I've lost all confidence . . .

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Cali1997, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Hi all. I’m newly signed up for this forum, but I’ve been a reader for a long time. I have a problem, and I thought this might be a good place to get some advice. Just for some background, I will begin my eleventh year as a teacher this fall. I teach 9th grade history in an upper middle class suburb, in a school with strong parent involvement and, for the most part, highly motivated kids. Apart from a few outliers, my students are well-behaved and most of them tend to stay on top of their assignments, turn in their homework, etc. I really couldn’t ask for a better working environment or a better community to live and work in, and I know I am lucky not to have to deal with a lot of the challenges that so many other teachers face.

    So, what’s the problem? Well, this . . . *sigh* A couple of years ago one of my friends who teaches in another district started using Power Teaching/Whole Brain Teaching and raved so much about the success she was having that I started looking into using it with my students. She was having some behavior issues with her kids and it apparently worked wonders for her. I don’t have a lot of discipline issues, but I was intrigued by the interaction this program affords because so much of the time, my students, especially my higher level ones, seem so . . . passive. Not really disengaged, just . . . not as excited or enthusiastic as I’d like to see them. So, I read everything I could about Whole Brain Teaching, spent all last summer planning lessons to incorporate WBT, started off the year on the very first day explaining why I felt this was important, and, well, it was one big fail. I could tell from the beginning that they didn’t really buy in, but I thought with time they’d really be open to it because they were going to see how much fun it was. Nope. My kids HATED it. Out of four classes, the only class it was even moderately successful in (and that’s a bit of an overstatement) was my lowest level class, which was a combination of average and slightly low-average students. In my other three classes, all high average and above average/gifted students, it just didn’t seem to work at all. It was obvious the kids did not like it – participation ranged from polite half-heartedness to complete refusal on any given day. This is the first time in all my time teaching that I had students actually outright question or challenge me about my teaching methods. The exciting and interactive learning environment I was trying to create did not materialize AT ALL. I had a half dozen kids request a transfer out of my class and into another teacher’s class because they hated it so much (kudos to my principal for saying no). As far as I know, I was the only teacher in my school who was using WBT, so I didn’t have anyone to use as a sounding board; to be honest, most of my colleagues just told me to stop, but I was determined to make it work. I trudged on all year and tried SO hard and just kept hoping it would eventually take hold. It didn’t. I almost burst into tears the last month of school when I said “Class – Class” and one of my brightest students responded with “Stop – Stop.” Seriously, I feel as if I created more discipline issues for myself than I ever had before.

    At the end of the year, we are required to have our students complete evaluations, much like college students do. These are not in any way reflected on our formal evaluations for obvious reasons – in fact, we don’t even show them to our administrators. It’s just a way for us to get feedback from our students. I have always gotten great evaluations on the class from my kids until this year. This year, my student evaluations were brutal, and I was devastated. Most of the questions are standard, but we can add questions, so I asked for feedback about the WBT experience. I knew the comments probably wouldn’t be wonderful, but I wasn’t prepared to be positively crushed. I have spent the past month of my summer vacation agonizing over the things the kids wrote. For example: “For something that is supposed to be about using your “whole brain”, I felt like I lost IQ points every time I had to make a hand gesture or respond with yes-yes.” “Please don’t do this next year.” “It made me uncomfortable.” “I thought this was a joke until I realized it wasn’t.” “Ugh.” “There’s way too much group work. I don’t learn like that. I prefer to work on my own.” “I seriously can’t describe how much I hated when we did this.” “My anxiety level went through the roof every time I walked through the door because I knew what was probably coming.” “I don’t like it when people try to make me act silly. That’s not me.” “High school or preschool? It was kind of hard to tell sometimes.” “The hand gestures and responses were terrible. I felt stupid doing them.” “F-minus.” “I don’t think this is challenging enough.” “This is something my 5-year-old brother would have enjoyed, but not me.” And probably the most hurtful one – “Mrs. B, I think you are a cool person, but to be honest, I’m upset that you thought we weren’t worth better than this.” The best comment, literally, was a mere, “It was okay.” Well, that and all the blank spaces where the kids didn’t even bother to respond. Honestly, it feels as if they got together and just decided to completely trash me and everything I tried to do when they wrote their evaluations, but I can’t imagine that’s so. I probably should have just tossed the evaluations, but I can’t stop reading them and thinking about them. This has completely destroyed my confidence in my ability to do my job. It's like I've been punched in the gut every time I think about it.

