Critical Incidents in the Classroom

             A classroom situation involves working with students who are more often than not at widely differing levels of maturity, intelligence, and sense of responsibility. As such, it is important for any teacher to learn as much as possible about their students as early as possible in the learning process. It is however also true that the learning process involves both the teacher and his or her students, and as such it is seldom a smooth process. Critical incidents therefore form valuable learning tools not only for the teacher, but also for the students, and for the future learning process and classroom situation. Having observed several hours of 5th and 6th grade lessons as a student teacher, I have experienced several critical incidents and learned much regarding how to handle them.
             All my experiences and observations took place in an all-girls school, and discipline was not a very big problem. There were however one or two incidents in classrooms that are noteworthy. One such incident occurred in a 6th grade English literature classroom, while I was giving instructions for a poetry group work session. I placed list of step-by-step instructions on the board; students were required to create their own poem in their group contexts. While I was however explaining the instructions, two students in the back of the class kept talking to each other. They were disturbing both me and their classmates as I tried to convey to the students the expectations and outcome of the exercise.
             I asked the students to keep quiet on several occasions, upon which they would obey for a while, only to start talking again after a while. Talking them in front of the class did not help, so I asked them discreetly to join me outside the classroom. I asked them why they had been talking, upon which one girl told me that her mother was very ill and that she was worried. I verified her story with a quick phone call and arranged for the girl to go home...

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Critical Incidents in the Classroom. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:58, January 18, 2017, from