Racine, Wisconsin is a city that occupies an area of 18.7 square miles. Of the total area of the land the city comprises about 15.5 square miles. Water occupies about 16.76 percent of the area. As of the 2010 census report, it was established that Racine had about 78,860 people.
This figure comprised 33,887 households. The city has a balanced racial mix. For example, according to the same census report, the white population was 60.91 percent, the African American population took about 20.32 percent, the Native Americans took 0.61 percent, and Asia took 0.05 as the Pacific Islander comprised about 0.05 percent of the total population of the area.
The Racine Unified School District is a diverse community. With a student population of about 21,000 students the district comes out as one that takes education with a lot of interest. The students come from diverse backgrounds. Students come from urban, rural and even suburban regions.
All in all, the students come from a catchment area that is within 100 square miles. The urban district of Racine is located on the shores of Lake Michigan to the south western part of Wisconsin. In the district, there are 21 elementary schools with 3 magnet schools.
The SC. Johnson Elementary school is located on the south western part of Racine. The school occupies about 13.5 acres with 33 rooms. Majorly, the school has a kindergarten and first grades based in one wing while the other wing houses second through to fifth grades are housed in another wing. The school is replete with an outdoor learning center.
Contextual Classroom Factors
At SC Johnson Elementary every student comes to class with distinct learning abilities based on experience and personality. It is important for teachers to design the learning environment in the classroom to be accustomed to every learner.
A classroom’s physical features include; information posted on the classroom walls and notice boards. This includes; parts of academic subjects’ content in short form descriptions of school’s vision, statement and mission and school rules. Such information if well arranged on the classroom walls acts as a reminder to the students of their purpose in the classroom.
Students’ artworks and pictures especially the most outstanding also form part of classroom wall hangings. This acts as a motivation to the students as they feel recognized for their efforts in class. There are other physical features that have been installed in classroom, to help in the improvement and effectiveness of learning process.
A sink is installed in the classroom to use when doing art activities and science experiments. There are many outlets since there are many things to be plugged in. There are also projector connections, and sound proofs. Lockers and rest rooms should be close to the classroom. Counter tops, book shelves, and cabinets are many in the classroom for learners to place their books and files. Ventilation and widows are essential for air circulation, and improving the classroom environment.
Technology equipment and resources such as desk top computers and laptops serve as important teaching aids in class. These equipment and resources can be used for demonstration and research learning. Most learners are fascinated by the presence of computers in class. Presence of such facilities in class enhances their participation in the learning process. Proper rules and regulation should be put in place to ensure students don’t spent most of the time on computers at the expense of other subject areas.
There are amplification equipments installed in the classroom since the teacher’s voice has to be above the noise that might be coming from outside the classroom. When the voice of the teacher fades, the students can be able to hear even when they are sited at the back. It also improves the ratio of signal-to-noise.
These are the speakers which should be well installed and set to avoid learner’s interference. There are other essential interesting items that can be used to enhance good learning environment in a classroom. These include small refrigerators, a stereo system that has a CD player and a TV. This will allow the learners to access some entertainment which to a great extent contributes positively to learning.
There are visual presenter, digital projectors, and white boards that are electronic, which are used by the teacher to create versatile lessons and at the sometime engaging the students. There are also interactive aids of learning, net book computers, and other essential software that are academic. Education technology is utilized by teachers to make the learning environments to be teacher-centered. They use technology to make improvements in new lessons, visuals, ideas, and new levels activities.
Parental involvement in students’ learning process should be highly encouraged. Research indicates that parental involvement in their children’s education improves performance and quality of education. Concerned parents would for example ensure that their children attend school regular basis. They will also be involved in the evaluation and progress of their children both socially and academically.
Researchers have found that parental involvement in the learning process contributes to improvement in the child’s behavior, and affects positively the achievement of the child. Parents can achieve this by involvement at home-by, helping with homework, studying with their children, and discussing the events of the school. They should also attend functions organized in schools, and volunteering to be with children in classroom.
The institution should communicate with parents regularly, and incorporate them in the process of learning. The parents should also encourage the child, and appreciate them when they do well, discussing their progress with the teacher. Parents’ involvement helps to reduce the risk of failure of children, and prevents school dropout. The morale of the children and their attitude towards learning are improved.
The arrangement of a classroom shows style teaching of the educator. Tables or desks for group discussion should be arranged in a circular manner or in clusters. A u-shaped arrangement or circle is recommended for effective participation and contribution of every student in the group. Self-spaced individualized arrangement plan is also recommended. Plants used for in the study of sciences, arts, and other academic material should organized and accessible.
Good thoughts and planning are essential in selection of the type of child-centered environment in a classroom. This is because the features layout reflects positively to the success of the learners. The physical material in the class should be accessible to avoid confusion, disruption, and delay in the learning process. Desk arrangement is also very essential in a classroom, and the teacher is allowed to make changes at any time in the class. In a classroom of 30 desks, desks are arranged in rows of five or six to avoid confusion.
School rules and regulations guide the students on how to conduct themselves when they are within the school, and outside the school compound. The school rules help the institution to ensure that there is order in school. The rules and regulation of the school will normally define the rules and the penalty that an offender can face in case of breaching. The SC Johnson school’s rules and regulations book has guidelines on students dress code, grooming and conduct in school.
