Impact on Student Learning

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Before and After Artifact:

Thisparticular student was rather bright and usually had comments which positively contributed to the learning environment, however they were extremely lazy and unmotivated when it came to actually doing work in class when I first took over as a student teacher. I noticed that this student was not the only one who had a bright mind but were unwilling, for one reason or another, to complete actual work whether it be readings, discussion questions, or another activity. At first I attempted to diagnose the issue by speaking to them in passing about what they enjoyed about the class and what I could do to peak their interest in the material. They largely responded that they enjoyed the class but they did not care much about their grades and felt that they could coast by until the final and then do just enough to pass. I began speaking with them individually on a regular basis and discussing the important role which history plays in our educational and professional lives. My point to all of them was that by not participating fully, they were only obtaining a superficial understanding of history with little critical depth. To dispel these issues I made the decision to teach a lesson which would help the students better understand the purpose of history and how it applies to them in the hopes that it would motivate them more to take a more active role in their own education. A week or so after I took over the classroom, I gave a quiz which accompanied a group reading analysis project, which you can see below, and this particular student failed it because he did not want to finish the quiz. This quiz was based on readings that they had been doing and discussing as a group for three days and this student decided to only answer two of the four questions even though he had more than enough time to do all four and had done all four readings. A week later I taught the aforementioned lesson about what role history plays in our lives and our own individual roles in history and society. I was also sure to highlight the how important the critical thinking and analytic skills developed in history are during and after their schooling careers. The lesson also tackled the topic of the original purpose of history being taught in schools and how that has evolved today. Another week after this lesson, my students took another quiz, this one assessing our coverage of the Cold War. This particular student and his peers were much more engaged throughout the week leading up to the quiz and his individualhard workpaid off with an A- on the quiz. His success should not be granted to my alone lesson by anymeans, the motivation and willingness to work hard came from within. I do know, however, that the lesson allowed him to connect some of the dots in his mind, leading him to understand how much he can really benefit from applying himself in the classroom. I believe that he still has some work to do personally when it comes to consistent motivation and hard work, however I believe that with continued work with him and his peers on understanding how integral critical thinking and problem solving are to their future will help them grow even further. Please take a look at the improvements this student made by observing his work displayed below.Before:


Second Student WorkThis second student needed growth in a much different way than the first student. This particular student was a senior and this was the Spring Semester, she needed to pass the class I was taking over in order to graduate that June. When I first arrived in the classroom she was a very kind student who went about her work quietly. However, before I took over she had become increasingly frustrated in the class as she fell behind because of unexcused absences and neglecting homework assignments and make-up work. This ultimately boiled over in outward frustration when she was openly angry at my cooperating teacher after he asked her to sit down and stop disrupting the class. Her vast amount of incomplete work had led to her understanding little in class and the frustration was clearly apparent in the unfortunate words she used towards the teacher which got her sent to her dean. I realized once I took over that the goal would have to be speaking with her and figuring out a way for her to understand the background information she had missed in order for her to understand the current material in class. We began meeting after school multiple times a week in order to catch her up. As the weeks went by she became increasingly open in class and by her tone and body language the frustrations were diminishing quickly. I helped her come to the realization that the costs of her having to come back as a fifth year senior outweighed the extra work she could put in now to pass the class. Towards the end of my time student teaching this student was caught up and producing good work in class. One of my final projects I did with that class was to understand how to analyze and read political cartoons. This was done in order for the students to have some fun and to help build critical analysis skills. The student I had been working with after school produced her own political cartoon at the end of the project which demonstrated her growth and transformation throughout the semester. As you can see by her political cartoon below, she was not afraid to tackle a touchy subject in front of the entire class. Creating a political cartoon is difficult and creating a quality one takes a deep understanding of the skills that are consistently improved upon and polished when learning the social studies. Clearly her political cartoon shows that she was able to grasp a good understanding of the content knowledge and skills we were working on as a class and she had come a long way from the student who stormed out of class with a failing grade. Her turning this in combined with her understanding and courage to confront that particular topic in her cartoon was one of my proudest moments during student teaching.