‘Good Student’… ‘Good Learning’…

Common sense gives the impression that in order to be classified as a good student you must behave properly and think certain ways. Schools and educators emphasize what ‘good’ expectations are by based on what a ‘good’ citizen is in society; with potential these students will be those people one day. This usually reflects students’ ability to listen, show respect to their teacher and peers, sit silently, punctuality, completes tasks on time and follows their instructions correctly. That being said, the student who is more rambunctious than others, or the student who constantly talks to their neighbor during an independent assignment may not deserve the title ‘bad student’, their learning methods just aren’t being met. Allow group work often, some students learn better by sharing or reteaching a concept to their peers. Provide a time for them to be moving around, sitting in desks all day is dreadful so we cannot blame them for being restless during fifth period lecture.

As for learning for crisis, I completely agree. Students should not come to school each day to be reaffirmed that what they already know is correct. Should we ignore their present knowledge? Absolutely not. But we are placed in these classrooms to further their learning, expand their range of knowledge. However, this requires stepping out of our comfort zones, or common sense areas, and confronting the difficult topics to teach; social justice or oppression for instance. We cannot resist change, change is where these new occurrences and teaching moments happen. The crisis, or unexpected event, initiates these challenges to better everyone’s knowledge. This discomfort will allow ourselves and our students to focus on how they feel about a particular situation or topic and decide how they want to go about solving this. Whether it be a difficulty with a new method in math, or even the topic of race and discrimination in social studies, crisis can benefit how we internally make decisions. That being said we still want to practice a safe, comfortable classroom setting, but the involvement of crisis here and there should never be avoided.

When these issues arise in the classroom, we may or may not have planned for them to happen. It may freak us out at first too but we cannot hinder our students’ learning by choosing not to expand on the topic. Be there for guidance or assistance when they are uncomfortable, but do not have a crisis-free classroom to potentially make your life easier. We must embrace these moments to strengthen their awareness of challenging situations.

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