As I continue to read Opening Minds by Peter H. Johnston, I find myself reflecting back on my own practice and thinking of ways to change and improve what I do in my classroom.
In chapter 4 Johnston talks about praise and feedback. Many times in the classroom we are so quick to tell students that something is wrong and tell them how we feel about it. Instead we should be asking our students for another way to do something. This is something that I have done in my own classroom. When my students have done something out of ‘character’ I would let them know how disappointed I was in them, when I should have been asking them what they could do different to change it and for later. This is allowing students to see what is going on and take control of their actions. Giving them the power is not always easy but makes life in the classroom a little easier. Also Johnston says not use personal feedback with emotion, it is part of what causes students to believe that they are not good in a subject.
When prompting students with questions, many times peers will do the same thing allowing students to think about their thought process and explain what they have been doing. The way we talk to our students has a huge impact on what they do. If we change the way we talk to our students and how we give them feedback can make a world of difference for our students.
When giving praise to students we have to consider what we are saying and how we say it. There is a way to praise students and give them criticism at the same time, that is effective to help students growth.
In chapter 5 Johnston talks about different ways of thinking about topics and their framework there is the dynamic framework and fixed framework. Having open conversations with direction allow students to think and share their opinions and thoughts. They are able to do this in a comfortable environment where they feel respected and valued. By having some teacher direction it helps students to realize what they have come across when they cannot figure it out on their own. By having a dynamic frame work in the classroom students are able to grow and see themselves differently daily. They are accepting of challenges and find ways to solve them. They are understand that things can be difficult but are not set in the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ student ind set. This is important when giving students the opportunity to share their thinking and wok together. Also when having a disagreement students are able to respect one another.
This is something that I am working on in my classroom. We have had a couple disagreements and students are working on ways to value each others opinions. This is something new for me and them so we are working on it together and trying to see how what everyone has to say is important.