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Monday, December 12, 2016

Classroom Equity in Copenhagen

Over the past few weeks at Copenhagen International School I’ve noticed how much my CT works to promote equity within the classroom. Every classroom is filled with students that have different needs whether academic, behavioral, or specifically in the area of language. The time that Ive spent at CIS has allowed me to see how hard teachers work to make sure that each student is afforded equal opportunities in the classroom and to meet the diverse needs of every student.
While CIS has many resources in place for students that would benefit from academic intervention, as with every school resources cannot always be accessed right away for students that need them. Seeing my CT work so hard to get students the support that they need was inspiring and definitely something I hope that I can live up to in the future. One student specifically was especially far behind the rest of the class, however not receiving as much aid as students that were far above him received. Since finding a student space in an intervention program can take time, there were months where this student received very limited extra support. Since he is not academically at the level of other children in the class, allowing him to benefit equally from instruction is a challenge. To address this, my CT worked often with him individually in order to make sure that he understood the concepts being taught and was able to at least understand the basis of each lesson. At times when lessons were at a level he could not yet understand, he could complete separate activities within his own scope of understanding that allowed him to continue to learn and improve. For other students that struggle in the class, after every lesson students are allowed to either go to their seat if they feel they can complete the work on their own or stay at the carpet if they feel they need some help. My CT will stay at the carpet with them and help students individually, or further explain the topic at hand if necessary. From observing in this classroom, I have learned a lot about incorporating differentiation into lessons, no matter what the needs of a student.
      Addressing behavioral needs can be just as crucial to allowing a student to achieve to their full potential in the classroom. At CIS, I have been able see how the school counselor is able to help students so that they can be ready to learn when they come to the classroom. She described how she talks to the students, asks them to draw pictures, and generally creates a space that they feel comfortable sharing in without worrying about others or their parents hearing about it. I have also seen that students don’t feel any negative aspect of being asked to leave class to talk to her. For example, one student who tends to get upset in the classroom whenever an adult talks to him about his behavior was asked to come speak to the school counselor. He did not view this as negative at all, and when another student asked if he was in trouble he said “No im just going to talk, lots of students go to talk to her.” Having someone that can address student’s behavioral needs in this manner and can hopefully help them to feel comfortable in the classroom allows these students to have learning opportunities equal to those of other students.
      As CIS is an international school, it has many students that did not learn English as a first language. The students that have very limited English are supported in an EAL class where they participate in lessons and play games that assist them in learning English and about Denmark as a whole. In the classroom of my prac, while two students are in an EAL class one student knows far less English than the other. To assist this student my CT will often discuss what the lesson at hand with him one on one to make sure that he understands what is going on, and for writing workshop suggest various things he could write about.

      Spending time at CIS has showed me many ways that teachers make sure every student’s needs are met so that they can have a classroom experience equal to that of other students. I plan to carry this new knowledge into my pracs at BC, and I hope that I can meet the needs of my students as well as I have seen my CT do in the future!

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