Positive feedback

Today during first period I had my first instance of positive feedback while working with students in a classroom.

Class began with a warm up.  While the students worked on the problems, I walked around the class to see how they were progressing.  Often, students do not take part in the warm up.  When I see that they are not, I ask them why.  One student responded by telling me, “I don’t get the first problem.”  I asked him if he had thought about trying the second one, and he said, “I don’t get that one, either.”  I asked him if he wanted me to help him with one of the problems, and he said yes.  As we worked through the second problem, he paused: “I wish you were my teacher.  When you explain things I understand them.”  I was surprised by this comment.  This student wasn’t normally very engaged in class, and I hadn’t realized he was interested in learning.  His comment made me think that his lack of engagement was due to his being lost.  I thought for a minute, and then told him that if he hadn’t told me he was having trouble, I wouldn’t have known.  I then suggested that next week, when I was gone and the “regular” co-teacher returned, he try asking more questions.  He didn’t seem to like this response very much, but as I watched him over the next couple of days, I noticed that he was trying to take my advice and ask more questions of the teacher.  I don’t know if her second explanations were helping, but it was gratifying to see a student making a greater effort to take control of his learning.

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