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Educating a classroom full of students is challenging enough, however when some of those students present a regular behavioral problem, the job can become deceptively impossible. Difficult students can turn the tide of any classroom, affecting balanced learning and leading to constant interruption. Some students work well and even thrive in a very structured classroom as is presented in this Warren case. The narrative and exchanges are incredibly typical of many classrooms, where the structure does not appear to be working. To specifically answer the question about why the class is failing, subjectively, it falls back on policy and mandate. The fierce structure of teaching to standards for the pure purpose of content mastery for test results is making learning, motivation and school and reading 'drag' for many students.
Behavioral problems in the classroom can be one of the most difficult parts of a teacher's job. It disrupts their lesson plans, tries their patience, get in the way of the other children's learning environment and leaves a lot of teachers feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and out of control as in the Warren case. We are coming out of the Sesame Street generation, where fast snippets of animation, colorful characters, and related style of technology is mainstay and bringing in these kids to a structured classroom, with florescent lights and hard textbooks is a real shift. Many have not learned personal skills from their environment and so of course, they cannot succeed in a foreign setting. They are almost set up to fail. The cost benefit analysis of the said classroom is destined to fail.
For many centuries, students who had a natural interest in learning and self-motivation were successful, despite the environment. However, the setting covered in the story makes it
The Case Study of Marsha Warren
very difficult for these children to prosper and much is not their fault. Incentives are lacking, reviewing the rules clearly is not a motivation to make adjustments and learning how to be present with dignity and respect is paramount. Finally, reading skills are invaluable but so is a quiet and calm classroom with a tone that is optimal for most all to learn and grow. There are many ways to teach reading and if the present one is not working then swift adjustments are critical. If there is no love of learning and reading then it becomes an uphill battle with everything else.
Marsha Warren's third grade class is composed of twenty-two students. Eight of her pupils are reading at, below grade levels, some on account of, coming from single-family homes, little or no interest in learning, language barriers and learning disabilities. This group of students disrupt the class daily and fight amongst themselves continuously. In an attempt to advance their reading, Ms. Warren assembles the eight for a reading group while the remainder of the students finish workbook assignments. Although, the students working on their workbook assignment are well-behaved they are sidetracked from their work by the squabbling among the low functioning reading students.
The eight pupils are isolated from the rest of the class and as a result labeled as different. Some of the other teachers have labeled them "infidels", those who have no religious faith no Christian values. Even though the teachers have not used the term infidels to the students face to face, the teacher's thoughts are apparent in what they say and how they treat the students. This judgment is clear and causes the students to act out. High expectations are necessary for student's achievement. Ms. Warren should have high expectations for all students. The
The Case Study of Marsha Warren
differences in teacher expectations for student learning differ considerably according to group label and placement. When more is expected from a student they produce more than students in which less is expected from. According to Sadker & Zittleman, many [teachers] believe that it is easier for students with similar skills and intellectual abilities to learn together, in homogeneous classes. As a result, sending them down different school paths, profoundly shaping their future. Tracking makes it acceptable in the perception of intelligence as a set trait that some students have "more," while others have ''less."
It appears as if though this behavioral pattern has already been established. Nevertheless, the teacher is accountable for how the students continue to behave while in her classroom and she has the responsibility to influence their behavior. All teachers have to deal with bad-mannered students. Although no two circumstances are alike, perceptive teachers are able to discover ways to handle the situation. First off, do not take the disrespect personally. The teacher should keep in mind that the students do not really know her as a person and are responding as a young student would, childishly. Next, would be to work to reduce the disruption in her classroom.
By having a class within a class, Ms. Warren is asking for trouble. The students are quarrelling and fighting amongst themselves, and this is probably due to not want to read aloud and have the entire class's attention on them. They have been identified as poor readers and just maybe the last thing they want is to be embarrassed.
Ms. Warren thinks the problem may stems from the students ' home life. She receives no
The Case Study of Marsha Warren
help from the parents. Notes have been sent home, calls have been made to some of the parents and she has tried to help the students advance in their reading.
Nothing has worked and she is growing weary, distressed by her lack of ability to reach the students and manage their behavior. As soon as she storms out the classroom, she has given up a measure of control.
Ms. Warren, should take a deep breath before she walks back into the classroom, request the attention of the entire class and explain what caused her behavior. Apologize to the class, without placing blame on the student's.
By shifting the class structure in her classroom from teacher to student, Ms. Warren could alter the student's idea of control. The task for learning transfers from her to the student. This occurs once she empowers the students to make their own learning choices. At this time the student's, not Ms. Warren, takes the fault or the recognition for their education. The student's look to the teacher as a person responsible for leading or coordinating the work of learning and the combat zone may disappear in the classroom. The student's would then recognize the power or control they have over their own learning, she ultimately might have a class that is "under control". Put differently, in order to gain control you have to give up some control. This shift, I don't believe comes easy and may be uncomfortable for many teachers. Ms. Warren should start small and try to increase the time spent on self-directed study gradually. The next day Ms. Warren should have a day of writing surrounded around an outburst day, a vivid demonstration will challenge her student's to describe the act of an occurrence rather than verbalizing what
The Case of Marsha Warren
happened. Ms. Warren should Hand out writing paper and inform the students that she would like them to write about what happened, as they saw it. Possibly, After 10 minutes or 15 of writing, invite some students to disclose what they have written. Odds are their descriptions will be most likely very straightforward of what went on. She may than say to the students, "Okay, I was angry, but how did you know I was angry? Can anyone give me some examples of how they knew?" while the student's share their feelings, she should write them on a board. The inventory ought to grow as student's share what they observed. In this way, Ms. Warren allows the student's to appreciate the fact that she is not faultless; it also gives the student's a sense of ownership of the classroom at the same time still maintaining control. In the future, she should have the whole class partake in the reading group. At this age, students are wonderful helpers.
Although most teachers will not be able to foresee very behavioral problem that they may encounter, it will be possible to spot many of them. Once the teacher is ready for the most common behavior problems, they will be able to handle and be able to change many of them. It would wise for Ms. Warren to prepare a list of possible behavior issues and precautions along with immediate strategies that will lead to ongoing acceptable behaviors. Being equipped for and knowing how you will cope with behavior deviations is half the battle! The foundation of a good class involves a vast amount of work. Spending time with the student's so that you can find out about holes in their comprehension, also reading, writing and creating to build an exciting and motivating class every day. The only thing that would make a teacher do this is a concern and respect for the student's in thier classroom.