Level 3 – observations of History and Social Studies

Recently, it has been a bit of a challenge to motivate my Level 3 Geography class to do any work. While this has been an issue for most of the year – as mentioned in previous post the criteria for the Rotorua field trip that required work completion acted as a motivator for some students. However, as we begin term 3, post- Rotorua the momentum seems to be wearing off. I had tried a number of strategies such as setting goals, talking to students one on one, removing students who were disruptive and trying to limit distractions in class such as cell-phones and eating. Since a number of students taking geography also took history and social studies I decided to observe my colleagues to see what they were doing differently.

On Monday the 6th August – p3 I went to observe Mr Brown’s History class. This was particularly useful as I observed:

  • Students were also coming in late to class – dripping in 20 minutes into the lesson
  • Students were distracted by eating, using phones and talking rather than listening to instructions
  • Overall, the level 3 History class collectively had the same work ethic as the Level 3 Geography class.

An approach adopted by Mr Brown that I found particularly useful was I noticed he didn’t give up nor lose his cool he just continued to patiently give instructions from the front and walked around all lesson continuously reminding students to get back on task. I felt this was something I needed to do more of – patiently reminding students to return to the task at hand and stay on their case the whole lesson.

Following on from my observations with Mr Brown on Tuesday the 7th of August I observed Ms Apelu’s Year 13 Social Studies class. As I arrived Ms Apelu was giving the class a bit of a talking to. She was telling them how much their teachers cared about them and was inspiring them to do something that  could feel proud of.

I liked this approach and again, this was a useful reminder for me to remind students that I cared about them. As we moved through the year I had become increasingly frustrated with my year 13 class and as a result had become increasingly short and impatient with the class in general. Listening to Ms Apelu speak to her class reminded me I needed to remind students that I cared about them.

In summary, observing Mr Brown and Ms Apelu teach the Level 3’s reminded me of the need to have patience with the class and it is important to remind students that we as their teachers care about them.

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