Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Land of the Little People

On Wednesday of this past week, I had the chance to visit Ash Tree Primary School. Since it backs up to my school, it’s a simple matter to pop down the path for an hour or so. I observed in a year 6 maths class. When I got there, I was amazed at the behaviour – the kids were sitting without talking, raising their hands, and participating.

So, that got me thinking. Sure, kids change a bit in the month between year 6 and year 7, but they can’t change THAT much. So why do the year 6 kids behave nearly perfectly when some of the year 7 kids act like they’ve never been in a classroom before?

There are probably a ton of reasons but here are two I think are major ones:
School expectations – If you’re a year 6 kid in a school where everyone is properly behaved, you quickly learn what is allowed and expected of you. Similarly, if you’re a year 7 kid in a school where everyone runs around, screams and shouts, and disrupts, you quickly learn what is allowed and expected of you.
School timetables – The year 6 kids I saw have the same teacher for each subject. Plus, they had the same teacher last year. Unfortunately, when they get to year 7, they will be thrown into a situation where not only do they have a different teacher for each subject, but, chances are, for some classes, they will have more than one teacher. (When I got here, my year 7 class was timetabled to have three separate teachers for maths – one teacher three times a fortnight, one teacher twice a fortnight, and one teacher once a fortnight. That wasn’t counting any supply teachers they might have had as well.)

I’m thinking of applying to a Master’s of Education program that focuses on researching a particular area of teaching and learning. I think I’ve found my topic.


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