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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Planning and Delivering Instruction

In many classrooms across the United States there is a push for student focused education. That is, student’s work in groups, in partners, individually, on projects, by playing games and other educational activities. Based on my experience at Colegio Maristas, classrooms in Spain (or at least in my CT’s classroom) use the more traditional approach of teacher lead education. I observed this through Math, Grammar, Reading, English and Social Studies lessons. Most lessons are out of the students textbooks; for example the typical math lesson involves the students working individually to solve a page of word problems and then reviewing the three or four problems as a class, with my CT at the chalkboard recording the students’ solutions and different strategies. In Reading or Social Studies the class usually reads through the text book as a whole, taking turns reading as the teacher calls out different students names. Students then complete workbook pages individually and the teacher and class correct them aloud. All these lessons and the lessons in other subject areas are heavily based on the curriculum used by Maristas.

Like most schools, Maristas uses a curriculum across the different subject areas. In her planning and delivering of instruction, my CT seems to draw heavily and primarily from the curriculum, as is evidenced by the students’ constant use of workbooks and textbooks. This type of classroom compares differently to each of the classrooms I have taught at in previous pre-pracs. I have had a CT who used the curriculum but also a large mix of her own ideas and planning, and CT who frequently used the curriculum and only used some additional resources. And I have also had a CT who, like my current CT, taught primarily and almost exclusively from the curriculum and textbooks. That is not to say my CT refuses to waiver from the curriculum if it is not in the best interest of her students. For example, my CT told me how this year’s class has excelled in Reading, so much in fact that the curriculum books no longer provided her students with enough challenge. So along with the other two teachers of Segundo, my CT arranged to order more chapter books for the students and designed a unit around that book. I felt that this was the sign of a good teacher; although her method of teaching is usually to work from the curriculum, she was able to adapt her lessons to better meet the needs of her students.

All in all, I have been reminded in Granada that there are many different ways a student can be educated, and no one is necessarily better. The students in my CT’s classroom experience less interaction in their lessons than many US students, they work primarily out of text books and workbooks, and they don’t play educational “games” or activities. Nonetheless, the students do their work and they all seem to enjoy school in one way or another.

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