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6 months ago

Classroom fight

"It is so refreshing to

"It is so refreshing to hear you say that, about seeing the learning in their eyes. It sounds like that is what keeps you going through the day, and coming back the next day?" Riccardo queried. "Every day." "What is it that you want me to observe?" "I'm trying something different. I am teaching them using as little effort as possible." "You are teaching, using little effort. How is that working out?" "Not so well. I still get drawn into their unending questions" "Questions?" queried Riccardo. Jayne's voice rose as she said, "They ask and ask and ask the same questions over and over again and again. They expect personal explanations. They take no responsibility for finding out what to do, how to do it or what quality is expected or appropriate!" "That must be draining on your energy," Riccardo acknowledged. "What do you want to achieve by using as little effort as possible?" "Firstly, I am taking care of myself." Riccardo recalled the airline safety instructions 'In the event of a drop in cabin pressure' and how parents should take care of themselves before taking care of their children. He nodded in approval, "That is very strong of you, to take care of yourself first, then the children." Jayne continued, "Then, I hope that by being less helpful, by answering fewer questions and being clear that my instructions are given once, for everyone to listen to, and follow, and not giving personalised instructions to each and every student over and over again…" Riccardo jumped ahead of Jayne's spiralling energy, "You will save your energy." 98

"Exactly!" exclaimed Jayne, emotionally slapping the desk with a thump. "I understand. How can I help?" "Would you be an extra pair of eyes and see what goes on behind my back?" she requested. Riccardo nodded in agreement. Jayne told him, "I expect the students to work on their assignments without me having to stand over them. Can you see if they are engaged in their work when I am not standing over them?" Riccardo wrote that down then asked, "Not standing over them? So where are you standing then?" "I do want to visit every student during the lesson, to support them, but I often start at the front of the room." "Would it be useful if I tracked where you stand during the lesson?" "Hmm. Yes, that could be useful. Perhaps I get stuck at some desks for longer than others. I would see who is taking up my time, and energy. And you could see which students are working, and which are not. Then I would have something real to share with them, not just my impressions of how they work." Riccardo drew a plan of the classroom showing the students sitting at their desks. He would write 'yes' or 'no' every five minutes depending on whether the students were working on their assignment or not. He made ten copies of this plan to be used during the one-hour lesson. On the day of the observation came into the classroom at the start of the lesson. Riccardo could see that there were twenty-five students plus Jayne and a young man. Riccardo asked Jayne, "What does the young man do?" "He's an assistant, he supports one particular student, the one sitting at the back of the room." 99

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