    Course schedules for the upcoming year were mailed out to students late last month, and I live in fear that I’m going to get a call from the principal asking why parents are calling requesting that their kids not be placed in my class. That hasn’t happened, but I’m afraid it might, or maybe it has and she just hasn’t said anything. She knew what I was doing and let me run with it, but I got the feeling she wasn’t incredibly impressed, especially after all of the student (and a few parent) complaints. I guess I just want to know, what did I do wrong? It’s not as if I went into this without a clue – I researched this ALL last summer and spent so much time reading and planning and watching videos of teachers using this program and talking with my friend and her colleagues who seem to have been successful with WBT. Why were my students so adverse? The only thing I can think of is maybe it’s a personality issue. I’m outgoing and extraverted and like to be just a little silly at times, and my kids – especially the ones in my most advanced class that was full of very gifted, extremely intelligent students (and the class most adverse to WBT, the one the produced the most horrendous of the comments) – seemed to be quieter, more introverted, really deep thinkers. I honestly think that particular class would have been happy to just listen to me lecture and take notes, but I wanted more for them.

    I’m sorry this is so long, and if I breached etiquette by not posting in the WBT forum, I apologize. I thought maybe it would get more responses here, and it’s not just an issue or question about WBT. I have completely lost all confidence. How do I get my confidence back, and am I a glutton for punishment if I try to make a go of this next year? Should I even try this next year, and if so, what do I do differently to produce a better outcome? I’ve read through all of the threads on the WBT forum here (multiple times), read everything I can find about WBT online, and I see so many teachers having success doing the same things I tried, or at least not struggling like I did, and don’t know what happened to my classes. Where did I go wrong, and how do I motivate myself for the new year after being slapped in the face like this?
     
  2.  
  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,245
    Likes Received:
    450

    Jul 9, 2015

    Honestly, this program was not designed for gifted and honors students. I don't use it in my classes because I know I would have hated it as a student, and I felt cheesy and fake doing it. Honestly, I'd abandon it. Also, I would go in and completely switch around my classroom to rid it of all the WBT negative vibes your kids may be picking up on. Not everything works for every school or every teacher. It sounds like this didn't work for you. This year, do something that's more "you." For interaction, use Socratic seminars and other things that may be more appropriate for your students.
     
  4. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 9, 2015

    When I first learned about WBT, I instantly fell in love. I watched all of the videos and was amazed by how organized the teacher's were and how great the system worked! But then again, I've never had my own classroom. After looking more into it and asking other teachers, I decided it was a) too much work for me as a first year teacher, b) a bit silly, and c) probably not the best for a first year teacher. So I decided against it. But I still really thought class-class and teach-okay would be great in the classroom. After trying it with a 6th grade group that I long-term subbed for, I instantly realized they saw it as a joke, so I stopped immediately. I think teach-okay would be good...But that's probably all. I do enjoy the rules though. I think hand gestures are a good way for kids to learn, but constant hand gestures would get old fast...I also felt a bit cheesy as well.

    Sorry about your experience :( Like they say, if it's not broken, don't fix it. I think you tried to fix something that wasn't broken. We all do things differently and WBT just isn't for some teachers. I would get back to your old self and not completely redo everything, but get rid of all aspects of WBT.

    Good luck!!!
     
  5. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Thanks for your response, and deep down, I think you are right. I guess what kills me is that I spent SO much time and effort last summer working on this, and trying to make it really fun and interactive, and it was a total disaster. I wanted something to bring about more student involvement, but you are right, it absolutely did not work with my gifted/above-average students. Out of my four class preps last year, three were made up of exceptional students (they weren't honors classes per se, but they might as well have been), and the fourth was comprised of students of average ability. That fourth class was the ONLY one that didn't make me feel as if I wanted to completely pull my hair out, and it wasn't a raging success by any stretch of the imagination. I think I would have enjoyed this in school, but I was always outgoing and talkative and loved working with other students and being active. To be honest, most of the kids I had last year were not at all like that. In fact, they seemed almost offended by the WBT activities. I guess abandoning it is the best option, because I will be assigned the same level of students this year (essentially, college-prep), and I don't want another year like this last one. My fear is that I've already ruined my reputation.
     
