I walked into my last classroom of the day, which is an ELL class. I sat down with my three students and started working on letter cards. All three were participating in the activity. I had them take out their decoder books and pick a story to read. As student one was reading her story I noticed that student three was getting fidgety. I took my eyes off of them for one minute to find another story for us to read and when I looked up I noticed student three was missing. I looked around and student one said to me, “Look under the table.” As I did I saw that student three was underneath it. I asked him a variety of questions and all I received was silence.
I didn't know what to do. Pressed for time I decided to ignore what was happening. I continued my work with the other two students and eventually he came out from underneath the table. Unfortunately, he didn't sit in his chair but instead walked away. I had no idea that the teacher was watching this occurrence until I heard her scold the student for his actions. After my time was up she pulled me aside and told me that if student three was not going to behave he would be taken out of the group. I left the school feeling deflated.
This occurrence bothered me all day so I turned I Won’t Learn From You by Herbert Kohl with many questions, hoping to find answers. Was my student deciding not to learn? Was he shy? Was it a lack of confidence? Was he avoiding challenges?
As I read about Barry, I couldn’t help but wondering if Student Three was mimicking this behavior. The problem is I only have 30-minutes in each classroom. I am finding this a struggle because I have no idea what each student is like for the other minutes of the school day. As much as it may bother me that Student Three is hiding under a table or walking away from me, a quote from Kohl on his experience with Barry has put this all into perspective:
“It helped me understand the essential role will and free choice play in learning and taught me the importance of considering people’s stance towards learning in the larger context of the choices they make as they create lives and identities for themselves.”
Maybe in time I will be able to reach Student Three just like Kohl did with Barry. After all, to quote Kohl one last time, “Everyone has a right to the tree of life.”
Now I would like to turn my attention to Alfie Kohn’s article “Five Reasons to Stop Saying ‘Good Job!’” Kohn makes some incredible points about how demoting saying “Good Job” is.
I’ve never thought about it in that aspect before. After I really thought about it, this does make a lot of sense. I started thinking about personal experiences in my life and realized that Kohn is 100% correct. I remembered times where I questioned my answers or have sought out approval from adults.
This week’s articles have been great tools to add to my toolbox. Thanks, Dr. Bogad for assigning them!
Question for the Class:
Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do with Student Three? My biggest concern is having him taken out of the group. He is in my tutoring group because he needs assistance. I can't help but question what will happen if he is taken out of my group.