Thursday, September 30, 2010

Día 29 - Positivity

I've never really liked to be the enforcer of rules in my classroom.  I understand that it is necessary but I feel like students should want to be there.  With TPRS, I felt like I had found this method where the students were excited everyday about class and they were enjoying it and participating.

Because I'm focusing on so many things, I didn't crack down on the student here or there who would tune me out.  I know now that I can't move on until I have all of the students' attention.  It's just a matter of training my students that I will not teach anymore if they are not paying attention.  I was reading in Ben Slavic's book that he will just stand and wait for the students who aren't paying attention.  He might make a lighthearted face of impatience or he might show a face that really reflects his annoyance level with the student.

I've been testing something with my Junior High students and I think that it has been working.  My students come from a class that they absolutely hate.  They feel stifled in their class right before mine and often times they come in late because the teacher held them after.  I'm a little curious about how the teacher holds them after class to punish them.  It doesn't seem to work.  The same offenders tend to be late to my class.  She's really only punishing me and my starting class on time with that approach.  If a student comes in late, they might already be a little behind because of our TPR'ing some terms.  They can probably understand the story eventually due to the circling I will be doing with the story.  It still might not make as much sense as to the rest of the class who is there the entire time.  But I digress.

I've noticed every day that the students come in and I can tell how they are doing because I've been making a habit to stand at my door and greet my students as they walk in every day and try and give them a genuinely positive greeting and a smile to welcome them into class.

My Junior High students tend to let me know pretty quick how well math class went through their posture as well as their outspokenness.  I have seen how the legalistic method of the math teacher has not worked at all for this class.  They constantly push and don't feel any motivation to pay attention to her.

That must be where the personalization of TPRS comes in.  We try to get to know our students and use that in class.  We try to use them as props and actors and showcase their talents.  The class is about them and what they can come up with.  It's a beautiful thing.

I've also been working on being more positive in general.  When my students in the Junior High class get a little rowdy, I stop and wait until their ready.  The curious thing is that they apologize to me when they act out.  They'll probably still do it here and there.  But they are not doing it as often as before and when they do it they are quicker to correct each other not because I will punish them.

I have not punished any of the students in class this year.  I've been lucky that nothing horrible has happened.  But I think this is the case because the students genuinely like being in my class and learning from me.  As a result, they are so quick to self-regulate because they understand that they want me to stay happy and to continue teaching so they can keep learning and the silliness can continue.

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