Model_Critical_Reflection_Paper - Critical Reflection Paper...

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Critical Reflection Paper Critical Incident: Last March I had the opportunity to observe history classes at Mountain View High School as part of my application process for the teaching credential program at San Jose State. The first class I visited was Ms. Johnson’s classroom—a fifth period, eleventh grade U.S. history class. 1 The subject matter on this particular class day was the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. during the 1950s and 1960s. After noticing the surprising barrage of wall posters and displayed student work, I sat down in the back of the room and quietly observed Ms. Johnson’s lesson. She started with a group activity where students were given a quote by Henry David Thoreau about civil disobedience and then asked to discuss the quote in groups. Ms. Johnson walked around the room and talked to each group in turn. I noticed that when she focused on one group of students, the other students stopped working on the quote and started talking about other, non-class related things. After about fifteen minutes, Ms. Johnson moved on to a new activity where she provided background information about the quote and the writer. She asked the students questions, such as “David, what is Thoreau saying in the third line?” David and the other students seemed confused and bewildered. Ms. Johnson moved on to a new activity where she showed images from the Civil Rights movement. The class ended with a game to help the students review for the upcoming unit test. The students remained restless and they began shuffling their papers and bags well before the bell sounded. Ms. Johnson appeared frazzled and dismayed. Thoughts: 1 The teacher’s name and subsequent student names have been changed to maintain anonymity. 1
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As I left this classroom, I thought to myself, “What terrible teaching!” From the moment I entered the room, I could not stop looking at the walls, which were covered in posters and what I perceived as low-quality student work; this was at odds with my experience of how a classroom should look. “A room has to be beautiful or learning cannot occur,” I found myself thinking. I remember feeling that the students could not focus very well in that classroom and probably continued to produce sub-par work because of the models displayed. As I observed the lesson, I wondered why Ms. Johnson moved from activity to
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Model_Critical_Reflection_Paper - Critical Reflection Paper...

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