Response to discussion 4
100-150 words per response
As I became employed in the classroom, I often times reflect on my own experiences as a young novice growing up attending the Meridian Public School District and compare my experiences to the times of today. When I survey the past times to the current times, I must admit there is a gulf of difference. I can recall my experiences of my parents purchasing my own school supplies and how now students rarely come with school supplies. In my days of attending school, and study at home was a part of the normal day before any play time, tv time, or leisure activity. It is very evident that those trends are just mere memories of yesterday because today’s norm has taken on a new dynamic. In my opinion, I think a teacher knows or should have some sense of knowing their students and their abilities as it relates to academic levels. Some students are able to master a standard or level at first try and then there are some students who require a little more time, one on one instruction, and even interventions just to grasp the concept. Therefore, to me in some instances, student revision and re-testing might be necessary for students to be successful of mastering certain concepts. I too, would caution that teachers need to be keenly aware of their students and their capability because there are more than likely some students who would take advantage of this opportunity and not study, prepare or complete their homework at home as studying and home work completion should be done. These students who are in my book considered lazy and slothful should utilize better work habits to assure they are doing what needs to be done for their academic success. When students are not employing the best work habits or studying ethics it not only handicaps them, but also it places a strain on the teacher who then has to pause their lesson plans and other academics to reteach and retest. I wholeheartedly believe if a student genuinely needs further assistance, the teacher should be willing to provide it, yet I don’t think they should be given the opportunity simply because of a lack of planning, studying, and proper work habits on their part. To address these complaints, I would make my policy and procedures for this matter known to the parents and students at the beginning of the year. In addition, when these situations arise, I would examine each case individually, the students work habits, academic progress, and classroom tendencies and if I determine that this is a genuine situation where the student needed addition revision and or retesting, I would allow it with no problem. However, it I felt it was a case of time abuse or not utilizing their time wisely or attempting to take advantage of the situation, I would advise my policy and why I felt that the students could have done better and also provide recommendations for the student to do better next time.
To start, I have been in the classroom, and I have had the opportunity to see the practice of student revision and re-testing. Indeed, students should know that they have a responsibility to do their best the first time around. I was a first-year teacher, and when I saw another teacher allow a student to re-test, I was heartbroken. I thought how unfair because that student can now recall all of the material. It only took me a little while before I was offering my students the same opportunity. In addition, we can look at it as letting a student get by, or we can look at it as allowing the student to gain more learning. I realized that re-testing was still an opportunity to learn. Quite often, I would have my students to re-take a formative assessment or revise a writing assignment. I knew that students felt more secure with getting a grade than they did learning the material. Re-testing and revising helped me understand my students’ needs while affording them the chance to learn the skills and create more background knowledge. Rather, they didn’t study the first time, the second time, or even if they rushed through the work; the fact is that my students were still exposed to the learning material each time. That was important for me. Finally, I do agree that re-testing and revising take time. As a teacher, I ask myself what else am I to do with that time? Students need a teacher that displays patience and understanding. They need someone to lead them to their highest capabilities, not dictate when they do it. However, I do feel that re-testing and revising should be scheduled to ensure that students meet at a specific time. Teaching is directing our students on the right path so that when they receive that one attempt later in life, they have the tools to get it right the first time. We prepare them for what lies ahead, not hold them back from accomplishing goals set in place to meet proficiency.
The topics of revision and reteaching non-mastered content came up often this past school term especially after so many of the students had failed to complete assignments during the time when everyone was doing virtual learning. The way that I decided to do revision and reteaching of non-mastered content was to do small group teaching and station activities. The students would work in five stations throughout the week. The students had a teacher led stations, a remediation station, a knowledge station for new standards not yet covered to see how much they knew before the standard was covered, a writing station, and vocabulary or working with words station. In the teacher led station I would review non-mastered standards with the students in small groups of four or five students. I learned that when the students participated in small group learning they were more apt to participate, read, and answer questions because they were only surrounded by a small number of students instead of the entire class. I also, discovered that many of the students enjoyed working on the station activities because they had different options to choose from although they were working on the same standard. Instead of doing whole group lecturing the students got a chance to work on activities that were engaging and interesting to them and everything they did wasn't graded. The students grades begin to improve because they were taking more ownership of their learning. I think a big part of doing the stations gave the students the ability to use the various ways that they learn. Using the teacher led station help me identify the misconceptions that the students had about a topic or understand their thought process when choosing answers on multiple choice test. In small group the students are not allowed the opt out on answering questions. I also, use whiteboards and no one could answer the questions until everyone had written down an answer.