  6. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Thanks . . . and you're right about the kids seeing it as a joke. I think they probably did. And then they became politely hostile (does that make sense?) about anything to do with it. Again, I'm just afraid I really messed myself up as far as my students taking me seriously now.
     
  7. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    I too would recommend to going back to what was working before. I don't know a whole lot about whole brain teaching, but from what I do know it does seem better suited to young kids than high school (or even upper elementary). I too would have thought this very silly and frustrating if a teacher tried this with me. Please, please, please try not to feel discouraged! As others have mentioned it is normal for some things to work for some classes and teachers and not for others. Something that works for you probably wouldn't with another teacher and vice versa. :hugs:
     
  8. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Cali1977, I could have written your post. I detest "Class, class", "Talk into your elbow", "Give me an oh yeah", and other such nonsense. My principal thinks that WBT is the be all, end all of classroom management/instructional techniques and I cringe when he does this during assemblies and especially with teachers during staff meetings. We're supposed to use the techniques in class...I feel like a total idiot and it is one of the main reasons that I'm looking to transfer sites as soon as I can.

    I actually asked once if these were meant to be temporary techniques to help students focus and then should be weaned away from them. I said something about will our kids be sitting in a college class and not paying attention unless the professor claps for their attention and expects an echo back? My question was not warmly received.

    You tried something that isn't you. Try something different. All of us who have been in the classroom for awhile have had failures with lessons, classroom management plans, groupings...the list goes on and on and on. I agree with MissCeliaB...change things around and create a new feeling for both you and your students.

    If you aren't being required to implement this program, stop. Look at it the same way you would do your post-evaluation of a lesson. I have things in my plan book that I thought were going to be wonderful, but were disasters. My favorite notation from years ago was "Don't try this again without 6 other adults in the classroom and a full bottle of Excedrin." You've had one of those events and as painful as it is, you learned a great deal about your students. They thought it was silly, you saw it didn't work, it's time to move on.
     
  9. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 9, 2015

    Yeah... no way. I'd never consider this, especially the hand gestures. I'd feel dumb implementing it and I'd feel even dumber doing it as a student. You know how I would have dealt with being a student in your class? By not participating at all, just to avoid all of that.

    Sorry if that was harsh, but it's the truth. I cannot imagine high-level students taking kindly to this. And I completely agree with the student who made the comment about his 5-year-old brother enjoying it.

    I'm left wondering why you didn't abandon this when you started to notice the adverse effect it was having. Sept - June is a long time to bail a sinking ship especially when you could have abandoned ship and got your old one back. :2cents:
     
  10. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    The thing is, I really LIKE the idea of WBT. It appeals to me on a personal level, and I guess I just assumed my kids would like it, too. They didn't. I really should have abandoned it within a few weeks of seeing that it wasn't working, but I honestly thought after reading all of the research that it would eventually take hold and be a spark to make my classes more engaging. It's been my experience that a lot of my best students seem to be very passive and introverted, at least a lot more so than I am, and I guess I just wanted to try to find a way to bring them out of their shells a little. I thought this would be a good way to do that, but I wasn't prepared for the level of resistance I received. And I suppose I'm too stubborn for my own good . . . I spent so much time and effort planning this and trying to perfect it, and thinking that it would make my classes even better, that it hurt to think of just abandoning it.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,862
    Likes Received:
    734

    Jul 9, 2015

    Not to be harsh, but this was my thought too. I understand it's frustrating to put a lot of work into something and then not have it work out, but that's not a reason to continue doing something that you knew wasn't working all year. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but I can't believe you would even consider doing this for another year given your results last year! It sounds like what you were doing before that was successful, so go back to those techniques. Some teachers at my school use some of the WBT techniques, but they are 1st and 2nd grade teachers. I can't imagine doing them with HS students, especially those that are more advanced. As a kid I was a well behaved, good student. However, even I would probably have issues with complying with this program if one of my HS teachers would have tried it.
     
