Relationships for Learning: Mindful Reading Assignment #2

We had to select 3 readings and from those reading select 3 passages that inspired, angered us or made us think. Here are my responses.

Jonassen, D., et al. 2008, Meaningful Leaning with Technology, 3rd edn, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, pp. 1-12

“In order for students to learn meaningfully, they must be willfully engaged in a meaningful task. In order for meaningful learning to occur, the task that students pursue should engage active, constructive, intentional, authentic, and cooperative activities.”

Yes, I agree. If you think about your own experiences from education what your favourite experiences were, I can guarantee they were engaging and meaningful. You may remember the ‘bad’ teachers the ones that weren’t engaging, but that is why you remember them because they didn’t help you learn as best as they could.

As future Teachers I believe it is important for us to connect the students not only to what is required in the curriculum but to also connect that with their personal experiences and to the real world. I know for me still being a student, if I cannot see the relevance in the topic of how it connects to the real world, and to me. For instance, I’m an art major studying education, if you were to put me into an advanced electronics class, for one I have no interest in the subject so straight away I switch my brain off secondly if they don’t explain the real world relevance I don’t see the point in learning it.

As teachers we need to take experience from our own education and build on it and change it so that our students don’t end up switching off and being disengaged. Yes the curriculum tells us what we need to cover; but it doesn’t have to be that black and white. Whatever the curriculum says link it to the real world and just as important link it to the students lives, what is surrounding them every day and what they are interested in.

Have you ever had that teacher who was incredibly boring and showed no excitement towards what they were trying to teach? Well generally the result is the students don’t connect with the teacher or the topic thus they disengage and don’t learn. On the other hand there are always those few teachers that inspire you to learn and make you want to learn. These are the teachers we need, the teachers who make learning fun, who make learning engaging and exciting the teachers who are excited themselves. Personally if I have a teacher who is energetic and genuinely excited about a topic I will be as well, because well it must be fun.

When I become a qualified a teacher and even before as a pre-service teacher I will work as hard as possible and learn as much as I can so I can be one of the  inspiring and engaging teacher who gives the students meaningful tasks which relate to them and the real world around them.

Burrows, L. Compassionate communication with parents of children and young people with learning disabilities, Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 9 No. 4 December 2004 pp. 12-20

“Positive communication between parents and teachers is an important element in schooling for children and young people, and it could be argued, it is even more important for those students with special needs, such as learning disabilities”.

I agree with this passage mainly because the children is in your care for approx. seven hours of the day then they go home to the care of their parents for hours more. Both parties (the teacher and the parent) spend a lot of hours with the child, the parent have a right to know what is happening to their child during school hours, academically, socially and emotionally, and so they should being a parent. However, if the home life of that student is affecting the students time during school hours and how he or she  works in the classroom, doesn’t the teacher have a right to know what (to a certain extent) it happening at home.

I say yes. I say yes because if the teacher has an indication on what is happening at home with the student the teacher can work around the situation and to assist the student in however they need. For example, if I student walks into your classroom in the morning and disrupts the whole class by being aggressive and shouting etc. and you have no idea why you automatic reaction may be to pull the child aside and maybe, depending on the child’s actions, may be sent to the principal’s office. However, if the parent approaches you in the morning and makes you aware of the situation, you are going to be aware of how the student is likely to react to certain situations, therefore you are able to avoid them, thus avoid ‘punishment’.

As well as avoiding situations which could aggravate the child you could also try to assist he child by talking to them and asking them questions. I experienced similar situations like this one on my 3rd year 4 week block placement. The was a variety of times where parents had come in during the morning routine before classes had begun and explained that student A was not feeling well, simply to let the teacher aware of what was happening. The classroom teacher was also aware about personal home situations such as divorce, so that if something had happened at home the night before the teacher was aware, thus the students’ needs were more likely to be met.

I also agree that it is more important that teacher has constant communication with parents of those children whom have been diagnosed with specials needs, whether physical or a learning disability. I say this because it is these students who have more difficulty at school and at home and problems are more likely to arise with these students. I had a few students with learning difficulties on my recent placement and the teacher kept in contact with the parents, via direct communication and notes sent home via the diary, to let them know the progress and what their learning plans included. I also had a student diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) where the parent would frequently come in during the morning routine and tell the teacher what had happened and what has currently been agitating him so the teacher would be able to plan how to respond to the student.

Giles, D. Relationships Always Matter: Finding from a Phenomenological Research Inquiry, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 36 Issue 6 Article 6, 2011

“When the teacher-student relationship matters, the teacher’s and student’s relational experience is engaged, connected and respectful of the other.

The first question I asked myself after reading this passage was ‘is a relationship between students necessary and important’? Of course I answered yes, if I was to answer no, quite frankly I am in the wrong system and should not be a teacher. However; after answering yes, it got me thinking, what makes a good student/teacher relationship and how does it benefit the student as well as the teacher.

On my 4 week block for 3rd year placement I got a glimpse into the bond that a teacher and a student make and how it benefitted both of them. I was with a year 6/7 class with a male teacher. This teacher was new to the school so the students had never had any interactions before or previous experiences; however, the students felt comfortable enough to approach the teacher if they had any concerns academically or socially. This applied for the females and males in the classroom. This benefitted both the teacher and the students. It benefitted the teacher because he was aware of students’ emotion, whether affected for social or academic reasons, because of this he was aware of them all the time on how they were focusing in the classroom. It benefitted the students because they felt comfortable enough to confide in their classroom teacher to let them know how they were feeling. Resulting in both parties having a respected connection with each other; which helped the students’ education.

To also gain respect from the students the classroom teacher would make sure that he welcomed and spoke to each and every student in the morning, to not only make them feel welcome, but also so if he couldn’t talk to all students during lessons he had given all students one on one in the morning. I believe after observing and taking part in this routine as well that the majority of the students not only respected you as their teacher but they were slightly more engaged when they were simply greeted in the morning.

I believe by having a good student/teacher relationship the students will be more likely to ask you questions if they are unsure. Students are also more likely to tell you when they are finished and if they could have a harder task. I experienced both of these, first hand on my recent placement. Even in the short time of four weeks I began to develop student/teacher relationships with the majority of the class. They would ask me for harder more challenging tasks instead of sitting there doing nothing or look like they were working. I felt comfortable enough with them to push them when I felt they were not doing their best, and in one of my art lessons one student got me very excited because the skills he demonstrated after I pushed him were great. He didn’t say this but I felt he was happy that I had pushed him to do his best and produce and he did.

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