Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Academic & Personal Development

Regardless of student ability, performance is best in classes that are enjoyable. At times, it seems that teachers should not be worrying about coverage of content, but should be concentrating on making learning enjoyable. It is difficult to see a couple students sitting their bored out of their mind in science class. Science has many interesting concepts, but at the 6th grade level, teachers are required to teach the following topics: Ecosystems, Matter and Energy, Plate Tectonics, and Weathering and Erosion. Now, these topics are interesting to some of the students, but not to all in a class of thirty-two diverse learners whose interests are different. Some of the students could care less about potential and kinetic energy or invasive species. In the middle school, you are always going to have a few students who are disinterested, and as a teacher I make it my goal to reach the majority of the students and assist the individuals who are lacking interest.

Before I begin teaching a unit, I have students begin to fill out a 'What I Know, What I Want to Know, and What I Learned' graphic organizer. This allows me to guide students through the unit utilizing their prior knowledge and interests which makes learning more enjoyable. It is important to make learning enjoyable, but it is also important to get through the content because the teachers that have the same students the following year expect the students to be familiar of the content. As a 6th grade teacher, it is difficult to teach certain concepts when students have not mastered the 5th grade concepts. The curriculum must contribute to the basic psychological needs of learners in order for them to be motivated and develop. Through social interventions and learning activities, teachers contribute to the personal development of students. If the classroom overemphasizes achievement, students may feel disconnected and discontent. The curriculum needs to have a balance of satisfying the developmental needs of students and achievement.