I have been sitting in on the classes for a week now and I am understanding the flow of the 8th grade classroom. I am seeing how it is a very tangible class, meaning students are always doing something, and so was I.
The 8th grade class is working on a project where they design certain inventions to help people in their daily lives at the Heritage Academy in Ghana. The students were put into groups that were believed to be the best pairs as far progression in their work. For the first part if this project, they had to do research into what their ideas were and the things they needed. This was mostly student driven, meaning the research was up to them and what they wanted to look for was up to them. At first it seemed a little slow, the students weren’t exactly sure where they were supposed to go. I then saw the importance of collaboration with other teachers in different fields.
There are some parts of a lesson that require help from other teachers, and the help of these other teachers was pivotal in the students understanding of what they were supposed to be doing. For example, statistics and how to present data needed an extra hand in teaching. Another teacher came in who was an expert in that field explained to the students that segment of information. It was interesting to see that different subjects work hand in hand with projects like these.
While students did this research, they had to write their information down into a presentation and an infographic. I saw my opportunity to help students. I went around the room and inspected the infographics. My first reaction was to immediately give feedback and things they can work on. I remembered however that this doesn’t help their critical thinking in solving their own problems. I then proceeded to ask questions about the things they are presenting and how they plan to do it. I set up little scenarios for them to think about and I saw they were truly interested in making their work better.
I was pleased to see that this class is deeply involved in their work and that no one seemed to put anything off. I am struggling not find my voice in the class, but rather which voice to use. I’m still figuring out what that means myself. Next week, students give their presentations to their classmates, and most of the middle school faculty, which I see myself in a bit as well.