  12. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    733

    Jul 9, 2015

    I considered using WBT back when I taught middle school and had major classroom management issues. I just couldn't get myself to do the "silly" stuff -- it just wasn't me. I think you absolutely have to know yourself and your own style. I also think it's good that you gave something new a try. You tried it, it didn't work, and now you can move on and go back to what you were doing that worked! I think once students see the "old you" (the real you) is back, they will easily forgive and forget the "experimental" year.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,232
    Likes Received:
    1,174

    Jul 9, 2015

    I'm going to be very frank.

    A few summers ago, I spent an entire day watching WBT videos and had planned to implement it in my classroom in August.

    By the time evening came, my BF said, "Okay--I can't stay quiet any longer. Why are you watching these videos? That style is soooooo not you!"

    I thought about what he said, took it to heart, and said something along the lines of, "You know...why am I going to try to change who I am as a teacher when this is obviously not me."

    I'm sure WBT can work for certain teachers and particular groups of kiddos. If it most definitely not for me, though.
     
  14. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,491
    Likes Received:
    1,399

    Jul 9, 2015

    Have to tell you the truth, I think the whole WBT thing is pretty silly and juvenile. It's a shame you didn't realize this early on in the year and dump it. Hindsight is 20/20.

    The good thing is...is sounds like you are a wonderful teacher and you shouldn't have any trouble getting back on track this next year.

    Just look at it as a tiny blip in an otherwise stellar career.
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,642
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jul 9, 2015

    It is also always okay to only use one or two things from a program that DOES work for you and your students. You don't have to do everything from a program.
     
  16. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Thanks everyone. This is what I need to hear. WBT is not used at my school (well, outside of my failed attempts). We have never even had any professional development regarding WBT or anything akin to it. However, I've seen a lot of posts on social media over the past few years from teachers in other areas who seem to be using it successfully, and I have a close friend who teaches in a different district who positively swears by it. She's the one who really encouraged me to implement it after I had expressed on several occasions that I really wished I could get my less outspoken, more introspective students to be a little more enthusiastic and expressive in class. It didn't work, and I won't be doing it next year. However, that does lead me to ask, what else could I do -- that is effective and worthwhile -- to get my more introverted students (and I seem to have a lot of them) to be more active and outspoken in class?
     
  17. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,226
    Likes Received:
    422

    Jul 9, 2015

    I was one of those introverted students who never spoke in class (and I mean never! I never ever raised my hand or even talked unless the teacher called on me)
    The classes where I was little more active in were the ones that my close friends were in. Having them there made me more confident. I also liked the teachers that were soft-spoken as well. If they were outgoing/loud, it made me even more quiet and not want to participate.
    In college, a couple of my profs required us to join in discussions. It was part of our grade. I hated it, but it did make me more active in my class.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,000

    Jul 9, 2015

    You tried something out (kudos!), and it didn't work. So what? That's the challenge of teaching. Sometimes things don't work and we change as necessary.

    Honestly, I am not a fan of WBT. I think it infantilizes the kids, and I would have HATED it growing up. But I don't know every aspect of it. Maybe with some adjustments you could get it to work, but maybe after reflection you might just realize that it's not the thing for your or your classroom. Don't let it get you down. Instead, focus on the fact that you are a reflective teacher, willing to try new strategies to get your kids more engaged.

    This makes you a FANTASTIC teacher. Good luck!
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,000

    Jul 9, 2015

    This. I've noticed that getting my quiet students in a group with their friends does way more for getting them engaged than anything else. They feel like a million times more comfortable engaging in group discussions, etc.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,000

    Jul 9, 2015

    I honestly wouldn't worry about your reputation.

    I've had all different kinds of reputations throughout the past few years. My first year teaching I got the reputation of being an easy teacher.

    My second year, I was a hard teacher, but you could get away with stuff in my class. (according to what a younger kid told me his brother said)

    This last year, I'm pretty sure I got a reputation as a teacher who is challenging, and you can't get away with anything in my classroom. (according to surveys)

    In every case, in my experience, they start the year terrified of you until the honeymoon period is over, and you can reset whatever reputation you want those first few weeks.
     
