ED 524 Reading Response, Week #1


After reading the weekly readings, I had a few take aways.  Firstly, I liked the way in which the book is written, making many statements, lists, and opportunities for reflection in an easy to read and understandable format.  One of the best parts of the book was that the authors identified common issues and then gave applicable advice in order to combat the issues in creating a safe haven for learning.

The statements and actions that Brown and Knowles outlined in their chapter about stress are very true.  It is interesting that the author’s acknowledge the fact that as one reads the section about stress; the reader is thinking “I’d never do any of these things!”  The truth is, it is very possible to cause stress on students, in more subtle ways.  Not allowing students to borrow materials, trying to catch them in pop quizzes, or embarrassing students add to their stress. I remember being stressed in middle school, about school academics and about peer relationship.  The more we are cognizant of this stress that educators may put on students, even if students are not able to articulate that they ‘stressed’, we will be more mindful of how to approach students and potential problems that may arise. This made me think of what I do to stress my students out and if I am always as clear as I can be to allow students ample time to be less stressed.

Upon my reflection of this section, I really liked the part that Brown and Knowles later identified better ways for teachers to respond to situations calmly, despite their own personal frustrations.  All of the responses encouraged self-reflection to solve their own problems.  At the same time, it allows students to understand that teachers want to help and have feelings towards what is happening as well.  I know this is something I could work on personally, making sure that when students do something wrong; they have the opportunity for self reflection.  Through this, I know I could create a more comfortable setting for all students, encouraging them to feel comfortable with me and discuss their problems, instead of bottling up their stresses in an unhealthy way.

Transforming formal learning settings into informal settings is something that comes with time and rapport.  Applying the ideas from the text, reducing stress and creating a classroom community where students feel a sense of control and mastery of the material will help move the room into a network which become more informal and more student led.  According to O’Neil and Barton, providing positive and empowering perceptions of self, expressions of pride, in science, self, school, work and neighborhood (ONeil Barton, 296)  would help create informal settings where students take ownership of their learning.  The study provided, focused more on science, but I believe this could happen in any subject when there is a community which supports student development and learning opportunities, both in science and in other disciplines. According to O’Neil and Barton, supporting student developing ownership can be a powerful way to encourage students to participate in their learning.  Through creating this positive, student driven environment, educators will be able to create informal learning settings. 

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      First, a housekeeping note. You seemed to have not published your blog post. Instead, you saved it, which leaves it in a "draft" status. Be sure to select "Publish" when you are ready to go.

      Now, more importantly, you did a terrific job with this response. It is substantive, thorough, and thoughtful. You used a lot of references from the text to support your arguments and you raised good points.

      This really stuck out for me:

      Transforming formal learning settings into informal settings is something that comes with time and rapport. 

      I am wondering if there are skills we could be teaching teachers in order to make this process more efficient and effective.

      What do you think?

      • Theresa Connelly
        Theresa Connelly

        I think this is a very interesting question because it is something that has been brought to my attention, as I have had many student teachers in my classroom.  I want to make sure that the student teachers in my room have the most meaningful experience, learn classroom management, effective planning, teaching skills, etc.  Teaching teachers is something I never considered when I became a teacher and honestly, something I have struggled with because I don’t feel prepared to teach them!  It is hard to teach teachers because each student teacher comes in with a different set of skills, different knowledge of their own expectations, and different personalities, as any student group.

        In order to make the process of teaching teachers more efficient and effective, I believe that the student teachers need to be more informed about their own expectations first.  Then, I believe that each host teacher should be putting together a general binder or folder, or even develop an idea on how they would ease in an student teacher.  Then it really is up to the host teacher, the student teacher, and the professor to model how to create informal learning environment.  This may not be the most efficient way, but this is the best way for teachers to see how others do it and learn by example.  

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