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Before my entry towards NIE, I used to be a gossipy teacher in my contract school. I find that it is useful for me to pick out students who have behavioral issues so that I can pay extra attention to them. I always spent a good time talking to my colleagues about those students and what are the ways in which I can help them to improve for the better.
In the aspect of learning, even though back then I was a untrained contract teacher, I always try my very best to plan lesson to the class needs as I always believe a teacher should always plan ahead before lesson to ensure a delivery of good lesson. We should never short change the pupils due to our laziness.
Being a particular student who could not stand boring lessons, I always make sure my lessons are always interesting and fun-filled with laughter. I never believed that a strict and harsh learning environment can produce great learners as the product is usually focus rather than the process. I believe that pupils would learn better with fun-filled process being the journey towards reaching their exams and test. Due to my open approach to the students, many of them are comfortable in sharing their personal problems with me, allowing me to aid them with their problems outside school.
To train my students towards being a self-directed learner, I always try to trigger my students to think critically own their own, instead of just spoon-feeding them with information for them to process and memorize.
"No longer can education plan classroom management procedures for the majority culture."(M. Lee Manning & Katherine T. Butcher, 2012, p.9) I always try to integrate my class as one despite the vast diversity. I never find having diverse learners a bane as I feel that this opens to bigger opinions and views in class, thus allowing them to see different aspect of problems and acknowledging the differences they have with their classmates.
Maame Fenyiwa once said that "it takes two hands to clap" and I always believe that to nuture a child it's not always the job of the teachers to do so. Parents do play an important part as students only spent 50% of their day in school and what goes beyond the campus is what a teacher cannot manage. Therefore I always make an effort to keep in constant contact to parents to work closely with them to fulfil their child fullest potential.
Under the influence of my Dad and being a sport athlete, I always believe that there is a right time to play and work. Building on that, whenever it's time for proper work in class I always make sure my pupils do their work diligently and even if there were noise, it would be constructive ones due to discussions. I never condone to misbehaviour in class, but however I always make a point to talk to my pupils after punishments, making them understand where they have gone wrong and how they can improve in the future.
Coming to NIE and taking this module is really an eye-opener for me. It allows me to see that teaching is so much more than just imparting knowledge to students. Tutorial sessions make me reflect and think about the approaches I have been using during my contract teaching. It greatly empowers me with so much more skills to manage and to guide students to greater success.
Reflect through the lessons conducted, many valuable lessons were taught which greatly enlightened me. On the lesson of diversity, I greatly see importance of having diversity in the classroom. Mann & Bucher mention that the idea of inclusion refers to equal opportunity of education for all despite differences, along with proper support provided. (Mann & Bucher, 2012)
In the support of physical settings, one should not feel disabled and comfortable with learning spaces. The teacher should deliver lessons through a variety of mediums e.g. kinesthetic, visual, auditory materials to cater to different learning needs. Not only there is a huge challenge on the teacher's role, the students would definitely be under great pressure to work with someone different. Students would special needs would gain a huge boost in confidence if both the teacher and student can work well to integrate them into a normal classroom setting and be treated as equals like the others.
Many teachable moments can be brought into class with the presence of behavioural problem. When one misbehaves, the teacher can bring about the discussion of the misbehaviour and whether it is an appropriate behaviour. Peer mediation can come into play if there are repeated offenses.
With cooperation from the class and the teacher, one with special needs can be included as one and classes can be conducted smooth and well like a normal functioning class.
The understanding of Stice's Ecological Model also provided me with a better insight to analysis a student's problem. It "aims to facilitate classroom learning environments that are both socially and academically inclusive." (Levan, Thana & Roger, 2007) Stice Ecological Model revolves around the five categories of understanding the individual, self-esteem, collaboration, instruction, classroom environment, behaviour management. (Levan, Thana & Roger, 2007) These aspects provide us with a clear concept of the interaction with the social circles of the individual, and the behaviour one possess and display, in and out of school. Remedies can then be applied according to the different aspects of the model.
These points are well supported by Mann & Bucher on the text of inclusion. They mention that inclusion aids in one's vision of self-concepts and creates a great opportunity for the class the accept differences, leaders in class can aid in improving the behaviour and social skills of individuals with special needs. (Mann & Bucher, 2012)
With the influx of foreign talents and the Prime Minister calls for a stronger effort in integrating the society as one, the responsibility falls even greater on us the educators to mould a understanding and inclusive society.
The study of classroom management models opened my eyes to a vast variety of models. What greatly interests me is the approach of discipline as self-control by Thomas Gordon.
Gordon believes that teachers should allow students to see that the problem rests with them, and they will have to step up to take ownership to reform and change their behaviour. (Mann & Bucher, 2012) I agree with this statement and I personally feel that a teacher should help the students understand that the problem eventually impacts themselves the most, as this behaviour is going to turn into a habit and eventually follow them till the rest of their lives. Educators can help the student by surfacing those problems and understand their needs, so as to change the setting in the class or instructions to improve their behaviour. (Gordon, 1974) Gordon also mention to "promote the idea of problem ownership, teachers need to engage in active listening." (Gordon, 1974, p.63) I viewed the communication between teacher and students as great importance as I personally believe that a teacher should always adopt an open door policy, one in which student always feels comfortable sharing problems with you. This greatly put a teacher in an advantage of understanding one's needs in time of urgent situations.