- Cooperative learning and partner work are the two main teaching styles that I observed. Since students were divided into groups of four, they performed learning activities in their groups.
- I observed the teacher using cooperative learning as a way of administering instructions. Students were gathered in small groups and expected to work together. I observed as the teacher gave them tasks to accomplish together.
- Cooperative learning strategy involved the use of themes in reading to help learners develop strong understanding of what was required of them. Simple concepts in reading which was related to the 3rd grade could be clearly noticed during the lesson.
- I observed the teacher asking students to omit sounds in a word and then speak out the word without the omitted sounds. Pupils were able to respond appropriately and there was an indication of achievement of learning outcomes.
- Students sat in groups of four. The size of the class was standard. It had 24 pupils implying a total of 6 groups. There was enough space for every pupil within the class. The desks were arranged in groups of four to allow enough space for every pupil in the group.
- I also noted that the students were arranged in sizeable groups in order to make participation effective. Large groups could interfere with dynamics of group work. It could cause students to form other small groups within the large groups. For instance, a large group of six pupils can be split into two or have few active members while the rest remain passive.
- Another important issue I noted within the classroom was the arrangement of the students. Despite being arranged in groups, the students were all able to see the board easily in case the teacher wanted to show something on the board. Similarly, the class was arranged in a way that the teacher could see every pupil. Being able to see every student is important for the teacher to assess the level of engagement of all the students.
- The classroom is expected to be an interactive social environment where cultural practices are established and built over time. Every action and gesture of a teacher and every student has meaning which either facilitates or impedes effective learning. Considering the type of instruction used for the lessons, teacher movement was inevitable. I could observe the teacher moving around the classroom interacting with every group.
- I observed the teacher moving from one group to another ensuring that every group performed their task well. In addition, the teacher also moved around to ensure that every student was participating in the group activities and cooperating with others to complete their group work.
- I also observed the teacher using demonstration as a way of helping pupils understand content material. In addition to explaining content, the teacher went ahead to demonstrate content material in order to facilitate comprehension.
Discipline/ classroom management
- The third grade pupils can show disruptive behaviors. Therefore, it is the duty of the teacher to ensure discipline by gaining control of the class from the beginning of the lesson, up to its end. I observed as the teacher controlled the classroom and ensured that attention of every pupil was captured.
- Various methods of managing behavior in classroom were utilized during the lessons. At one of the lessons, I observed as the teacher used rote discipline to control undesired behaviors in the classroom. Rote discipline involves the use of negative sanctions to discourage ill behaviors. One of the pupils subjected to discipline control was making noise. The teacher made him write the same sentence repeatedly on a piece of paper. The sentences were supposed to fill both sides of the sheet. The student wrote the sentences filling both sides of the paper while others proceeded with the lesson.
- Upon completion, I continued taking notes of the student’s behavior to determine whether the punishment would be effective or not. Apparently, the punishment was effective. I never saw him engaging in unruly behaviors again. Instead, he continued to participate in the group activities.
Level of engagement
- The level of engagement is important during instruction because it indicates whether the process of instruction is successful or not. I observed a high level of engagement of the pupils. The students were very active during the lesson. They participated in the group work activities.
- I observed as some of them asked questions related to the content material, while others were able to respond to the questions raised by their colleagues.
- I observed a high level of engagement among the pupils. They were enthusiastic and confident throughout the entire lesson. The children seemed to be in pursuit of clear reading goals. All their attention was purposefully focused on the lesson and they demonstrated high concentration.
- Guided practice involves demonstrating tasks to students and allowing them to perform them. It is an important part of the learning process of English, as well as other subjects. During the assessment, I observed as the teacher modeled the way and allowed the students to come up with their own solutions.
- The teacher illustrated how to achieve the learning objectives and allowed the students to work individually, as well as in groups. I observed as the teacher demonstrated the concept of phonemes as one of the basic reading concepts.
- An important part of guided practice is checking student understanding. On several occasions, the teacher would randomly pick students from any group and ask them to perform task on the board. The group activities were also expected to be illustrated on the board upon completion.
