Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Reflection 9 - Getting to know your students by helping them discover who they really are

In this reflection I will talk about a way in which you can achieve the four items of a successful classroom: relationships, magic, whatever it takes, and dreams; this taking into account what we saw in class about the teacher of the year and what she said about the key elements in her class, and the readings and presentations about them. Showing you care is very important for the students and for you as a teacher in your classroom, this is a big step to have a successful classroom. It is something that requires a lot of effort and different characteristics from you; e.g. being constant, honest, and resourceful, among others. To show you care you have to observe your students and get to know them, but also they need to get to know themselves.
            The strategy to build relationships where you get to know your students at the beginning of the school year through questions is very important, but with other ingredients it will not only give truthful information about them, but it can give them information about themselves. Relationships are built with time, so it’s a misconception to think the students will give you all the information you need in the first day, week, or month; you as teacher need to do more. The reasons may vary, for example they don’t know themselves well enough yet, they don’t trust you from the beginning, and/or simply they are not ready to share information about themselves. This is why some of the information about your students can be gathered from the first day and some other you have to work harder to obtain it (advice: choose your questions carefully).
            A good way to gather this information could be through the self-discovery process they will live through your class. If you apply strategies in which they collect information about themselves you will also be able to observe them and get deeper and better details that will help you create and manage a successful classroom. One example of a self-discovery strategy is to show them progress in their educational process, use your lessons to help them have opinions and make decisions for themselves. You can begin your lesson with a question about the topic that involves decision making before you give them the new information, the lesson will be the way to guide them and help them arrive to their own well-founded answer of the question with which you began the lesson. Then it’s important that they can see, through for example progress maps, how they have progressed in their answer, not necessarily because they changed it, but because it’s better structured, founded, and based on what they realized about themselves through your lesson (using the GANAG+SIOP will make this easier).
            Later on the year you can repeat the questions you gave them at the beginning of the school year and let them compare their answers with the first ones they gave. They will see some answers that are the same, but they will find that others changed because they know more about themselves, they trust you more, and they are willing to share more now. With this information and the one you have been collecting as a teacher it will be easier to create honest and lasting relationships, bring magic to your classes through their real interests, do whatever it takes to help your students now that you know them better, and use their real dreams as inspiration, given that this dreams are more accurate regarding what they really want.

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