Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recitation and Scaffolding

Currently I am only seeing recitation in my classroom, which I find very frustrating. When I sit and observe my classroom I feel as though I am in a college class. The students all sitting in rows listening to the teacher lecture about one of the four core subjects. What I do find missing from this picture though is the students taking notes. The teacher makes them clear their desks while she either writes on the overhead or the white board. This does not make sense to me one because the students become distracted and don't pay attention and second they aren't taking anything from what she is saying because they aren't writing it down. I also know that they aren't understanding it because when she gives a worksheet after she is finished lecturing they always have questions and don't understand. So pretty much her idea of teaching a lesson is lecturing to the kids and then giving them a worksheet to work on individually. She does not want them working together because they will talk to much. But they do end up talking and it just isn't working. She informed me that she does not plan on teaching them how to work in groups because it would cause her too much of a headache to teach them because they all have bad behavior to begin with. So instead of doing something about the whole situation she has given up on them and is treating them like college students and not like 10 year olds, which is really what they need.

For response center talk to occur the right questions need to be asked. The teacher needs to ask a clear and concise questions that the students understand. The question or idea needs to be thought provoking so that students have lots of ideas to share with their peers. The teacher also needs to model different activities that he or she would like to take place so that the student understands what they need to be doing to facilitate their learning. Once students understand how to complete an activity many questions will arise throughout the class period. This is a harder question for me because the teacher does not do much scaffolding as explained above. After the students get their worksheets she sits at her desk until the students are finished and then moves on....

There are many different levels of learners in my classroom but the worksheets do not reflect this. All the students get the same worksheets and always get frustrated right when they see it. There is this one girl that barely looks at the worksheet and then raises her hand and says I don't get how to do this...I don't want to do this. It is very frustrating to watch. When I go around and explain the different tasks to them the students have a better understanding of the worksheet. But as I have said before they don't take notes while the teacher is talking so they never get to write the examples the teacher is doing first and then work on their worksheet. The first time they explore is with the worksheet that is graded. She does allow one student who is the lowest in math come to the front desk during the math worksheet time so that she can constantly ask the teacher questions. When there is a reading worksheet she reads the words to the two students who have reading as their IEP. But in reality she needs to have many worksheets for these students because half of the kids don't even know their multiplication tables so reducing fractions is just not working at the moment. Overall I think that if there was more scaffolding in the classroom students might start to improve and understand the topics better. We have 33 students how I feel are at all different levels and that makes it very difficult to teach. Also I think that if the students were taught how to work in groups the different levels could work together to solve the different problem. When a student can explain how to do a problem to someone else you know that they understand the task.


  1. Wow, I really feel bad for the students in your class. It's very sad. All you can hope for is that next year, they'll have a teacher who really cares.

    But, if you try and stay positive about it, at least you are having an opportunity to see one extreme of how a teacher reaches her students. You are watching a teacher lecture, and not meet the needs of her students, so maybe it will help you see exactly what YOU want to do in your future classroom.

    I've had discussions about recitations vs. discussions in previous classes and every time, I'm always surprised at how rare it is to see an actual authentic class discussion. I wonder how long ago these ideas were introduced. Do you think your teacher even has any idea?

  2. I am very surprised to hear about how much class lecture you are getting in your classroom. This has to be concerning not only for you as an observer of the classroom, and future teacher, but also the students in your class. I'm sure the students are having difficulty finding motivation to complete assignments and projects, since all they do is sit at their desks and listen to the teacher talk. Perhaps the teacher could try and incorporate group time or partner reading to change up the repetition of lecture style discussion. I feel for you and the students as it does not sound like the teacher is doing much to change this, so hopefully with a positive attitude and determination, things will go as good as they can for the rest of the semester!