Reading Response #1


1.     In this chapter what I found most interesting is the importance of having a student feel you care for them. While I have always known if the student feels they have a type of bond with you they may feel more compelled to do their best or at least make more of an effort in class but I was unaware of how important it is to a child’s learning. I found it interesting that research showed, “showing care and respect for students “promoted learning and overpowered the comparative effects of instructional methodologies” (Goodman, Sutton and Harkevy 1995, 696) This really does show how the more positive you try to make your environment for the students the more productive they will be. Also, I found myself wanting to know more about the effects of stress on students. It was disheartening to read some of the research behind how stress can negatively impact a child’s learning, “under conditions of real or imagined threat or anxiety, there is a loss of focus on the learning process and a reduction in task focus and flexible problem solving” (Elias et al. 1997, 3) We as adults have so much stress put upon for a variety of influences we forgot that students can feel this same stress as well and the effects can be just as damaging.


           In regards to transforming formal learning settings into informal ones, I would be sure to include listening to my students. Finding time to talk with them one on one not only about school but other topics as well. Active listening would be a key component in my classroom. This chapter referred to the importance of communicating with students, in particular active listening, “Active listening is a critical component of mutual respect between teachers and students.”  In addition, creating a collaborative learning not competitive environment is essential to creating a more informal setting. “…a competitive learning environment distracts you from a task at a given moment, makes you less interested in that task over the long run, and this results in poorer performance.” (Kohn 1986, 60-61) This shows if we want successful students we need to eliminate competitive classrooms.


    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      I enjoyed reading your response and the connections you made between an informal learning environment and one that is more formal. I was wondering how you saw making that happen. Did you see anything in the O'Neill and Barton article that forwarded your thinking about that?

      Thanks for quoting the great Alfie Kohn.

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