Methodology & Technology
Methodology is the way a teacher proceeds with class each day. What they do for the introduction of the class, and the steps they go through throughout the class period. Technology refers to what materials and tools they used in the lesson.
For this component I expected teachers to open up the class with some sort of introduction. For art classes they maybe some sort of drawing prompt to get student's creativity flowing for class. In the art classes I observed, majority of the time they were already working on projects. When class started or when they entered the room, they got their projects out and started working on them without any instruction from the teacher. As they began working the teacher would greet the class, remind them about homework that they may have had that is due, and answer any questions the students had. Since I took Art in High School, I assumed that students would be working on projects majority of the class time. One of the few times I observed when the teacher was introducing a new project, after greeting the class, she began the lesson. She was showing the students how to use calligraphy pens, because their next project was going to be made with ink. She showed the different parts of the pen to the students, how to use the pen properly, and how to clean the pen. After she was done with the demonstration, she allowed the students to experiment with the pens, and walked around the room while they were practicing, assisting them as needed.
These observations changed my perceptions of this component because I originally thought that most class settings would have a set schedule that most teachers followed on a daily basis. However, after observation, how the daily schedule goes, depends on what the students are learning or working on at the time. I plan on having the students begin the class with some sort of exercise that ignites their creativity for my class, whether that be a quick drawing in their sketchbook, or a thought-evoking question. This allows the students to start thinking critically and to wake their brains up so they are ready and open minded to start learning and experimenting in my classroom.
One thing that I observed that surprised me, was that students were allowed to be on their laptops or their phones during class. When I was in High School, phones were prohibited, and most teachers wanted you to write your notes down rather than have any excuse to use a laptop. I do think that having this technology in the classroom can be beneficial, but also could potentially become disruptive. Another thing that surprised me was that most of the students came into class and immediately got started on their projects without any instruction from the teacher. I expected them to wait around for direction. They were very productive when it came time to getting class started.
The only two observation sites that I visited were Normal Community and Normal West, and their methods were similar. Started out class with the teacher greeting them, got them settled into their seats for the start of class, and began the lesson. I do get the sense that Normal West was more constructed around the daily schedule, while Normal Community was more likely to differ their schedule each day. I was only able to observe art classes at Normal Community, which art classes tend to have more of a casual methodology while other studies are more formal. Both still usually had some sort of method to how they went about starting the class period, and classwork. The other classrooms I observed at Normal Community, like business and investment, had more structure to their daily schedules. Most started off with a quiz over what the students had learned last class period, then jumped right into the lesson. In my opinion, starting the students off with a free draw, or a prompt for a drawing is more successful because it gives the students the opportunity to explore their creativity on their own. They would not have to memorize answers. I also think introducing the lesson and then a demonstration of how to use the tool or media is useful for the students.
One thing I would take away from this component would be that allowing the students the opportunity to open up their minds and creativity before the class begins could be beneficial. They are more in tune with their own inspirations to start their next projects. If the students come to my class from a class they dislike, they may not be in the mood to be creative. I want to give them the opportunity to create something they enjoy or are interested in. Also having the students begin working on their projects on work days could save class time. If we waste time sitting around, each lesson gets pushed back and we loose chances to include fun lessons. This will make me a good educator because the students will look forward to coming to my class, and enjoy being in my classroom, therefor leading to more successful artwork and progress.
How a teacher presents him/herself in a classroom.
I was expecting the teachers to create more of a casual setting for the students and classroom, which the overall setting of the classroom and professionalism of the teacher was casual. Teachers were wearing business casual everyday except for Fridays when they would wear jeans and some sort of school spirit wear. The way they interacted with students was also casual. They treated the students with respect and were able to have conversations with them while they were working.
One of the observation sites I visited, the teacher was very blunt and sometimes rude to the students. On multiple occasions he did tell the student he was talking to, to "shut up", which I thought was incredibly inappropriate and rude and not at all how the teacher should have been handling the situation. The students were not even being disruptive, they were asking questions. He was joking in a way but it still was not appropriate to say to a student. I would never treat my students in that manner, I believe they deserve respect.
Addressing their students equally even though they may come from different backgrounds or have different learning capabilities.
I was expecting the teachers to create an environment where all of their students are respected and treated equally regardless of their learning capabilities and their cultural backgrounds. In my observations I found that my expectations were confirmed. I did not notice any teacher excluding any students. They were very good at including everyone in the classroom and working with them on their individual abilities.
Management of the Physical Environment
How the classroom is set up and the availability of materials.
As an art student, when I was going to a very small High School, we did not have vary many supplies available. We had to make do with what we had. I was expecting the same thing going into my observation sites. Surprisingly, they had plenty of materials to work with. Both schools I observed were larger than my High School though, so they most likely had bigger budgets.
I noticed that depending on the school size and the type of community that the school is located in, depends on how much materials the students could have access too. At both schools, the students were given laptops of their own, which is great for students who do not have the money or opportunity/ access to a computer at home. Classrooms also had plenty of storage for all of the supplies they needed. The art classroom had many posters on the walls with art history memos or other sorts of inspirations. The math classroom walls were white and plain. It shows which kind of environment the students are in when they are in those different classes. The art class is promoting creativity and thinking outside of the box, while the math classroom is strategic and wants you to focus on the task at hand. Being an art teacher, I would rather have plenty of opportunities for the students to find creativity and explore their imagination in my room.
Social Diversity and Demographics
Culture diversity in the classroom.
Growing up in a small town, my High School was not considered diverse. My classmates had grown up together and we were all born in central Illinois. I was expecting that idea where students all knew each other and had grown up with each other. At the observation sites, the school was very diverse. There were so many students with different backgrounds, but they all seemed to get along with each other regardless of what they looked like or what they were wearing. I expect my students to treat everyone with respect, as I treat them with respect. No one would like to be singled out because of their ethnicity or cultural background, or their learning capabilities. This component sort of goes along with understanding learners.
Both observation sites had diverse students, and many different clubs for the students to be involved in so they were around others who were like them. Depending on the school you teach at, and what town you are in, the diversity could be high or low. In my case for my high school, there was little to no diversity. For larger schools, even in the suburbs area, there is a lot of diversity.