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Case Study Response #2 Reflection

Just a recap on what we did in class today for others, we continued to work on the case study that I had completed a previous response for.  We got into groups and tried to determine the best way to merge the two classes and teach them effectively.

Coming up with a project plan merger definitely wasn’t an easy task.  I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, but I was hoping for a solution that could work for all students.  A few things that we considered when merging these two classrooms were the decorations around the classroom, seating arrangement and where students will sit, how we will get the class to be more comfortable around one another, the type of material we should begin with, how we should present it (teaching methods), and also how we could accommodate for every student (including the student who has a child).  However, of all the things discussed, I feel that the teaching methods and adapting the classroom to fit everyone’s needs was the most difficult question to answer.

Trying to organize and teach a class so that it fits the needs of all students cannot be done in one way.  It is nearly impossible to be able to meet the needs of all our students when teaching a lesson, especially if you have a diverse and new group of students.  Even if you do make individual adaptations, you cannot meet every single students needs, especially if you don’t know your students or they won’t open up to you.  So when determining which teaching method to use that will accommodate as many students needs as possible, which should you choose?  You also can’t use the same teaching methods over and over again because then students will get bored of it or for those students that it doesn’t meet, it will just cause them to either fall back or work that much harder to keep up (which if its students with low retention rates, this wouldn’t be very encouraging for them!).  Also, which students do you choose to meet their needs?  You would think the bottom two thirds of the class since the students doing above average should be smart already and should be capable enough to be able to adapt and change to the different ways of teaching, right?  But would that really be fair to them?  Would this cause them to lose interest in school or fall behind?  Also, what if the bottom 2/3 of the students is really where all the diversity of learning needs is?  Then how would you adapt to that?

For me, I really think that you just have try and see what works for the majority of your students and if that doesn’t work for the few students that you couldn’t make adaptations to fit as a class, then you will have to try to make individual adaptations as best as you can.  You also can’t just use one teaching method because it could get boring and/or wear the students out.  Using a variety of teaching methods and trying to find ways to make them in charge of their learning I believe will be key to keeping them engaged and involved.  Also, knowing and understanding your students is going to play a key role in this situation and could greatly increase your chances of understanding how to maximize the learning for all your students in your class.  The second teacher (at least in this situation) I believe will also play a key role and it will be important to work with him/her.

ECS 350 Case Study #1

Case Study: Buffalo Ridge First Nations High School Fire

1. and 2. First emotional response to the case and questions that I have

I experienced a few emotional responses while reading this case study.  I was sad and angry when reading the letter which stated that before the fire had occurred, the school had been applying for renovations to the school for eight years and was continually denied.  Obviously the school was serious about needing repairs if it was trying to get funding for eight years.  This tragedy could have been avoided if the government had given the school some money to fix up the place.  And not only could this have saved the school, but what about the students?  What kind of message is this sending them?  How are they suppose to feel safe and want to learn when the environment that they are in is unsafe and the government is basically telling them that they don’t deserve to have a proper education in a suitable facility?  One thing that has been continually repeated throughout my studies in the education program is that students need to be in a safe and comfortable environment, know that they are cared for, and not have major issues going on in their lives in order for them to maximize their learning.  So really, how are students expected to learn? Could the fact that the building had been unsafe be a reason that retention rates were lowering?

A few last questions, a bit less emotional now, are: Besides applying for funding from the government, did the BRFNHS try other options of getting money, such as fundraising and sponsors?  Were health and safety inspections not completed annually at the school, or could this have been foreseen by an inspection? And lastly, do schools actually have annual inspections?

3. Statement of need: “As the teaching in this situation, I need to know… I want to know…”

As the teaching in this situation, I need to know how to deal with this situation in general.  This is obviously a rare situation and something that I have never dealt with before so I would like information on how I should deal with the situation and how I can help the BRFNHS students transition into my classroom so that they feel safe and comfortable with my students and vice versa.

I want to know where the students from BRFNHS are at in terms of their learning and understandings, as well as information about their culture and community so that I can have a better understanding of these new students and try to incorporate this into my lessons to help engage and teach them.

4. Two allies for support

My first ally would be one of the teachers from BRFNHS that will be transferring to the school that I was teaching at (PVHS).  These teachers are going through the same situation that the students are in and they can probably best tell me how to help the students deal with this, the best way to teach them and get them involved in the classroom, and tell me where the students are at in terms of their learning.

My second ally would probably be the school’s guidance counselor.  The guidance counselor can talk to the students about the tragedy of losing their school, help them deal with changing schools, and also help them sort through some of their feelings and emotions that they are experiencing that could be affecting them.  The guidance counselor could also help me because they would probably know more than me of what to do and how to help students, both individually and as a whole class.  Finally, the guidance counselor could also help with the current students at the school.  Having that many students transfer in all at once could make the students nervous or scared and having someone to talk to for support could be good for them.