Direction Part #1
Teachers play an important role in passing knowledge and improving the level of understanding of students. I managed to observe a teacher in classroom, teaching students at the same time conducting an assessment to determine the student’s level of understanding. The assessment enabled the teacher to repeat some of the concepts that were not understood by the students. During this class, I sat somewhere amidst students pretending to be part of the students. I made sure that my presence in the classroom would not create fear and discomfort to the students. I additionally assured the teacher that the process was directed towards improving learning techniques.
The teacher was covering a topic on the circulatory system. From the initial observation, it was evident that this was a continuation of a previous class on the same topic. The teacher had visual aids such as charts and animated circulatory system that was projected on a screen. The teacher was explicitly discussing the various functions of the heart, the roles of the arteries, veins and the reasons of variances in veins and arteries. At first, the teacher introduced these concepts to the class using visual aids to reiterate information. The animation was additionally used to display how the veins, arteries and the heart pumped blood. The approach by the teacher was practical which allowed the students to relate how the heart functioned. The teacher then went ahead to ask the students to feel the heartbeat in their chests as a means of convincing them that the pulse was caused by the action of the heart in pumping blood to other body organs.
The instruction session took at most 25 minutes after which the teacher allowed the students to have small discussions of about five minutes. The teacher then allowed students to ask questions about what they had learned. James raised the first question to the teacher seeking to understand why the arteries were narrow than the veins. The response from the teacher to student was that arteries pump blood outside the heart to body organs. The blood is rich in oxygen and needs to flow with high speed to different body organs. Body organs are located in different parts of the body, and a force is required to pump blood, which is made possible by narrow arteries. Veins move blood back to the heart and are wide to move as much blood as possible. Another student raised a question on the presence of valves in veins. The teacher responded to students that valves prevented backflow of blood since veins move blood slowly. The class was quite impressive as most students raised their hands seeking permissions to ask questions. John asked the teacher the reason why they feel pulses in other parts of the body such as the hand. The teacher responded to students that pulses are signals felt because of the heart pumping blood.
After answering student questions, the teacher took time to assess the understanding of the student. He posed the first question on why veins have valves, unlike the arteries. The class was a bit quite before five students raised their hands to answer the question. Charity responded that it was because they are wide. Other students seemed to have disagreed, and the teacher gave Emily the opportunity to answer. Emily responded that veins are large and require valves to prevent backflow of blood to the organs. The teacher applauded the student for her great efforts. The teacher asked another question on the types of arteries and veins in the circulatory system. Andrew responded to the question by naming all the types, which saw the all class clapping and applauding him for the correct answer. As the class ended, the teacher issued an assignment that could guide the students to understand the functioning of the heart better.
At the end of the class, I followed the teacher where I got the opportunity to conduct my interview. At first, I congratulated him for excellent teaching skills that ensured that students understood the topic and enjoyed the learning experience. I asked the first question on the importance of assessing students. The teacher responded that assessment allows him to determine if the students understand the concepts. It additionally helps him to identify areas that should be reviewed to ensure that students are on the same level. The second question to the teacher was to find out what he enjoyed most about assessing students. The teacher responded that student assessment provided a personal interaction with students, which improved the teacher-student relationship. The teacher noted, “There are students who come looking for me with questions they could not ask in class.” The last question was the difficulties faced in student assessment. The teacher responded that different personalities of students make it hard to conduct the assessment. Some students just choose to be silent about whom it becomes hard to persuade these students to raise issues. Diversity additionally works against students from different backgrounds.
Direction Part #2
The two Vignettes presents an overview of teaching approaches used by instructors in class. In the first Vignette, the teacher is doing great in the manner in which she introduces the topic to students. The choice of using visual aids helps to improve the understanding of the students. The assessment method used by the teacher helps her to gauge the understanding of the students. The teacher firsts assess the student knowledge by asking them to note if the pictures are plants. The assessment allows the teacher to understand prior knowledge of the students. Ms. Lebron then introduces the goals of learning the topic by briefly explaining the functions of the different parts before issuing group tasks to be completed by students. The next day she reviews each of the assignments and issues feedbacks on the areas that student found it difficult. The teacher in this case observed some of the characteristics of formative assessment by issuing evidence-based feedback. She additionally managed to create a good relationship with the students. She was able to communicate the learning goals by bringing to the attention of the students that understanding photosynthesis was of importance (McMillan, 2014).
In the second Vignette, Ms. Sabrent uses a different approach to learning. She initially narrates a story of the solar system after which she shows students a picture of the solar system. She then goes ahead to ask the students to draw the solar system. She hurriedly goes ahead to describe each planet and earth’s rotation around the sun. Her first assessment involves asking students question on the largest planet. When one student fails, she tells him to “try again” something that puzzles the student. The teacher gives a student who answers the question a warm look response. The teacher asks students unique questions but fails to provide answers. She goes ahead to issue homework without issuing feedback. The assessment techniques of this teacher do not conform to those of formative assessment (McMillan, 2014).
The main similarity between the two-assessment approaches is the use of visual aids to enhance understanding. Both teachers use diagrams, which allows students to have a better understanding of the issue. Both teachers ask questions in class to ascertain the understanding of students. They use the feedback from the students to review areas of misunderstanding by the students.
There are unique differences in the manner in which assessments are conducted in the two classes. In Vignette 1, Ms. Lebron establishes friendly relationships with the students. The students can interact freely with the teacher. It does not happen in Vignette 2 where the teacher does not care about establishing good relationships with the students. She is rude to the students, which creates fear among students. Ms. Sabrent does not issue feedback on student assessment. She goes ahead to put checkmarks in students worksheet without reviewing areas in which students faced challenges. Ms. Lebron, on the other hand, adopts formative assessment technique of issuing feedback to student assignment before proceeding to the next area of discussion (McMillan, 2014).
For the first class, the assessment approaches used by Ms. Lebron are exemplary. She should continue conducting her classes, this manner since the feedback issued to students helps them to improve their understanding. The second class by Ms. Sabrent need to implement a few changes. The teacher needs to develop a good relationship with students to make the class lively. She additionally needs to adopt evidence-based feedback to enable the students to know their weak areas and put more efforts towards understanding (McMillan, 2014).
McMillan, J. H. (2014). Classroom Assessment: Principles and Practice for Effective Standards-Based Instruction, 6th. Boston: Pearson.