Review of the Teaching Log
The teaching log shows how I was able to plan my lesson in a way that helped eliminate racial/ethnic, gender, socio-economic and ability gap in reading, as well as, writing. Cheesman and De Pry (2010) believe that literacy instruction should be culturally responsive and involve effective instructional practices.
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The goal of my lesson was to help learners acquire reading skills that would be necessary to comprehend the text at a level that is consistent with their general English comprehension.
During the lesson, I used several transferable skills which included explaining, asking questions, leading, organizing, convincing and assessing to help learners develop literacy skills. I lead the discussion on prior knowledge of learners’ background, and how their backgrounds affected their feelings, attitudes and experiences.
This background information helped me assess how the learners received the information that author is communicating. I therefore helped the learners create a chart to assess their feelings. I also asked questions to help learners connect the learning content with the contents of the previous lesson. I also used the questions to stimulate critical thinking skills and expand responsive perspectives.
The questions were used as exit card and for formative assessment. I used paper cards for formative assessment to help me understand the students level of comprehension and to modify our discussion (Cooper, 2003). I also explained to the learners about what cover page could mean, and used discussion to explain to learners the information being communicated in the book.
I also used discussions to convince the learners on the meaning of the text and the author’s goal. The discussion groups were also meant to help me eliminate barriers between different cultural and socio-economic groups, to help learners learn from one another.
What did not work?
The questions I applied during the lesson were not very effective in developing critical and responsive skills in the students. I did not use the correct verbs and question format to better stimulate creative thinking and responsive perspectives in learners.
Besides, my post-assessment was only qualitative, as it did not involve any form of quantitative assessment, thus, I was not able to make accurate evaluation on how learners from different cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds, achieved the objectives of the lesson.
In my subsequent lessons, I intend to modify my questions to make them more captivating so as to help the learners be more creative in their thinking and to expand their responsive perspectives. I will also conduct tests at the end of every lesson to help me understand the students’ level of comprehension of what has been discussed in the lesson.
Strengths of my diversity practices
My strength in providing instructions that consider diversity among learners lies in my ability to ensure effective, uniform teaching, and learning activities across different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, ability and gender.
As recorded in my teaching log, I was able to provide uniform instructions to male and female students, students receiving free/reduced price lunch, students with disabilities, American Indians of Alaska origin, African Americans and Hispanic Latino.
My other strength lies in my ability to involve all the learners from different backgrounds in the teaching and learning process. I involved all of them in discussions and organized discussion groups that cut across all the different ethnic and socio-economic groups. For example, during the lesson we held discussions to preview the book and make predictions about the text with all the students.
We also discussed the text as a class and in students’ discussion groups. I also used questions during each stage of the learning process to make sure that all the learners were engaged and stimulated to think and come up with different perceptions.
I am also creative when it comes to developing and conducting assessments during the lesson. It is always important to keep learners in check and to ensure that the progress of the lesson is consistent with the learning objectives (Granlund & Linn, l990).
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I used questions to inquire whether the students understood the information in the text. I also lead students in creating a group chart listing of all the information they had learnt after the discussion. I also distributed paper cards to each student to summarize what they had learnt during the discussion both in drawing and in writing.
This helped me analyze each learner’s level of comprehension, which was useful in helping them organize their application of the knowledge they had learnt during the lesson. Drawing pictures helped me understand how the discussion was able to help them create mental picture of what they had learnt during the lesson.
Weakness of my diversity practices
During a review of my teaching log, I realized that I did not properly use my prior knowledge of the cultural and socio-economic diversity, to teach critical and responsive skills adequately to students as I did not fully apply differentiation. I did not involve different learning styles such as learning through movement and drama and therefore did not take care of all learners’ interests.
Cultural and socio-economic backgrounds are likely to influence learners’ learning styles and variance (Cunningham-Eidson & Tomlinson, 2003). This means that I need to improve in providing differentiation in order to help learners develop cross-disciplinary skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, as well as, use of technology.
Values, attitudes and dispositions regarding equitability
The program has changed my belief on learning abilities of learners from different backgrounds. I now hold positive expectations for all the learners regardless of their cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
I believe that all learners, no matter the background, can perform well in academics as long appropriate teaching strategies and activities that take into considerations all the entry behaviors and the learning differences that learners come with into the classroom.
I therefore communicate my positive expectations for all the learners in my classroom. This increases their motivation to learn and achieve personal intellectual development (Cooper, 2003).
Again, contrary to my earlier belief that different learners learn better when provided with different learning opportunities, I now believe that as a teacher, I should provide equitable treatment during the teaching/learning process.
For example, during my teaching in the recorded in teaching log, I asked questions to be answered by all learners from different backgrounds and also involved all learners in class discussions, plus, I distributed them in mixed background learners’ discussion groups. This helped me engage all learners in the teaching/learning process; promote their social as well as intellectual development.
Improving in reaching all students
In my subsequent teaching programs, I intend to develop learning objectives which integrate different learning styles, and multiple learning variances. These objectives will have to be achievable, realistic and measurable.
I also intend to invent creative strategies for formative evaluation in each lesson. Finally, I will consistently conduct qualitative and quantitative summative assessment in each lesson to help adjust my teaching strategies and teaching/learning activities for the next lesson.
Cheesman E., & De Pry, R. (2010). A critical review of culturally responsive literacy instruction. Journal of Praxis in Multicultural Education, 5(1): 83-99.
Cooper, J. M. (2003). Classroom teaching skills, 8th ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin
Cunningham-Eidson, C., & Tomlinson, C. A. (2003). Differentiation in practice: A resource guide for differentiating curriculum grades 5-9. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Granlund, N., & Linn, R. (l990). Measurement and evaluation in teaching, 6th Ed. New York: Macmillan.