Its Not Just The Support
“And learning communities are not simply about being supportive. For them to be evolutionary, they also require challenge, not as a contest for power, but to ‘help each other and check each others tendencies to purely idiosyncratic or self-interested thinking'” (Johnston 65).
This is so true. Some of the best writers I know, have been challenged so much. I love when teachers challenge my writing because it really does make it better. I remember a professor I had who always set up little workshops after every paper we wrote. It was so much more helpful because after what I thought was the perfect paper i was able to fix it to truly make it perfect.
I met a few first grade students who were extremely advanced for there age and they always wanted to be challenged. These students would actually tell the teacher that the work was too easy for them. This shocked me because they were so young to think that way, but they knew what they needed. Now these students never competed against one another. They just wanted to improve.
Supporting students also plays a huge role in a child’s life. Every student needs to feel supported and challenged by his/her peers and teachers. This will help them succeed.
“By reflecting to the students their comments, the teacher at once validates their voice, shows that she is listening, and opens the possibility for them to reflect on, modify, or challenge what has been said” (Johnston 55).
I love when teachers reflect on a students comment because just like the quote says, it “shows that she is listening.” Its so important that students feel that they are being heard and be able to explain in depth the answer to a question or comment. I’ve had many teachers who have not done this and they just brush off what the students say. One professor I had NEVER called on her students or even invited questions or comments. If a student raised his/her she would ignore it and continue on with her lecture, it was sometimes frustrating because if we had a question about a particular part she wouldn’t let us ask, so it just pushed us back for that class period because we were unable to understand the rest of what was being taught.
For children it’s so important that the teacher pays close attention to his/her students and to elaborate on any questions they might have. This will help their self-esteem and also they will feel that the teacher cares, forcing them to want to learn.
“Freed of the burden of meaning, nonsense rhymes and the like reveal the internal structure of words as an object of interest rather than of labor.” (Johnston 48).
I loved this chapter, Johnston uses many good examples and one of them was about Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss figured out such a clever way of making children want to read the books. Growing up I loved reading Dr. Seuss because I felt and still do feel that those rhymes were/are full of fun and laughter. Its like reading a book out of this world because some of the words are simply just made up while others are real. That’s what makes it so fun. It made me feel that there is no type of “wrong” writing.
“Some children keep home and school spaces rigidly separate, believing they are unrelated.” (Johnston 43). I have to admit, I was this student. I couldn’t figure out how the same stuff we do at school relates to the stuff we do at home. I was finally able to answer myself. In school the teachers focus so much on way of reading, writing, and doing maths, but every one student is different, so as teachers we need to be able to really connect personally things at home into school. Teachers need to be able to focus less on the “right” and “wrong” way of doing something and focus more on the all the ways you can do something.
I had a teacher who always tried using personally experiences as examples to help us with our math problems and it was honestly the most helpful thing he could’ve done for us. He didn’t use a hypothetical situation or something magical that could never happened; he used real everyday examples. I remember one day he used a girls compact mirror as an example to measure the distance of an angle. It was so helpful for the exam because i just couldn’t get it out of my head the way he used it.
Teaching for strategies requires setting children up to generate strategies, then reviewing with them, in an agentive retelling, the effectiveness of the strategies they generated, as in, “You figured out that tricky word by yourself. How did you do that?” (Johnston 31)
I really enjoyed this chapter because it really focused on helping the child in such a positive way that makes them want to continue to learn. Johnston talks a lot about strategies used to help the students learn in a positive learning environment. When a child hears the teacher say “You figured out that tricky word by yourself”, it makes the student want to jump up and begin explaining to you how they got the answer.
I had been tutoring this little boy who was in first grade and he had been having a really difficult time in class. I learned that it was because his parents had only really been focusing on the wrong the boy was doing in his homework and not encouraging him with the right he was doing. This really affected the boy in a sense that his parents would just end up giving his the answers, so he was never able to explain how he got the answer he did. The teacher and I tried to help build the boys confidence by making a big deal when he answered questions correctly. We allowed the boy to answer all the questions on his own with minimal help from me. After I saw that the answer was correct I would go on by asking him how he got the answer. Soon he became so excited to want to tell me how he got the answers to all the questions. This really helped him focus more in class to because he wanted to continue o explaining things to me.
“Building an identity means coming to see ourselves the characteristics of particular categories (and roles) of people and developing a sense of what it feels like to be that sort of person and belong in a certain social group.”
I believe that children begin to know who they are as a person once they begin school. The teacher’s and students around the child help him/her shape themselves into that character. This is typically the time children really begin to meet many children and also make new friends. This quote really caught my attention because I feel that I can really relate to it in a sense that I the student am coming to see who I am and who I want to surround myself by.
“Identities such as researcher-in-a-research-community are an important accomplishment of schooling, but also a tool for shaping children’s participation in a classroom.”
Teachers play such a large role in helping shape a child into becoming who they will be. Johnston used an example where the teacher calls himself/herself the “senior researcher” and the students are “assistant researchers.” This helps shape the students because it could make them feel like they can be researchers. I remember in an accounting class I took, the professor never referred to us as students, he referred to us as a accountant assistant. It really made me feel like I was more than just a student and I really could do this.
“Certainly, teaching to normative expectations will mean lots of positive feedback for some students (but not necessarily any new learning) and lots of negative feedback for others” (Johnston 13).
It’s so unfortunate that this happens. However, I feel this happens all the time. Students are told what they are doing wrong and not what they are doing right. These are children who are still learning about who they are and what they like. I feel that giving them negative feedback or feedback on just “improving” things isn’t the best way to help teach a child. Johnston talks about how it doesn’t help make the child want to learn learn new things, but it makes them want to just kind of hide in a bubble and not want to try because they fear getting shut down.
“Much more important is noticing-and helping the students notice- what they are doing well, particularly the leading edge of what is going well” (Johnston 13).
I feel like I was really able to relate to this. I took a storytelling class and a part of that class what having to give feedback to the people who were storytelling that day. We used what is called the sandwich technique; you say something positive followed by something that could be improved and then something positive again. It made the class feel more comfortable to speak their mind and it also helped the performer for their next storytelling.
“People who come from different cultural backgrounds often encounter difficulties in their interactions” (Jonson 7).
I was able to relate to this the most because I am Assyrian. Assyrian is the first language I spoke, so in school I spoke Assyrian to all the other little Assyrian children I knew. Looking back on my childhood I remember having a difficult time interacting with the other students. I feel like this made my ability to learn more difficult as well.
I went back to this teachers classroom last year to visit her classroom. I noticed there was one boy in particular who was having a difficult time in class and on the playground. He was a little Hispanic boy and in school for the first time. I noticed he was having a difficult time interacting with the other students and not many students were willing to help him.
“The teacher has to make something of what children say and do. She makes sense for herself, and offers a meaning for her students” (Johnston 5).
The best teacher’s are the ones who can relate to their students. I remember my first grade teacher, she was the best teacher i have ever had. I still remember that her class focused around her students. Recently, I visited her class and I was able to watch her in action. I noticed when she taught language lessons she used examples from the students everyday lives. For example, what the students did during their break.