Culturally Resposive Teaching

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In this essay I will use the given scenario to analyse and critique the teaching practice it outlines, drawing on the learning theories and themes outlined in the Professional Practice paper to explain and validate my ideas and thinking. I will consider the approaches in the scenario and offer alternatives, justifying my opinions with reference to theory, literature and my own emerging philosophy. Throughout my essay I will give consideration to the use of culturally responsive and inclusive pedagogy, demonstrating an understanding of the role Treaty of Waitangi within this practice. Throughout the scenario the theory of behaviourism is reflected in the teachers practice. Behaviourism sees learning as the establishing of connections between two events, and theorists view environmental factors as influential to behaviour. This sort of associative learning is called classical conditioning (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2009). This theory is reflected in the teacher’s classroom management practice when the students all move outside to begin their day with a jump-jam session immediately after the bell rings, with no verbal instruction given by the teacher. It is also evident when they move back into class and sit and wait for the teacher, again with no verbal instruction issued. Another example of behaviourism theory is shown when the teacher uses reinforcement and punishment, known, as operant conditioning when she comments on Mark and Cathy’s jump jam prowess as a form of motivation. Behaviourism theory is also evident when the teacher is issuing instructions and displaying the timetable on the whiteboard as the directions are teacher lead. Within the realms of classroom management the strengths of behaviourism are obvious; the children know the sequence of events and can move from one activity to the next with little disruption and classroom management is, as described by Wong, Wong, Rogers & Brooks (2012), ‘a set of procedures that structure the classroom so the students know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it…’ (p. 61). This could, I believe be disconcerting for new or diverse students and to act in a more culturally responsive manner I would advocate a pictorial display to aid understanding (Davis, 2012). I feel whilst using the reward/punishment technique during the jump jam may have motivated Cathy, who received positive reinforcement, the negative comments issued by the teacher certainly demotivated Mark. This criticism clearly affect Mark’s self-efficacy and as a result his motivation was lessened (Le Francois, 2000). I would have been inclined to direct my motivational techniques towards the class as a whole and perhaps let Mark and Cathy motivate the class by allowing them to take joint responsibility for the running of the ‘Jump Jam’ programme for that day (Hill & Hawke, 2000), using the constructivism theory, this, I believe would have been more motivating as the learner is actually involved in the learning process. I also believe the teacher missed an opportunity to incorporate the Māori learning theory of Ako, reciprocal learning. Instead of leading the ‘Jump Jam’ herself she could have facilitated this by allowing Cathy and Mark to lead the session (Bishop, 2008).

The humanist approach to learning is also evident in many areas of the teachers practice presented in the scenario. The Humanist approach to learning focuses on the child’s whole self, looking after the social and emotional needs of the learner as well as their cognitive abilities. For example children’s basic needs of safety, shelter, food, love and respect must be met before their academic needs can be addressed (Krause, et al, 2012). During the scenario the teacher is chatting to the students before school, in doing this she is showing she is interested in them as people thus creating a supportive relationship between herself and her learners. This relationship, the humanist theory suggests, will motivate her students...
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