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 con
While this was enjoyable both for myself and the rest of the class, it also wasted a lot of time and I seldom got my whole lesson finished. They were then to report to the class what their friends shared with them. I began by introducing myself, and then attempted to tell a joke. Each student in the group was to make a contribution; working together effectively was therefore a requirement. They were disturbing both me and their classmates as I tried to convey to the students the expectations and outcome of the exercise. When I entered the classroom, it felt as if the students were scrutinizing me with an extremely critical attitude. It happened during an English grammar class, where I asked to see the exercises that the students were to complete at home. While I was however explaining the instructions, two students in the back of the class kept talking to each other. As student finally raised her hand and asked if I could not do something more interesting with them. The student was therefore singled out to work by herself while the rest of the class continued with the lesson. A particularly difficult critical incident occurred with a group of 5 grade students during my first session with them. I deliberately attempted to create diverse groups in terms of learning ability and culture. It worked well - subsequently the students were much more open to my lessons, paid attention, and responded when required. In this way, I wanted to impress upon the students that diversity in whatever form is to be celebrated.