As a teacher, in order to develop high performance expectations in my class, I will be analysing videos of three different classrooms and observe their instructional methods. I will be exploring three categories based on high expectations; Academic expectations, Behaviour expectations and Norms and Procedures. As a result, I hope to gain some insight on how I could create more high-performance expectations with my ELL Science students in Thailand.
Roller Coaster Science – Video
In this video, I believe the teacher has set up high academic expectations. She managed to set up cross-disciplinary ideas such as students understanding how to manage their budget (mathematics) for their science project of producing a rollercoaster. Managing and keeping to a budget is also a relatable lifestyle skill of which it can benefit them for their future. The teacher has also encouraged students to be better problem solvers by limiting their resources. As a result, the students take more consideration of their actions and communicate their problems or solutions with their group and the teacher.
I believe the teacher has high expectations for her students. She had assigned jobs within the different groups to create an atmosphere where students take ownership and responsibility for their roles within their groups, such as the accountant etc. The teacher also looked like she relied on students interactions and their collaboration with each other to keep focused and create attainable goals. The teacher also makes sure to ask questions about their decisions made by the group to determine whether a group is focused and to understand why they made their decisions.
Norms and procedures
The teacher seems to have established some great norms and procedures for the students. The strategy of chiming in foster’s the appropriate way to listen and contribute ideas, solutions and obstacles along with taking notes on what they consider to be interesting or important. The video also shows how this skill can be transitioned towards their own group when they collaborate and communicate with each other. I thought the teacher maintained high expectations of norms and procedures with her students when she encouraged them to use the correct vocabulary in justifying their modifications and providing solutions for their rollercoaster.
3rd Grade Chinese Math – Video
Based on the design of the classroom and the demographic of the students participating in the classroom, I believe this might be a Mandarin Language class. Based on this probability, I would argue the teacher has high academic Mandarin expectations because the teacher has maintained speaking in Mandarin for the entire class. Along with this, the teacher has included a cross-disciplinary strategy by instructing mental arithmetic math in Mandarin.
In my opinion, I felt the teacher may have had high behavioural expectations for her students but in this case, I’m not sure if they were met. The students were sat on the carpet and responded to key phrases or chants once initiated by the teacher. This class is very reminiscent of the how the Thai teachers instruct in my school. However, there were students talking out of turn and others who looked like they may have been distracted easily by something else. In one perspective the teacher may have high expectations for the way they should behave but it’s possible she may not have set up or established any norms or procedures. However, if she has established any norms and procedures, then perhaps the students didn’t fully comprehend what was expected of their behaviour.
Norms and procedures
As I have mentioned before, there seemed to be some elements put into place. Such as the cheering, chanting and hand signals. I particularly found it interesting when she chanted a phrase and the students responded vocally and physically with hand gestures and then their hands went behind their backs. I am guessing this may have been like a be at attention and ready to learn stance, similar to something I’ve seen the Thai teachers do in my school. The teacher must have had high expectations of her students to know all the responses to her chants and to respond appropriately. However, there was a particular part where a couple students raised their hands when it looked like she asked a question out to the group about the math problem. In one perspective, one could argue she had high expectations of her students and expected them to respond in Mandarin as well as in unison with the class. On the other side, one could argue the students didn’t understand what was expected of them, thus it’s a possibility she didn’t establish any norms or procedures for how to reply for this situation.
Whole Brain Teaching – Video
I suspect the teacher has high expectations of her students in this video. Her students may have been ELL students and if so she is challenging them by including multitasking within the students learning such as when the students looked like they were encouraged to use/create actions while reading. Another strategy I found interesting and thought the teacher had high expectations of her students was through the strategy of “Speed reading”. This, in particular, looked like a fun activity as students seemed engaged in being challenged for their fine motor skills and responses.
It was evident the teacher has a strong bond with her students. Therefore, the students trusted their teacher and even though the gestures or actions may appear juvenile or even considered immature, the students were engaged, actively participated and responded. In this case, I feel that the students understood what was expected of them and were challenged through different multi-tasking strategies. Thus overall, I felt the teacher had high expectations in their confidence, to not be self-conscious and in their willingness to participate.
Norms and procedures
I found the chants interesting as even though the students looked like they may have been either middle/high school, they had the confidence to participate in the class. Another part that engaged me was when the teacher did an action and the entire class responded in unison stating the rules. In this scenario, I imagine the students may not feel like the rules are being imposed on them but they understand and remember what is expected of them due to the activities being fun and interactive. Students look like they are at ease, with little or no anxiety on their confidence to participate. Therefore, I believe the teacher has high expectations for the students to follow her norms and procedures through her various activities and teaching strategies.
In my class
Although I currently do hold high expectations of my ELL students, the reality is there are a variety of levels in my classroom. Thus, I feel it’s unfair to believe they will all strive to meet the high expectations as some may reject this if they are not confident in their English language speaking ability. Therefore, I aim to differentiate my instructions so that they all have varied personal levels of high expectations.
My activities tend to focus on the acquisition of Science vocabulary and to utilise the English Science language along with connecting this to their lifestyle, future and experiences. I also like to implement Project Based Learning (PBL) strategies to help with cross-disciplinary learning outcomes. This is why I particularly enjoyed the instruction and strategies of the first video with the roller-coaster project as it was relatable. There are many similarities I’ve installed but never thought of the team “budget” portion and limiting their resources in the aim to make students become better problem solvers. I was also interested in her “Chiming in” strategy for students holding conference meeting amongst their peers. I am keen to try and implement something like this lifestyle cross-disciplinary skills in the future for my students in their next PBL activity.
In terms of how I create behaviour expectations, “Establishing rules and procedures at the beginning of the year is important.” (Marzano 2007). I make sure I develop this with the students from day one and to be consistent with them. I like to get the students to participate in the creation of the class norms and procedures and agree on what are the appropriate consequences for any infractions on them. Most of these norms and procedures they will know as it’s has been installed into them at such a young age at my school. Also if students are involved in the input and design of classroom rules and procedures then they can understand what expectations are being set in collaboration with the teacher.
In the future, I hope to plan and implement some of the strategies I have observed so far, specifically from the first video such as the cross-disciplinary skills including lifestyle math and the classroom meeting of “chiming in”. I do enjoy discovering more strategies as I like to utilise and adapt these methods for my 21st ELL students to tackle tomorrow’s learning world.
Chen, C. (2011, June 13th). 3rd grade Chinese–math class.avi. Retrieved from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7LseF6Db5g
Marzano, R. (2007). The art of teaching. Alexandria, Virginia USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Migdol, D. (2012, October 11th). Roller Coaster Physics. Retrieved from teachingchannel.org: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/teaching-stem-strategies
roxishayne. (2011, May 31st). Whole Brain Teaching Richwood High – The Basics. Retrieved from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iXTtR7lfWU&feature=youtu.be