Classroom Observations

So, I’ve received my placements for conducting 30 hours of classroom observation for a class entitled, “Classroom Organization and Management.” I observe for 15 hours in a high school and 15 in a middle school. The high school is about 30 minutes away down the interstate and is a somewhat rural high school in a somewhat rural county. The middle school is somewhat urban and “inner-city” and located in the city I live. When I call it “urban” and “inner-city,” I am using the terms loosely. It’s had a bad reputation. As a matter of fact, I was speaking to a lady I am in class with and she has a son who attends the middle school. She told me that our university had stopped sending male student teachers to that middle school for a few years because some female students were falsely accusing them of inappropriate behavior and/or actions. Naturally, I’m not thrilled about this at all.

After observing the classes I am to write 10 reflections concerning observations of the teachers with whom I will student teach. Topics to address are:

1. What were the rules of this classroom? Where they effective? Were they observed? Will you incorporate these rules into your classroom when you teach?

2. What were the procedures that have been developed for this classroom? What additional procedures were needed? How could they have been improved?

3. Did your teacher exhibit “withitness?” Give an example of when “withitness” was or wasn’t demonstrated. Evaluate the importance of “withitness” for effective management.

4. Did your teacher use proximity control to manage the classroom? How effective was this technique for good management?

5. What were the consequences for misbehavior? Did you think these consequences were appropriate? What would you change if it were your classroom?

6. What were the rewards or incentives provided to the students? Did you agree with these rewards? What rewards will you use in your classroom?

7. What was the classroom policy on homework? Did you think it was appropriate? What will be your policy when you have your own classroom?

8. Evaluate the arrangement of the room? Did it provide for visibility and accessibility? What were the distractions in the room? Was the instructional area visible to all students? What would your have changed?

9. What must you do to be successful in student teaching placement I?

10. What must you do to be successful in student teaching placement II?

I think I understand what they mean by “withitness.” But can someone out there explain this for me? Why would a supposedly professional university education college use the word, “withitness?”

What are some things you would look for? What are some suggestions you would give while I am in the classrooms and what questions should I ask?

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3 responses

  1. Ask about the organization of papers and returning work . . thats all apart of management. It seems like all all your questions are geared toward discipline. Management is more than discipline. It about the strategies that are in place to prevent discipline problems.

    Withitness means does the teacher seem to be aware of everything that is going on in the classroom. Like the kids who has his headset on or the passing of notes. . . does the teacher seem to respond to everything going on? Does she seem to know things are going on? Also, when you are observing, KNOW THIS: many teachers see a lot of behaviors going on, but they choose to ignore. So before characterizing a teacher as having bad withitness ask if they saw it and why they didn’t do anything about it.

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    1. Thanks! I suppose seeing a behavior and letting it go applies to “picking your battles.” I’ll keep these things in mind and take these with me when I go observe. This is just the kind of comment I’m looking for.

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      1. *blush* I hope i don’t appear as know it all. I feel that people may perceive it that way sometimes . . .

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