  21. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,226
    Likes Received:
    422

    Jul 9, 2015

    Also want to add, I know that as a teacher, you try to keep the friends separated (I even did this with my pre-kindergartners!), for fear of goofing off, not getting work done, etc.
    But I'd definitely make an exception for the quiet students. They'll be more actively involved & do some really great work when they're with their friends :)
     
  22. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,513
    Likes Received:
    14

    Jul 9, 2015

    You lived, you learned.
    There is value in that, right?

    It flopped. Maybe at some point, your students will remember the experience and see you as persevering through a tough situation. There is value in that, too, right? And, it's not like you abandoned all content, so the students still learned content in your class.

    I know I would be heartbroken to read comments like that from my students. I know that has to hurt. But, as long as you find some take-away with the experience, you are moving forward.
     
  23. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    130

    Jul 9, 2015

    Honestly, it sounds like you should have implemented your own survey about Whole Brain Teaching much earlier in the year if you were that stunned by student responses. Maybe that would have prompted you to change your course much sooner.
     
  24. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    This is really good advice, but what do you do when almost the entire class is quiet? I have found this to be the case with a lot (not all, of course) of my very high achievers. I mean, these kids will often have fantastic, insightful discussions, but other times it's like pulling teeth to get them to engage, especially if I want them to step outside of their comfort zones a bit.
     
  25. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    I guess I was hoping for or expecting some constructive criticism about why they didn't like it, not just outright disrespectful comments about me and the program. I knew they weren't thrilled with it, but their end-of-the-year comments really hurt, especially given that I really liked that group of kids, even with the WBT issues.
     
  26. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    My son just finished ninth grade. As a bright, young man with anxiety issues, this WBT would have put him over the edge. He would have been embarrassed and anxious because it might have drawn attention to him if he had to talk to his elbow, etc. My son would have refused to enter your class for fear of having an anxiety attack in front of his peers. My son did much better when teachers left him alone and allowed him to volunteer/participate when he was calm and able to do so.

    My daughter just graduated from high school. She is familiar with WBT because she volunteered in a classroom that used it. I asked her, and she said she would have hated having to do it in high school because she feels it implies you are a young child that needs help focusing in class.
    Also, my daughter suggested you remember the students were upset with WBT, not you as a person. She said you need to not take it personally and move on with life. The best teachers are those that learn and grow each year from all of their experiences.
     
  27. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    I hate to admit it, but I guess I just wasn't thinking about students being anxious about engaging in this way, but it's obvious some of them were (or they just didn't want to be seen as foolish). The thing is, so many teachers swear by WBT and everything I've read about it as far as the research seems impressive. How do these teachers who are having success deal with reluctant students or very high-achieving students who view the concepts as silly?

    And your daughter sounds like a very wise young lady.
     
  28. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 9, 2015

    A quick google search reveals that 99% of the teachers who "swear by" it are in elementary or lower. I haven't seen a single positive review by a high school teacher, let alone a teacher who has honors students.

    I like this review the best:

    "There is a respectable body of literature on brain-based learning, but it has nothing to do with the current testing factory craze, Whole Brain Teaching (WBT). WBT represents the same centuries-old memorization and recitation techniques duct-taped to repeated displays of loud chanting and clapping, with some primitive behavior mod thrown to give this latest chain gang craze the thinnest veneer of science.

    If this were to be whole brain teaching, it would have to be for parrot brains or, perhaps, seal brains. The fact that people are actually buying this non-thinking approach to control their overstuffed classrooms while claiming students are "engaged" says more about the high stakes austerity era we live in than it does about any value of the growing array of vanity press publications that are making chief quack, Chris Biffle, a load of cash."

    :lol:
     
  29. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Well, that says a lot (and nothing very good). However, I will point out that my friend who swears by this program teaches 8th and 9th grade ELA. I've also read a number of testimonials (some on this board) from secondary teachers. I agree that it might produce better results in elementary classrooms. For what it's worth, the majority of my students still achieved and performed well, not only on standardized tests, both on other assessments. I don't necessarily think it had any kind of negative impact on the learning process.
     
