry and is a
one way flow. The teacher used his full authority to keep the class in order. Human are
social being and their basic motivation is to belong; all behaviour has a purpose;
humans are desicion-making organisms; human only perceive reality and this
perception may be mistaken or biased." 56reikurs* Social 6iscipline -odel, 789:;
Indeed, there was not any elements of motivation to value the pupils* worth in the recorded
lesson. The pupils did not have any say at all. $nly the teacher is right. This is a very definite
nature of negligence on the part of the teacher. To make sure that the pupils participate
actively in the lesson, they must feel comfortable with the presence of the teacher, know
what they are to learn and why. These may need not be told e.plicitly but implicitly infused in
the instruction that the teacher provided them. To think that pupils will respond positively to
what the teacher wants may not match pupils* e.pectation and will not facilitate learning. As
posited by 6rakurs in the &uote above, learners must feel that they in a harmonious
community and there is no barrier that separates them in the comunity of learners and
teacher. Acknowledging the e.istence of the learners will create a low0an.iety learning
environment that will promote a common understanding and this will make learning more
meaningful.
The other point that we should realise based on what 6rakurs says, is that all
behaviour has a purpose". This means that, when the pupils in the class are noisy and not
cooperative, there must be a reason. The teacher must be sensitive enough to find out and
get them to be involved. This include putting values and appreciation to efforts done by the
pupils. !hatever behaviour they display has a purpose. It could be dissatisfaction, a need
for attention, not understanding what is going on or they do not see any reason why they are
asked to say the shapes. If the teacher has been sensitive to their need and emotion they
could have been more cooperative in the teaching and learning activities. Almost all the time
I noticed that the teacher only showed his authority and disregarding the pupils* re&uests
and ideas. The teacher could have been more comfortable if he has used concrete learning
support materials that pupils are interested in and familiar with or used computer assisted
instruction as they used to modern gadgets.
According to Skinner, learning must be en+oyable and effective for all students." The
taped teaching that I am refering to, does not contain these element. The teacher was too
serious and this build a barrier that made learning disconnected. Skinner also does not
approve punishment in school because this will propagate hate learning is no more
en+oyable for learners. Though he has talked about conditioning of behaviour through
punishment and reward, he disapproves the use of corporal punishment to shape behaviour.
In the video taped, the teacher does not seem to be happy with what happen in the
classroom. The element of fun was absent. $nly punishment. This made the class chaotic.
To conclude, a teacher is an architect who decides how learning should happen and
he is oblige to refer to available theories if he does not know. /espect the learners as
humans who have emotions. <ridge pupils prior knowledge to the new learning and respect
them and provide scaffolding while refering to their differences and sensitivities. 7=>? words.