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What Our Students Tell Us

August 11, 2012

I just read (via Mrs. L) a very interesting post (especially for a first-ever post!) by Angie that made me stop and think.

I asked one particular teacher what she had learned about her students and about what they knew/didn’t know from observing their involvement in the activity. She wasn’t sure what I meant and so I explained to her what I was thinking and observing during the lesson (who was on or off task, who got the “point” of the activity and who needed me to ask a leading question or two, who wanted me to tell them the answer, who didn’t do anything at all, who seemed to have a misconception that needed addressing ….) She said to me, “ I was just trying to implement the activity correctly; I didn’t know I should be watching for those things!”

I also often find myself getting so involved in my day-to-day activities that I don’t take advantage of stepping back and observing my students and how they respond.

As I thought about the list of questions Angie asks herself, I realized that I generally do know a lot of those things about a lot of my students. If you were to ask me who was likely to be off-task I, or almost any other teacher, could give you a fairly accurate list. What I’m realizing though is that it is all instinctual, not intentional, and it is somewhat superficial.

I’m definitely going to be doing some thinking about this in the next couple of weeks. One thing that comes to mind is that I don’t just want to depend on my memory for these things, so I need to put together some sort of framework and data entry system.

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