The overwhelming information for me was Steve’s advice “Above all else, just survive”.  It reminds me that the path of a pre-service teacher is likely to be filled with stumbles, great leaps of womankind and occasional bouts of falling on my face. To quote Shannon’s blog name – we are becoming “Teachers as Learners”  and this means recognising our start point as a place that WILL be improved upon. It also highlights that we must not make the incidental, personal. Remembering that the students are attached to their current teacher, allowing them the time to assimilate my presence in their education and accepting a temporary moniker as “the newbie” will help to smooth some of the transitional bumps that clearly lie ahead.  Steve’s suggested that the “fight/flight/ tackle the task” response is one that we can apply to all aspects of our lives.  (I have experienced several of these in the first weeks of the DipEd!) I will apply this to the students’ responses, as it may illustrate how different groups will respond to my teaching and allow me to view them from a different perspective.

Steve referred to different kinds of freedom in his lecture. It appeared that several of the students may have confused the types of freedom afforded them in an alternative schooling model. There are applications to all schooling models in the clarification. The freedom the students were given was NOT freedom from all control, responsibility or discipline. This is a notion I hope to convey early on to my students. On this note, my reading this week suggests an approach for pre-service teachers that is termed “Assertive Discipline”. It consists of giving students’ concise guidelines for behaviour and positively reinforcing their classroom choices. The parameters of classroom behaviour are narrower than a more experienced teacher might apply  but Desiderio suggests this is an appropriate approach for inexperienced teachers who have not yet built either rapport or reputation with their students. As far as classroom achievement and student  contentment were applied, there were not marked differences between the pre-service teacher using the “Assertive Discipline” approach and the mentor teacher who adopted a more relaxed teaching style. The students were well-directed in both cases, as to what their teachers expected. In turn, the teachers were consistent in their guidelines and the application of those principles. Hence, the students responded to clear, confident and consistent instruction, despite the different styles. Desiderio suggests that as the pre-service teacher gains more experience and presence, they can adopt other techniques for classroom management but that it is important, early on, to assume these deliberate measures to instill a more successful learning environment.

Sources

Desiderio, M.F. & Mullennix, C. (2005). Two Behavior Management Systems, One Classroom: Can Elementary Students Adapt? Educational Forum, 69, 4, pp. 383-391. Retrieved August 3, 2007 from EBSCO database. 

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