The school routine spells out the normal daily activities undertaken by students at various times. The routine schedule at SC Johnson School lists students’ names and activities assigned to them at various times. Students are guided by the routine to carry out manual work, which includes; cleaning the compound, washing classes and maintaining the lawn.
All these rules contribute positively to the learners’ progress, socially, morally, and academically. For the learner to excel academically they need to be disciplined and follow the school rules and regulations to the letter. Basic rules such as mode of dressing, language of communication, general respect, and punctuality are emphasized in this learning institution.
Parents are also conversant with the schools. When a leaner breaks one of the rules, he or she is imposed a punishment, and the parent or the guardian is notified. Records of indiscipline are also well recorded and filed for future references. This helps the institution to bring up all rounded students, who are presentable in the society.
Impact of Students’ Contextual Factors on Design of Instruction and Assessment
The gender issue has received a lot of focus in the design of instruction material form. Numerous complaints of gender discrimination emerge in various instruction materials and evaluation modes. It is important that when designing instruction materials and methods, gender sensitivity should be accorded utmost priority.
There is often the problem of male attitude where male teachers perceive female students as weak in particular areas and go ahead to make them feel they are weak. Teachers should take a leading role to encourage both female and male students to have an equal perception of the learning content.
Special needs students come to class with learning challenges that require special attention by teachers to effectively guide them in the learning process. Before designing an instruction and evaluation program, a teacher should examine the composition of the learners and identify students with learning difficulties caused by disabilities. They should then devise an effective way to include the needs of the special needs students in the classroom.
For example, the design of instructional material for a deaf student should be of a similar standard as to balance his/her needs with other classmates without special needs. This will be critical as it will make special needs student’s feel comfortable, adaptable, and have a fair access of the curriculum.
Also, the Include strategy should be used when designing instructional material for special needs students. On this, a student performance in school is based on the interaction with the instructional environment, thus, what happens in the classroom can either magnify or minimize the impact of special needs student on his/her learning, compelling adaptation.
Culture describes “a peoples’ way of life”, it affects the way people learn and perceive different aspects of life. Culture contributes largely to ones’ personality and experience. The aspect of cultural differences should be properly addressed in the process of designing instructional materials to ensure dominant and minority cultural aspects are captured.
Language which is one of the aspects of culture is a key component of learning and teaching process. Students’ consciousness of the differences in language can either promote or inhibit learning. Learning resources in school’s library should reflect the culture of different cultural practices for inclusivity. The learning process in class should be directed in a manner that values the diversity of language as well as cultural practices.
Skills level equally plays a big role in the design and evaluation of a learning process. Both instructional materials and assessment must reflect the level of the students’ comprehension. Higher order content beyond the students’ comprehension discourages them from participating in the learning process.
The design of the instructional materials should check/analyze student strength, in other words, what a student can do successfully. Success promotes a student motivation and self-image.The instructional materials should be able to address the social-emotional and academic areas; this will help in identifying a student’s skills and strengths and thus designing effective instructional materials.
SC Johnson Elementary school has been designed in a way that incorporates all the student’s needs and diversities. There are sinks in the classroom to be used by the learners in science experiment. High level learners are given opportunities in this school to engage in enterprises, and therefore, the school is designed in a way that allows extra rooms and spaces for these activities.
The students with partial impairments are also considered through the structures and design of this school. Painting and modeling special rooms have been well equipped to take care of those who have such interests and talents.
Influence of Prior Learning on Design of Learning Goals, Assessment and Instruction
Students’ prior learning experience comprises of the skills and knowledge a student brings to class that is relevant to the content prepared for instruction. Teachers need to build on this experience to formulate instruction content that progress from known to unknown content. This section looks at the influence of students’ prior knowledge on formulation of learning goals, instruction and assessment. Learning goals point to what a learning process aims to achieve.
It should be understood that what the students knows about the subject content can either be constructive or destructive to learning. The teacher should therefore seek to understand the extent to which the learner understands the subject content to know the aid and effort they require to achieve the learning goal(s).
Students’ prior knowledge should be taken in consideration in the instruction process. It helps a teacher build learning content in a systematic and hierarchical manner. Quality learning can be achieved if content is developed from known and basic concepts of the subject to more complex ones. The instruction process should develop continuous links between what the students know, to what they do not know.
The main aim of an assessment is to establish the level of student comprehension of a given content area. Any meaningful assessment should haves specific goals and objectives. The SC elementary school teaching program is organized in a manner that teachers are provided an opportunity to carry out an initial testing on the students at the beginning of the term.
It is important to carry out a prior assessment on students in order to establish the learner’s prior knowledge before introducing new content.The success of the learners and their knowledge level will guide the teacher on which learning method is appropriate and efficient to apply.
School Demographics Survey
Add the following data in percentage format:
|School Ethnic Makeup: (as a %)||White||25%|
|Your class (es) Ethnic Makeup: (as a %)||White||33%|
|Teacher Diversity: (as a %)||White||84%|
Using raw form, add the following data:
|Number of students (school-wide) with an IEP (officially designated as Special Needs)||106|
|Number of students receiving Free Lunch (school-wide)||483|
|Number of English Language Learning Students||School-Wide||93|
|Gender of students (school wide)||Male||291|
|Other issues of diversity (i.e. religion)||Economic Disadvantage||494|