« Addicted to Teaching | Main | Remaining Relevant »

Making History

| 1 Comment

Graduate students in The College of New Jersey’s education program are gathering valuable advice from experienced teachers in a novel way—by preserving their voices. Students compiled oral histories of veteran teachers who offered advice about conquering first-year teaching woes. On Artistry, Equanimity, & Power, Tabitha, an assistant professor at the college, posted the following excerpts as recorded by the students:

“Most importantly, [veteran teacher] Anthony feels that whatever happens during the day, ends that day. If you have a bad day with a class, the worst thing to say to them the next day is, ‘We are not going to have a day like yesterday!’ He advises a beginning teacher to go on from that point and don’t look back.”

“[Mrs. Smith said,] ‘I heard in college that if you try to be your students’ friend they will eat you alive. I became too strict as a result. I gave too much homework and I wasn’t lenient enough.’”
“She explained that she learned two things rather quickly; first, positive reinforcement will give students confidence and help their behavior and second, perhaps most important, is to remain consistent.”
1 Comment

Positive reinforcement and consistency--here is why many teachers fail in applying those 2 critical elements.

For some street-wise students, they view positive reinforcement as another form of currency. So if they get 1 "good work" comment from the teacher, then they can now do 2 things that "needs improvement" comment from the teacher and they will still be back where they were in the first place. And if those are the only consequences to their actions, then there isn't much more motivation to improve their lives. After all, they still have their XBOX to go home to and free breakfast or lunch if they need it.

Remaining consistent is good if your students respond. Needy students continue to test the teacher's limits to bend the structure like needing more bathroom breaks, or needing more scaffolded lessons because they don't do their homeworks. And the students can always make a media circus out of it because their is always a lawyer looking to sue the school district.

For the good students who get the parental support at home, they get the positive reinforcement they need at home, and the consistent structure at home. Then it becomes easy for the teacher to supplement those reinforcement and structure at school.

For the not so good students who do not get the parent support, positive reinforcement get misinterpreted as a currency, and consistent structures are boundaries that can be tested.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • MathMaestro: Positive reinforcement and consistency--here is why many teachers fail in read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here