Standard 6: Communication
A teacher must be able to use knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
Understand how cultural and gender differences can affect communication in the classroom.
This artifact is a written version of some of the things I have tried to bridge the cultural and gender gaps I face in my student teaching experience. Learning how to communicate with my male students and my non-white students was one of the first things I was forced to learn this because the majority of my students fall in either one or both of these categories. There are certain things I have tried that have worked and there are things I have tried that were not so successful. This artifact shows a selection of each.
The contents of this artifact show how important it is to me as a teacher to be able to communicate with my students no matter the gender or race. If I am able to communicate effectively with all of my students, each one of them will fell comfortable asking me questions when they have them. I find that effective communication in the classroom also leads to student interest. If the students are able to understand what I say to them as well as see that I care enough about them as people to understand our differences, they will put more effort into my class. This is shown in the artifact where I talk about the things I changed in my communication which were successful.
In a school where white students are not the majority, it is important that a white teacher learn how to bridge cultural gaps. As a woman teacher, it is also important to bridge the gender gap as well. The first way to begin bridging that gap is to understand the contents of that gap. When it comes to the cultural gap, there is an issue of acceptance and understanding. I know it is difficult for me to understand the lives of some of my students because I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color, religion, or economic status. My students don't necessarily know that but, by knowing I have graduated from college, they may think I was privileged enough to attend college. When it comes to the gender gap, the males in my classes need to know that I can talk about more than purses, shoes, and make-up. They need to know that I care about things they enjoy as well. All of this relates to the indicator because it states that teachers need to understand these differences. Teachers also need to be able to overcome those differences in order to communicate effectively with all students.
Being a teacher who desires to teach in an urban setting, this indicator is one of the most important to me. I always have thought that effective communication is crucial in the classroom. It is especially crucial when there are differences that may hinder said communication. I understand that I will be teaching students who are very different than I am and I need to be able to learn about them in order to communicate with them effectively. I need to continue learning about the changing world of the teenager and keep up with the current trends. All of these things will help me be an effective communicator to all of my students rather than those to whom I am similar.
This artifact is a story and description of how I came to notice a certain authoritative tone I would take on when I had to use classroom management skills to stop inappropriate behavior in the classroom. I tell the story about gaining respect from students by joking around with them even though I am asking them to stop something. I learned to step away from the authoritative position in the classroom and become a teacher who the kids respect yet understand that my job is to keep an orderly classroom.
The reason I chose to include this artifact is because it shows what a huge difference one little change in tone and phrasing can affect the attitude and respect the students have toward me, as a teacher, in the classroom. It begins with mistakes I was making when it came to classroom management and shows my learning and development throughout the couple weeks. I don't think I will ever be perfect at sensitive communication because every student reacts differently to different tones and phrasing. However, I think I can begin learning they type of tone and phrasing in which most students respond to best.
I feel this artifact represents the attention to detail all teachers must have in their classroom. When that detail concerns speech in the classroom, it is important to think about the type of tone and phrasing in which the students will respond. I know, from my experience in high school, me teachers would take an authoritative tone with us and we would all listen. This was because we would all respond to this kind of tone. In my classrooms now, I have found that the authoritative tone makes students want to act up even more in spite of how I spoke to them. Some of my students would react to this authoritative tone but, after changing my tone and approach to phrasing, I found more students responded to this new tone. This supports the indicator because it focuses on all the students rather than just a couple students or the majority of students.
I believe that classroom management is an important aspect in any classroom but respect is a littler more important. If students respect a teacher and understand that the teacher's job is to teach them, there will be fewer times in which inappropriate behavior will be an issue. I feel that dissipating an issue before it happens in the classroom will provide for a more orderly classroom in which maximum learning can be achieved.