Well, let me tell you something small, something about my family.
I am Shinzaki, 37 year old. My son is in the 4th grade, and 9 years old. My daughters are twins, and 5 years old. They gave me a bottle of whiskey on Father’s Day. I really loved it.
The other day, I went to an open school at my son’s elementary school. It was a class observation occasion, which allowed not only the parents but also neighbors to sit in the class. It’s like open day at a university.
I don’t think I’ve heard the word, “open school” before, but there it is now.
My son is in the 4th grade, and he has had the same teacher and the classmates since the 3rd grade. He has liked the teacher since then. He often told me “my teacher’s class is fun!” So I thought he was lucky to have chemistry with his teacher.
Then I saw the teacher’s class. I was impressed with his skills. It might be a standard in these days, but I saw it for the first time. I was so impressed so I am writing about it here, in this blog.
To make it simple, it is a method “to have students help a student when one can’t answer in the class”.
Let me explain more.
The teacher asks a question in the class. He doesn’t pick a student who raises his/her hand, probably because some students raise hands and others don’t. The teacher often picks a student in another way.
He might say, “Now ○○ answered the question. I will pick a student behind him one by one.”
You may suppose some can’t answer the question right away.
A student might go quiet after saying, “Ah…um….”
Then the teacher might say, “You don’t know the answer? OK, somebody else?” The teacher wouldn’t nag the student, but would pick another student.
In my school days, all of my teachers were like that, without exception.
To my surprise, the son’s teacher was different.
When the student looked puzzles with the question, he said,
“Well, can anybody help?”
Then another student came forward. He didn’t answer by himself. He went to the student who was in trouble with the question, and whispered the answer.
In the end, the student who was picked in the first place answered the question.
The teacher praised the both students, who answered the question and who helped his classmate.
Did you think “It is not a big deal.”? But I was absolutely impressed. I’ll tell you why.
・The student who was picked will answer, and he probably won’t lose his self-esteem.
・The student who helps his/her classmate will get confidence by teaching others.
・Students will get used to helping each other with a task.
・Students will learn better by thinking how to teach others.
・Students will communicate with each other.
I talked to my son afterwards.
I found out that the teacher often told in the class,
“It is essential to listen to others carefully and take others opinions”
I believe this is the basic concept of the method.
So the student who is helped by his/her classmate is not “a person who doesn’t know the answer and who needs help”, but “a person who listens to others and takes others’ opinion”.
The students have learned to help each other beforehand. That’s why a student doesn’t need to lose confidence, thinking “I was picked but couldn’t answer…”
In the nature of things, “being picked and not being able to answer” is mortifying.
Some awful teachers might nag the student who couldn’t answer a question. It would hurt the student’s self-esteem badly.
In this method, students who cannot answer probably won’t hurt, which makes easy for a teacher to pick a student randomly.
I assume this is merely part of this teacher’s skills. He considers each student carefully, and students follow the teacher, then class works well.
My son might not realize but probably he likes his teacher with his mindfulness.
I am impressed that the teacher cares about students’ self-esteem and confidence. I’d like to take his style myself.
In another occasion, I also liked this teacher.
For example, when classroom was noisy, he didn’t say “Be quiet”.
He found the main topic the students were discussing, and gave them a question to think. “What do you think about this?”
Then students got quiet by thinking.
When I was a student, I didn’t see a teacher like him.
I’m happy for my son that he has met a good teacher. I hope all the teachers he will meet will be great.
These days, we see a bad news about a teacher who caused a trouble or abuse or something. We might consider all teachers are bad. I know there are good teacher and want to share a story.
It is a story about a teaching method I saw and liked at an open school.
Author’s Blog : 不倒城