Another Year of Teaching Weak Pupils: Turning Failure into Success Melanie Shaul
Can academic achievement be elevated when using a specific teaching method in a non readers class ? • Population : grade 7, non readers - Low level of reading and writing in Hebrew and English - Low socio-economical level - Many are L.D learners. • First semester: 14 students • Second semester: 17 students - 3 special education students - 1 autistic girl - 2 boys
The Problem • Students low level - low self esteem - feel as if they cannot learn English • Studying English since grade 3 • Few students progress from הקבצות ג • Accustomed to book-based lessons -require no effort - unmotivated students are disciplinary problems
How do non readers get to this level? Florence Nightingale • Florence Nightingale was born(נולדה) in 1820 in England. Her family was rich and everyone thought she was very happy. But she wasn't really happy because she wanted to do something to help others. So one day she decided (החליטה) to work in a hospital. • Hospitals were not clean then. The nurses (אחיות) didn't know how to help sick people. But that didn't stop Florence. She went to London and worked in a hospital there. • In1854 a war (מלחמה) began between Britain and Russia. The British took the injured (נפגעים) soldiers (חיילים) to a hospital in Turkey. Florence and some other nurses went to work there. • They saw that the hospital wasn't clean, and there weren't enough (מספיק) beds, food, water, or medicine (תרופות). Many of the soldiers died (מתו). So Florence wrote (כתבה) to people in England and asked them to send (לשלוח) money. • After the war, Florence returned to London. In 1860 she opened the first school for nurses.
New Way of Teaching: The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and Play • “Z.P.D is an area in which the development of mental growth takes place, depending on the support in learning which may come from fellow classmates, the teacher and/or the environment as the students are involved in active dialogue and interaction.”(Woolfolk-Hoy, 2005) • “Z.P.D defines functions that have not matured but are in the process of maturation.” (Vygotsky, 1978, p.83) • Through play use skills, knowledge and language which influence development emotionally and intellectually.
Play • Students use skills, language and knowledge that were based on external factors. • External activity cause skills, language and knowledge to be internalized. • External activity influences development emotionally and intellectually. • Become cognitively aware of one thing but act differently concerning perceptions - Ability to act more mature in setting - Use of self control and restraint - Conscious movement toward realization and understanding of specific purposes for behavior
Teaching Style • Cognitive development arises when both culture and social factors are stressed. • All thinking is done through language which involves mental processing of ideas and thoughts. • ZPD- “ZPD is the gap between what a student can achieve alone and what he can do through problem solving with the help of others” ( Wood, 1996)
Students • Higher mental functions appear first between two people, interpersonal plane. • Knowledge is internalized only after it passes through the interpersonal plane • Students become active participants in growth and development • Students no longer passive
Learning=Problem Solving • Learning occurs through problem solving under teacher guidance and or in peer work. • Teacher models specific strategy -Teacher slowly withdraws herself from being the expert and become an observer - Students are active in building their own personal knowledge. - Teacher chooses a student who plays the role of teacher.
Phase One- Working Together • Work in pairs - Used to frontal teaching - OK to talk to partner about material being learned • Flash cards - Multi-sensory lessons - One word flash cards entire sentence flash cards • Students walked around helping others - Student played teacher upon completion of tasks - Student helped a friend whenever needed
Phase Two Switching Roles:Teacher and Student • Playing teacher - All students that finished work became teacher - There could be as many as 5 students walking around the classroom helping. • Weaker pupils - Taken aside and given a task to do with the class
Example of “Play” and “ZPD” • I taught a basic grammatical point in the lesson - Attempted to explain in another way for better understanding • Student asked to explain the grammar to the student -”Sometimes kids can explain something better than the teacher.”
Example of “Play” and “ZPD” • Student had to explain the homework to each student individually. • Class became upset and agitated. - Designated teacher did not understand the homework assignment. - Gave too much homework • Results: - Designated teacher had to explain to me my instructions before.
Example of “Play” and “ZPD”:Students Teaching • Students teaching vocabulary in groups. - Divide the class into working groups - Each group given 7 words to teach class in any manner they chose. • Weaker Group - I suggested teaching 5 words instead. - Student “I know that my group and I are weak, but we should still do the same amount of work as the class.”
Teaching Day • First student- teacher group - Noticed that class was not listening to them - “Hey they aren’t supposed to be talking when I am talking. Tell them to shut up.” I refused • Taking Control -Student-teacher group talked quietly among themselves - One girl turned off the lights - Girl screamed, “Shut up!” - Boy yelled, “ Hey what are you all a bunch of animals? We want some respect. One more word and the next student goes to the principal.”
Teaching Day: continued • The Wheel of Fortune - I participated as a student - I was leading in the game • Student –Teacher Group - Discussion among them - Decided that I could not participate in the game - New rules: only grade 7 students who were under 14 years old could play • “ It’s not fair you know all the words. The whole idea is to have all the kids participate and make them feel like they know the material. You already know the material.”
Stage Three: Students-Free Agents • Streaming of students from special education - 2 boys + 1 girl (mildly autistic) • Prior to arrival - Did not mention the class - Agreed that class would accept all students regardless of level - Discussed helping new students close the gap • Student-Teacher - Student sitting next to new student would become their personal teacher. - Reward: receive 100 as a quiz every week.
Changes in Students • Ran - Weakest student - Began to work because his friend Yosi came to class - Increase in self esteem • Ben - Behavior problems ( jump out of window from second story, try to burn classroom) - Began to come to class on regular basis to help Shai. - Less behavior problems in school - Increase in self esteem
Changes in Students: continued • Tami - Weak student who slept in class - No books - Called autistic girl “ The class retard” “Use student’s background and world knowledge” • Intimate Discussion - “ How does it feel to be in the lowest level in classes?” - “ What do other kids say behind your back?”
Changes in Students: continued • Tami - Became responsible- brought Metal to class everyday. • Metal - Began to participate - Smartest girl in class - Helped Tami
Discussion • Learning is the result of joint problem-solving through ZPD and play • Students no longer passive • Students - Increase in motivation - Feel “smart” - Responsibility - Develop both emotionally and intellectually - Consciously aware of consequences of being active in class
No longer non-readers • Teachers believe that underachievers are not capable of being accountable for their own learning. • Using ZPD and Play: - Students become responsible for both personal and class mates development - School is the setting that provides appropriate tools from society which fosters improvement and development. - Teachers must offer tools that enhance learning and ultimately development