Wednesday, November 5, 2008

TOPIC: What was the Essential Question?
How did Apartheid affect South Africans?

I observed……students learning about social injustice with the aide of technology in the classroom.

What did the students learn in terms of the Essential Question?
Students first learned what Apartheid is. Then students learned how Apartheid affected the lives of black South Africans. They learned who Nelson Mandela is, how he fought to end Apartheid, and that he was the first black president of South Africa.

What skills did they need in order to accomplish the task? List as many as possible.
Reading Fluency

What do you think were the students’ perceptions thought about this process?
What clues did you have? List as many as possible.
The students were very interested in the entire process. Clues that helped me come to this conclusion were: eagerness to participate in discussion, eagerness to share what they learned with other students and teachers, engrossed in each step while completing computer software segments.

What defines “effective teaching” for you?
Based on your definition, was the teacher’s instruction effective?
How do you know?

Effective teaching is defined by a teacher’s ability to present a topic, teach a topic, and engage students to higher level thinking. The teacher’s instruction was very effective. This was evident in the fact that the students understood, retained, and demonstrated skills that illustrated their grasp of the topic.

What was the teacher’s primary role during the activity you observed?
The teacher’s primary role was mainly to engage students in the topic and lead or guide their thought processes during knowledge formation.

How did the teacher’s role support student learning of the essential question?
The teacher’s role supported learning of the essential question by allowing the students to come to their own conclusions instead of telling them what happened and what to think.

How did the teacher support student learning of new technology tools?
The teacher supported student learning of new technology tools by first guiding them through the basic steps on how to use the software. Then after they learn the basic steps the teacher allowed for individual growth at each student’s own pace while remaining in the background for support and questions.

What scaffolds were in place? List as many as possible.
Student files
Student folders
Student account for software

Because you had a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the situation, you may have noticed some things you would do differently were you to have been the teacher in this situation. If you have ideas, record them here.
One thing I would do differently is to allow students more group discussion time. But because teachers are on a time frame, this was an issue for the teacher I observed.

How were you inspired through this observation process?
Through this observation process I was inspired by the teacher’s attitude and enthusiasm. I was inspired by the new techniques used to present a topic and to engage students in group discussions. I was mostly inspired by the fact that a tiny extra effort and a little of technology inclusion greatly impacted the engagement and interest of the students. Right from the start their minds were alert and ready to learn.

Do you have any new professional goals or aspirations? What are they?
After making my observations I have set a new professional goal for myself. A new professional goal is to think outside the box. A lot of the success of this lesson was due to the teacher using her resources outside of the lesson plan and outside of the classroom. “I’ll try anything to get these kids interested and thinking and eager to learn.”