Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Journal Article Review

By Anthony Michael

Hello again fellow bloggers.  For this week’s posting I feel that a journal article review is appropriate.  As I dive deeper into my research upon my thesis I have bene reading numerous articles, journals, and books about education reform. And thus I feel that it would be beneficial to you to know a little about what I have been finding.  The latest article that I read is entitled “Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns” this article can be found in the Washington Post by Valerie Strauss on Oct 24. 
In this article Alexis Wiggins who is a High School Learning Coach.  As her job pertains she works with teachers and administrators to help improve student learning outcomes.  As an “initiation” to this new job she followed two students around in their classes for two whole days, doing everything that they did; taking notes, tests, labs, etc.; to try and gain a better understanding of what actual life is like as a high school student.    After Wiggins is done shadowing the students she concludes that high school is actually rather tiring for students. 
One of the main reasons that she feels like students are exhausted at the end of the day is that they sit down all day.  The only times that they are allowed to actually get up and move around on their own are in between classes.  Other than this they are required to sit and absorb information Wiggins reported that one of the major things that she would have implemented had she realized this would be three things.
·       Mandatory stretch halfway through class
·       Install a nerf hoop that allows students to unwind and move about in the beginning of class
·       Incorporate a hands on activity into every class of some sort
The second finding that she reported was that most students do not even feel that their presence provides a worthy contribution to the class, since they are not allowed, or asked to provide any input during the majority of the time that they are in class.  This is either because the teacher is lecturing, other students are presenting, or a test was being taken.  This leads to student’s just absorbing information the whole day and not critically thinking about what is being said.  Wiggin’s feels that critical opportunities are being lost that allow students to choose or direct where and how they want their education to proceed.  Several of the various changes that she would make inside the classroom are as follows.
·       Quick mini-lessons followed by group discussions to promote active and critical learning
·       Ask the students at the beginning of class what questions they had over the readings or any previous classes
·       Only allow so long for a lecture and to not go over that time period, to allow for more question answer time
Overall more active and engaging learning environments need to be incorporated within a student’s everyday learning environment to encourage students to actually think about and analyze the information that is being relayed to them. 
Strauss, V. (2014, October 24). Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns. Washington Post.

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