- Teachers always have a lot of tasks to accomplish within the time frame of a lesson. Grade 3 lessons generally last for approximately 50 minutes. However, the lessons which I observed lasted for 45 minutes. The teacher was therefore expected to accomplish all the activities within this time limit. The teacher was very objective as he defined the time for every planned learning activity.
- I observed as the teacher took five minutes to help the students get into the lesson by reviewing concepts learned during the previous lessons. The teacher also used this section to engage students by explaining the purpose of the lesson.
- During the lessons, the teacher could spend approximately 20 minutes for the guided practice session. During this time, students listened as the teacher explained concepts from the reading.
- The independent student practice session lasted for approximately ten minutes before the students could present their work before the class.
- Finally, the culmination or the closing sessions of the lesson involved assessing whether the objectives were met and then a homework assignment was given.
- Homework is a common means of informal assessment. The teacher gave homework assignments at the end of every lesson.
- I also noted how the teacher emphasized on the need to complete the assignments. The teacher could ask the pupils to ensure that their parents and care givers checked and signed their work before submitting it.
- At the beginning of every lesson, the teacher inquired about homework. He used the opportunity to assess level of knowledge of students. Most of the assignments could touch on a new topic in addition to assessing understanding of the previous topics. The students were very engaged in their work because most of them completed the work before the next lesson.
- The classroom environment was very productive and focused on learning. It was suitable for facilitating and enhancing the process of learning. I observed relevant learning materials pinned to the walls.
- The learning environment also provided positive relationships between students and the teacher and among the students. It enabled the students to get engaged in the process of learning. Their engagement is important to their learning and it is the duty of the teacher to ensure that the students are engaged in the lesson.
- The teacher also tried hard to create a learning environment that encouraged social support for the students. The necessary classroom environment is one that creates mutual respect among students in addition to creating respect between teachers and students. Such an environment makes students try hard and avoid failure.
Teaching reading to grade 3 students requires special skills and practices that enable the students to easily grasp the content. The main essential practices to be used here include: classroom discussion, cooperative learning activities, project based learning, incorporated technology use in the process of instruction, and other motivational forces that would enhance learning. Motivation is a force that enables us to achieve set goals. It is an essential aspect of learning because it plays a big role in the process of teaching and learning. It helps students enjoy their lessons in class and therefore enhance their performance.
In the assessment, I was able to observe a lot of practices which I learned in theory. I realized the importance of using these evidence based practices to enhance learning and improve on outcomes. For instance, the use of various techniques for classroom management by the teacher was very insightful. I could not help but notice how effective some of the techniques were. Similarly, I also noted partner work and cooperative learning as instruction strategies. These were the main strategies used by the teacher during the lesions I observed. Partner work has the uniqueness of enhancing the process of learning. Partner work can be integrated into the lesson in various ways. The teacher can allow students to work in pairs and give them exercises and classroom learning activities to be completed in pairs. Partner work also helps improve conversation and speech among learners. Partner work can be used in the classroom by teaching the students to disagree and then work together in pairs until they come to an agreement.
The teacher used cooperative and collaborative learning to teach reading skill. This is an effective instructional method which has been described by researchers as additional tool when learning language skills. The strategy puts learners in an environment that helps them practice reading skills. Similarly, the instruction methods recommended in this assessment have been described to be effective. The use of partner work in reading lesson has a similar impact as cooperative learning
In regards to personal and professional development, there are factors that I consider when selecting pedagogy strategy. The factors include: the entry level of learners, desired learning outcomes, and the learning environment. Based on the lesson I observed, these three considerations are important for effective lesson.
Classroom management and the level of student engagement is another area of pedagogy that I was keen to assess. Key indicators for student engagement include willingness to participate in classroom activities, attendance, submission of homework and any other required work, and being attentive in class. I was able to note some of these indicators as the lesson progressed. I was also keen in to note the level of engagement in relation to gender. Both girls and boys participated in the classroom activities on an equal level. Proper classroom management requires that the teacher be very knowledgeable on the subject content and delivery. This is despite the approach that a teacher intends to use in managing the classroom. However as a teacher, the most appropriate approach for classroom management is one that benefits the teacher, the learners and the school environment as well. The consideration of classroom management begins at the planning stage, where the teacher prepares for instruction delivery.