Sunday, January 31, 2010

Discussion Diversity

The Almasi article brought up a lot of interesting ideas and perspective that I feel is much needed in the realm of education. I have experienced many class discussions on texts that the teacher guides the classroom and almost shoots down perspectives that are different from their own. There are times that the teacher seemed to have the answer book in front of them and and if the answers or ideas that were presented by the teacher, then they were wrong. This is so sad. Often times we will have children from many different backgrounds in our classes and it is imperative that we are receptive to thier thoughts and ideas.

My concern may be, how do we stimulate younger children on a book. I think that it is so important to have classroom discussions on books, but too often I have observed in my first grade class that the students very easily get off task and talk about irrelevant information. This is very trying, yet how do we suppress thier thoughts and keep them on task at the same time? There has to be a balance because having the children talk about their own lives helps them connect the text to their own lives, but it can be very distracting from the task on hand.

I think that Yoon made a great point about how it is important for the teacher to come up with questions that scaffold their diverse thoughts into class discussion. I think that this is a great way to keep kids on track, by having the kids' questions lead the talks. Too often the questions bore the children and are not engaging. If we can get the students engaged and comfortable in classroom discussions, our whole class environment will be better.

1 comment:

  1. Parker, I totally have that same question concerning having the students stay on task. In my 5th grade classroom, it's almost impossible for the kids to stay on task in their silly IRE recitation, let alone a classroom wide "discussion" in which 33 ten-year-olds express their thoughts on what they know about space... or the moon... or whether or not the moon was made of cheese... and that Sarah had macaroni and cheese for dinner last night... and that the dinosaur on the Mac 'n Cheese box is extra cheesy - all puns intended...

    I can only imagine how terribly frustrating a class like that would be.