Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Define 'Ideal Classroom'...

Hi all blog-readers,

Today, we had our I&E lesson before lunch. Mr Koh walked into the class happily with hope of engaging class S1-07. This was not unusual, but it turned out that Mr Koh had to talk to the class 15-20 min before the lesson and reiterate the two expectations he had set for the class. More unexpectedly, Mr Koh had to shout at the class during English lesson before the researchers came. I could see that Mr Koh had not wanted to shout at the class and has been trying very hard not to. He seems quite disappointed about the class. Therefore, this post is basically about what an ideal class would simply mean to me...

SO...what would an 'ideal classroom' mean to me? Is it the use of a lot of technology in class? Is it having a lot of learning journeys? Or is it the amount of time spent on group work? BUT...before we can go on to all these and define 'ideal classroom', we must first define 'ideal'. According to the dictionary, there are many definitions. However, I would feel that some significant words related to the word 'ideal' are words such as 'suitable' and 'satisfying'. (Not necessarily 'excellence' or 'perfection') Since these are some of the related words, what then would be a 'suitable' or 'satisfying' classroom?

There may be many different opinions, but for me, I have thought a while about it and I suppose that the most significant thing about an 'ideal' classroom is 'context'. I think this should be a very important thing to take note of as for there to be a suitable learning environment, students should be able to act appropriately according to the changes in the classroom environment so as to let everyone be able to learn together as a class and not hurt anyone. Imagine you are trying to speak to a group of friends seriously about something very important that has happened and one out of the whole group just keeps laughing without stopping. This person cannot differentiate between different contexts! This can be very annoying at times and can be considered to have no 'common sense'. From what I feel, it is not all about 'Rules...rules...and rules...'. There can be times where the class can go noisy and crack some jokes, but the moment the teacher tries to explain something that is very important, the class has to pay attention and be serious. And that is because the context has changed! This is something I feel that the class is lacking on and should improve on.

Besides applying 'context' in the learning during class, we can also apply learning in understanding people (which includes both teachers and friends) well. This is because I find that without applying 'context' to this, it can be very disruptive in class at times. For example, it is when someone intentionally does something bad to another person during class. Do you realise that this is not only about the 'context' as in 'no common sense when the teacher is teaching' but also about the understanding of teachers and friends? (This can be linked to respect) For some people, they say they understand others well. But they should not that there will be people who are very sensitive to what others do to them as well as those who don't mind about what others, like me, who do not mind about what say about them at all! So why is this important? Firstly, the person who is doing something bad on the person shows no respect for him/her. Secondly, the person who is being disturbed may react in ways such as 'paying back double' on the person who disturbed him/her or construct negative comments. And this is where they do not realise the context and construct irrelevant comments.

Besides 'context', the second criteria for an 'ideal' classroom is about 'Keeping up to the Expectations'. I personally feel that expectations does not mean rules. Rules are things like 'A rule is a rule. If you break it, you deserve punishment.' Expectations are things which people expect and hope you will be able to achieve it. It can be considered a promise to the person who set the expectations of you. In contrast to rules, expectations are the challenges that you or someone set for you to be able to constantly achieve based on a reason. It may not even be a challenge. Therefore, keeping up to expectations is significant in an ideal classroom as this helps to so-called let students know what they promised about themselves. As keeping up an expectation is like a promise, I feel that it would be important not to let the person who expects something from you down as the person who had set the expectations would have set it based on reason and you would have let the person down if you are not able to keep up to the expectations and do something of the reason the person wants you to achieve on. In S1-07, it seems that some students (maybe me? or not?) have failed to keep up to the expectations to the teacher. It would be very hard to teach students who cannot do something that you have expected and hoped to see because you will not be sure of what to expect every time when teaching. Would something bad happen because the person did not keep up to your expectations? I believe that the teacher will feel uncertainty and maybe even a sense of failure of not being able to let the students cooperate if the students to not keep up to the teacher's expectations. This is something that has to be improved on if S1-07 is to be having an ideal 'classroom'. Only by doing this will we achieve greater confidence.

Well, there may be some more other criteria which is significant for having an 'ideal classroom' such as teamwork, respect, engaging etc. but I think I feel that the above two criteria would be the two main ones that are keeping our class from having an 'ideal classroom' and the ones which we would need to greatly improve on for now. I believe that if the class is able to solve just these two problems, it would be easier for the class to solve the other ones in moving towards the goal of having an 'ideal classroom'.

This would be all that I have to share about this topic. Please inform me immediately if you discover any mistakes/errors in this post. Also, if you have enquiries, please feel free to contact me via the below contact methods. Thank you all blog-readers and have a nice day.

Yours Ideal-classroom-ly,
Neo Wei Hong (14),

Student of SST S1-07,
Currently 'member' of English Lesson,
With special thanks to Mr Richard Koh.

Email: neo_weihong@s2010.sst.edu.sg
Hp: not stated due to cyber-wellness purposes.

Feel free to comment on this post.


Blogger Richie said...

Dear Weihong

Thanks for treating this exercise so seriously.

Your two criteria are very good as it does set the stage for acceptable language use in the classroom. We must be situationally aware of the context because there is always a time and space for play or work. When we cannot distinguish between them, we may embarrass ourselves or others. W

In any community, there should also be guidelines/expectations for behaviour, communication and contribution and as part of the community, we try our best to learn and grow together.

You have a high tolerance level when it comes to insensitive remarks being made (about you). That is a golden quality which I find very endearing and admirable.

I know you want the class to gel better. Everyone has to be on board the bus so that we can get there.

Mr Richard Koh

May 4, 2010 at 2:39 PM  

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