In a classroom, the teacher is the leader. As such, they must take into account which teaching methods would be best to develop their students learning abilities. During my observations at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, I was able to witness a wide array of teaching strategies. For this paper, I will choose specific methods, and discuss how certain teachers used them effectively within the classroom. First, I will discuss how the modeling process was used to enhance student’s abilities to learn. Modeling is a process of teaching through demonstration. Second, I will discuss how mapping, a learning strategy that helps students understand relationships between ideas, was effectively applied in the classroom. I will then discuss how reinforcement, the use of stimulus’s to increase frequency of a specific behavior, was used as a motivational factor. Lastly, I will discuss how gender and culture were or were not addressed in select classrooms. What I intend to show is how each of these strategies can be used to help create a positive classroom environment that promotes learning as a tool and goal.
Modeling can be used very effectively if all four parts are consciously applied. The first part, attention, involves a teacher keeping his student’s focus, allowing them to absorb more information. The next component, retention, requires that a teacher utilize methods such as visual or verbal aids to help their students remember a lesson. The third part of modeling is reproduction, which occurs when a student practices what they’ve been taught. Practice allows for a better chance of translating information to long-term memory. The last step in the process of modeling is motivation, which is a teacher’s ability to give their students desire to work harder. All four of these steps, when used effectively, significantly increase student’s abilities to learn and retain information.
In each classroom I observed, some components of modeling were applied. However, in three classrooms I was able to see all four steps of the process effectively applied. One example is Mr. John Ferrara’s Public speaking class, which consisted of multiple grades. In his lessons on creating “How To” posters, he kept attention through verbal directions and jokes. He drew diagrams and made his own poster to help retention. Reproduction was automatically included because the “How to” posters were the homework assignments. As for motivation, he offered plenty of reinforcement and positively critiqued each of his students in helping them learn what didn’t work and what to continue doing. (Observe class notes 1, 2, 3)
Similarly, Ms. Katy Devine, for her twelfth grade advanced English class used modeling in lessons on poetry. She called on multiple students in the class to read the poems to keep attention. To help students retain and reproduce the lesson, she encouraged them to write their own poetry, assigning homework that kept them working with the central ideas of the lesson. She continually motivated her students by praising them for answering, whether correctly or not, and by telling them where this knowledge would get them in the future. Ms. Devine, like Mr. Ferrara, utilized each step of the modeling process effectively in her classroom. (Observe class notes 4, 5)
The last classroom in which I observed modeling successfully practiced was in Mr. Laurence Mechanic’s tenth grade English class. In teaching a lesson on essays, he kept attention by consistently calling on various students. He drew diagrams on the board to help explain the “sandwich” form to an essay. He assigned homework which involved writing a thesis statement. These procedures promoted retention and reproduction. As for motivation, he told his students how rapidly they were improving, encouraging them that they would master the Regents Exams if they kept up their hard work. (Observe class note 6) I will now discuss how I...