In this chapter, it was interesting to read through the different research examples to see which worked well and which did not have a positive outcome. Thomas L. Good (2010) focuses on several key points over the last forty years of his research in teaching. I particularly found the “Kounin Framework” (p. 39) to be helpful for me because it encourages teachers to focus on acknowledging student behavior or “withitness” (p. 38) as the text described. In my teaching experience so far, my first class of thirty-three junior high students overwhelmed me a bit. I usually had most of their energetic attention and acknowledged good behavior. However, I found that I had a difficult time also holding the attention of a few kids in the back of the classroom. The attentive students were alerted to what I was keeping them accountable to, displayed that they understood the subject matter, and so I moved on. Good (2010) describes how a teacher can misuse the “Kounin Framework” (p. 39) by saying that “if the same students are always called on at transition points, it might convey ‘If you understand, we can move on’” (p. 39). Realizing this, I should have made the few students in the back accountable as well, but I feared losing the rest of the class. In the future, I hope to engage in student learning through using the Kounin model effectively for the entire class.
I think that the “General Principles of Effective Teaching” (Good, 2010, p. 41) are extremely helpful guidelines for becoming an effective teacher. I felt it was important how Jere Brophy (2008) explained that focus needs to be placed on “learning” rather than “knowing” the wrong and right answers (p. 41). As a teacher this past year, I found that students were much more highly motivated to do well on assignments when I placed the focus on learning. The students realized that although grades are important, it was even more important to take the information outside of the classroom and apply it to their lives. This was probably an easier idea to plant in their hearts for me because I was teaching a Christian worldview/life skills class. As I teach different subjects, it will be a challenge to persuade students to apply their learning beyond simply “knowing”.
I also took note of Jere Brophy’s (2008) suggestion to set curriculum goals (p. 42). I believe that this takes more effort and planning from the teacher, but is well worth the outcome. When students understand the goals that they are set to reach, it is communicated to them that they have expectations to reach. Through these goals, the teacher is enabling students to reach their full potential. Brophy (2008) also pointed out the need for goal-oriented assessments that focus on the overall curriculum goals (p. 42). Students can’t always see the big picture, and so I ask the question how can teachers show students that their day-to-day activities are important? I see students putting extra focus on tests and large papers, yet forgetting to put effort in daily classroom learning.
After reading this chapter, I better understand the tug and pull that exists between teachers and the reforms that they are asked to accept. Since the state government has so much power and authority to make a positive impact on education, I wonder why it seems that they are not using teachers as resources? Why aren’t policy makers asking teachers where the problems are and working together to make a better educational system?