Essay: Defend the First Practice Against Claims

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¶ … defend the first practice against claims that it involves 'tracking'?

The best way to defend against the claim of tracking is to design a curriculum that is inherently content-centered rather than pupil-centered. According to the text by Loveless (1999), those schools which have successfully eliminated tracking from their approach have done so by establishing educational experiences that center on subject matter rather than perceived student ability. As the text by Loveless indicates, "the appeal to diminish tracking finds a sympathetic ear at 6-8 schools, with their cultures more attuned to the undifferentiated curricula and holistic instructional approaches of elementary education." (pg. 78)

How would you integrate student and behavioral differences due to gender, culture, and socioeconomic status into social skills instruction?

A document released by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) asserts that "Social Skills Instruction teaches students appropriate interpersonal communication skills, self-discipline, and problem solving skills. It combines a number of strategies to prevent and replace problem behaviors, and increase skills and behaviors leading to social competence. It is most effective when it becomes a part of the daily academic curriculum and is implemented on a classwide and schoolwide basis." (OSEP, p. 1O)

This denotes that there are ways to make social skills instruction an integral part of everyday classroom activities. For instance, using classroom time to place students in fun and cooperative problem solving activities allows for the use of critical thinking but also requires students to tap the resources available in their classmates through collaboration and sharing. Another way of integrating social skills training as a way of promoting the value of diversity is to initiate daily classroom discussions. The job of the instructor is to moderate and move conversations in a constructive direction while encouraging students to talk openly about their own personal experiences on select subjects.

How would you respond to parents who are uncomfortable with a social skills program that teaches students to differentiate 'Good Choices' and 'Bad Choices' because it appears that the program might give some students the message that they are bad or because they feel that the differentiation is overly moralistic?

According to OSEP, "the ability of children to interact effectively with peers, teachers, and families is crucial to their social-behavioral development and adjustment at school. Further, poor social-behavioral skills correlate highly with children's low academic achievement, especially their reading ability. Children with antisocial behavior patterns are at early risk of poor adjustment to school." (OSEP, p. 1)

In addition to explaining this risk to parents who express concern, it is appropriate to take steps as an educator to continually improve one's ability to cultivate the improvement of social skills without trespassing on student individuality. According to the text by Baldwin et al. (2007), the best way for a teacher to cope with a growing classroom diversity and with the variant expectations of parents is to continue one's professional education on the subject. According to Baldwin et al., "service-learning, emphasizing multiculturalism and social justice, has the potential for empowering prospective teachers to confront injustices and to begin deconstructing lifelong attitudes and constructing socially just practices." (Baldwin et al., 315)

Given the developmental differences between first graders and fifth graders, how would 'self-management' be behaviorally observed at each age level?

It is important to view self-management strategies as being in a state of evolution. Such is to say that self-management for a first grader should involve some moderate steps toward independence with attentive guidance by an instructor close at hand. The text by the University of Kansas indicates that this provides a foundation that can be added to with the student's maturation. According to the source, "Self-management strategies are intended to build a student's independence and ability to engage in self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and self-reinforcement. The power of self-management is its emphasis on building a feeling of control over one's own behavior."

Module 2:

Activity 1:

Scale 1: Teachers' Effective Classroom Management Skills

Q1: 2.08 Q2: 2.79 Q3: 1.96 Q4: 2.00 Q5: 2.04

Composite Avg: 2.174

Scale 2: Teachers' Positive Behavioral Interactions and Respect

Q1: 3.00 Q2: 3.45 Q3: 2.64 Q4: 2.54 Q5: 2.55

Composite Avg: 2.836

Scale 3: Holding Students Accountable for Their Behavior

Q1: 2.57 Q2: 3.71 Q3: 1.71 Q4: 2.14 Q5: 2.00

Composite Avg: 2.426

Scale 4: Teachers' Contribution to a Positive School Climate

Q1: 2.22 Q2: 2.67 Q3: 2.22 Q4: 2.22 Q5: 2.22

Composite Avg: 2.31

Scale 5: School Safety and Security:

Q1: 2.00 Q2: 3.43 Q3: 2.00 Q4: 1.86 Q5: 2.00

Composite Avg: 2.258

Part 2:

Scale 1: Teachers' Effective Classroom Management Skills

The composite average derived from the questionnaires on the subject of effective classroom management skills produced a rating of 2.174. According to the continuum of ratings, this denotes a fairly high collective agreement with the conditions and terms described by this scale. This suggests a rating of Very Good among respondents on issues such as the presence of positively interacting instructors and an environment where a balance is achieved between assisting students and encouraging independence. This suggests a learning environment where teachers cultivate the individual strengths demonstrated by students while also making the appropriate accommodations to support students as they encounter individual areas of need. This also highlights the preferred classroom management traits of pragmatism and adaptability that not only benefit student learning but also instructor survival.

Scale 2: Teachers' Positive Behavioral Interactions and Respect

The composite average derived from the questionnaires on the subject of teachers' positive behavioral interactions produced a rating of 3.00. Using the continuum to interpret this rating, we find that teachers level of agreement with statements qualified as 'Good.' This index makes this the poorest performing of the five scales examined in the module but still achieves a satisfactory rating, even if just barely. This suggests that the area that most instructors experienced or witnessed the greatest difficulty was in the way that students interacted with each other. According to the ratings here, students sometimes had difficulty evading such behavior as using verbally abusive language or engaging one another physically. For many teachers, the greatest professional challenge would be in helping students learn the social cooperation skills necessary to get along with one another. This is, of course, a comparative response, given that this is the poorest index of the scales considered but still achieves a rating of 'Good.'

Scale 3: Holding Students Accountable for Their Behavior

Directly correlated to the above scale is the composite average derived from questionnaires on the subject of holding students accountable for their behavior. Here, the score of 2.57 suggests that respondents observed a performance somewhere between Good and Very Good. Such is to say that while teachers found it difficult to achieve positive interaction between students, they felt well-armed with the means and ability to hold students accountable for all manner of behavioral trespass. Indeed, most respondents found that in their respective learning contexts, both school rule enforcement and school spirit were relatively high, suggesting an environment that is regulated but fair.

Scale 4: Teachers' Contribution to a Positive School Climate

At a rating of 2.22, this composite average score suggests a rating quite near 'Very Good' on the quality continuum. Here, in ranking the contributions of their fellow teachers to a positive school climate, respondents found that their colleagues were doing a generally positive job. This means that the collective of teacher came exceedingly close to meeting a full gamut of qualifications which include being involved, cohesive, enthusiastic, relaxed, satisfied, productive, innovative, open-to change and optimistic. According to this scale, one of the strongest attributes that the questionnaire respondents observed would be a teaching faculty with the utmost of professional and personal dedication to bettering the school as a learning environment.

Scale 5: School Safety and Security:

Another positive composite rating would be the score of 2.00… [END OF PREVIEW]

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