Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What I Learned

Yesterday was the first day of my experiement with having my students teach their peers. While it was not a shining success serving as a beacon to the way education should be, it did offere a glimmer of hope of things to come.

I will use my last period class as an example. Two students were in the group that taught yesterday afternoon. They were a good pair who are also friends. Now, this can mean two things. Friends in group work can lead to no work or it can lead to good work. In this case,  it led to the latter.

Of the two students, one is a frequent challenge. By the time this student ends the day in my classroom, I frequently wish my walls were padded in rubber. Monday, though, something else happened. These two students who had communicated over the weekend, who had sacrificed their lunch and wheel classes to work on their presentation brought their A Game.

From the top of the class, they had something for the students to do. They modeled, practiced and then assigned - taking questions as they went. What's more, they showed patience and understanding of those students who were off-task. Their re-direction was not loud or threatening, but quiet prodding of the "So, what are you writing down? Can I help?" ilk.

I was impressed. The cap was when theses student teachers had one of their class share a paragraph he had written. About the most difficult decision he'd ever had to face, the sharing students paragraph outlined his decision of whether or not to go skydiving. Without missing a beat, not a beat, the usually bouyant student said, "I can relate to that. When my mom went skydiving, I went up in the plane with her, and just being up there was scary."

He offered clear, relative feedback. He connected with his students.

I'll be doing this again when we return for second semester. It's a trial and error thing. Now that I know they can do it, I'm excited to see them do it better.

More later.

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1 comment:

Monica (Hawthorne) Haake said...

Speaking of students teaching--looks like you are doing pretty well yourself, Zac. :) It's hard to believe that just the other day you were a 7th grader in MY CLASS!!!!! Wow. I'll bet your students would get a huge kick out of that! Of course they will probably imagine that I'm about 80 years old or something. I happened upon your blog one day while I was reminiscing about Athens. Then I started googling random names of some of my favorites. . .you, Lorna, Seth, etc. It was fun and brought back a ton of memories from my very first year. Anyway, just thought I'd leave a comment and say, "Great Job!" I also have a few keepsake journal entries I need to e-mail to you that you might find interesting. Have a Merry Christmas! Keep blogging, maybe I'll learn something new.