One of the most important teaching techniques I have discovered for removing this discomfort and creating a growing sense of capability is modeling. Modeling is the foundation on which each lesson in this unit is based. It provides a means of involving all of my students in the class completely in the activity, and provides a channel by which I will be able to open their thoughts and draw on any previously-learned skills while I build new skills. Modeling paces our steps together, creating an avenue to achieve successfully the stages of thinking and organizing necessary in writing.
Modeling is a valuable technique when I am introducing a new concept for my students to grasp and comprehend. There is little resistance to “new” work if I go through the process involved as a demonstration. It is also important to assess the readiness skill necessary to integrate the “new” concept or task at hand with previously learned skills. My organized presentation encourages acceptance by the students, especially when I take it very slowly, step-by-step. I try to use a consistent pattern and students easily take on their role when it is their turn to begin the exercise. Generally speaking, students are eager and willing to become involved when they understand clearly what is expected of them and are shown how to do an exercise. there are a few exceptions and they’re usually due to emotional liability.
Modeling avoids confusion of expectation. By showing them what is expected through a step-by-step process, I give them the confidence to do the exercise themselves. We do not move onto a new skill (presented through the exercises) until the students have completely mastered the current skill. Thus the “new” skills or concepts become integrated into previously learned skills and concepts, and the students begin to feel a growing competence and control over his writing. Not to build in this fashion leaves the student in a defensive and overwhelming situation where failure and negative attitudes are going to develop. I much prefer taking the time to “model” so that my students will have a positive experience.
B. Behavior Modification Point System
Along with creating appropriate lessons for the skill level of the students, a good teacher has to also confront another important learning condition: an acceptable standard of behavior that affects positively the learning environment. Behavior can enhance or destroy the positive atmosphere of respect and desire to learn. Once a teacher decides what he can tolerate comfortably, he can then plan an approach to diminish or alleviate the unacceptable behavior through his own unique style of discipline.
One of the easiest ways to redirect inappropriate (unacceptable) behavior on the student’s part is to initiate a group point system. I would then focus on sustaining rewarding positive behavior exhibited by the group. Discussion between myself and my students has to occur so that all understand why acceptable behavior is important. I would then share with the students what acceptable behaviors are to be rewarded and assign a number of points to each behavior being targeted for reward. Some examples are: raising hands for attention, being prepared for class, attention by eye contact, and active participation. I would then discuss how many points would have to be attained before achieving the reward. An example of a reward would be a VRC, which is popular right now. It is important to note that the group has to agree on this reward or it is meaningless to them and they will not respond and be motivated to participate.
A behavior modification point system quickly eliminates the need for correcting and directing negative attitudes and irresponsibility. Students will often pressure other students who are not positively interacting in the point system because they are being held up in achieving the reward. They will remind, support, and even pressure each other to behave appropriately. The burden of discipline, usually mine, is then relieved and shared by all in the group.
Throughout the school year the need for this point system at some time will not be necessary because the students will not need it. I would then make the decision to reward them by lots of verbal praise and surprises spontaneously given when they least expect it.