  30. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Well, I hate to admit it, but I never thought much about students with anxiety until I realized I had one living in my house. Having children changed how I taught. Having a child with anxiety changed how I taught. Do you see how experience and life help us be better teachers?

    You are obviously a good teacher or you wouldn't be letting this bother you, nor would you be on this forum seeking advice. Let WBT be a tool in your pocket you pull out and use one day when nothing else is working. Perhaps you will never use it again or perhaps you will use parts of it again. Who knows? All you can do is keep trying and learning in your quest to be an awesome teacher.

    P.S. Not all strategies work for all teachers and all students on all days! That's the beauty of this profession.
     
  31. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,226
    Likes Received:
    422

    Jul 9, 2015

    Get them comfortable in the beginning of the year. Maybe on the first day, play some get-to-know-you game where everyone has to participate/speak in some way (go around the room, so they know when their turn is coming. I know all about anxiety!). Maybe they'll make some new friends this way and be more confident in class.
    OR.. if nothing else works (I hated this, but it worked) ... make discussion part of the grade. They have to speak up at least once during class.
     
  32. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 9, 2015

    I have tried WBT but I did not feel comfortable continuing it over time. I wanted to tell you that I feel getting Kagan cooperative learning training has been life changing as a teacher. It teaches you the difference between group work and cooperative learning and gives you many choices to start implementing it. I have been a teacher for a long time. When I first started my career, desks were in rows and class management meant having a quiet class. It is the opposite now. I learned how to set up my room and create groups. I know many of the high achieving students do not want to get bogged down with group members, but collaboration is a skill they need to practice. Put last year's experience behind you and move on. I would also suggest providing a way for students to give you feedback regularly. I do plus/delta charts and Google questionnaire forms. Then we talk about the feedback in general terms. I know your next year will be better!
     
  33. Banana0

    Banana0 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2015
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    I'm so not a WBT type either. I think it looks great for a lot of people and I love seeing the engagement in videos, but I tend to be more mellow and it wouldn't feel natural to me at all. I may implement a few of the concepts, like a procedure for teaching something to your neighbor without all the WBT-lingo and gestures. I think you can pull what would work from you for different teaching/management theories to create your own style. There's a reason there's a new "best" classroom strategy every couple years. There's no system that works for everyone. :)
     
  34. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,789
    Likes Received:
    158

    Jul 9, 2015

    I have heard all the rave about WBT, but when I looked into it it did not seem like something that fits me. I think you gave it an honest try. You didn't feel it was working. Your students clearly didn't feel it was working. I wouldn't put so much effort into trying to make something work that just isn't working for you (maybe it's just not what your students need). Instead, take this as a learning experience. You tried it, you did not see it work so move on to a system that yields more success.
     
  35. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    733

    Jul 9, 2015

    To answer your question about engaging quiet, introverted students: I had a class last year that was mainly high-achieving, quiet types (with a few low-achieving quiet types thrown in for good measure). At the start of the year, it was pulling teeth to get them to engage in discussion. They would have panic attacks about having to present in front of the class. I did a lot of think-pair-shares, partner responses, various kinds of group activities, with tons of different groupings.

    Eventually, by the end of the year, they were more comfortable speaking in front of the group, and we ended the year with a mock trial that got them all going! It was great to see how much they had grown as a group.

    Sensitive, intelligent kids (all kids, really) need more structure and to feel safe before they will put themselves "out there." I think it is partly due to fear of failure or of making mistakes, but also because of how the introverted brain works -- we just need time and space to think!
     
  36. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,862
    Likes Received:
    734

    Jul 9, 2015

    This was my experience also. I was a high achieving introverted student. Like it was previously mentioned, I was much more likely to participate in smaller classes where I had a lot of friends, and if it was a subject I was more interested in. However, those things are really outside of a teacher's control. Although you can't control how many friends a student has in your class, I do agree with the suggestion to have quieter students work with their friends and let them sit together in class. This will help them feel more comfortable in your room, and if they're already quiet it's not like you have to worry about them being disruptive with your lessons. Another strategy is to try having students discuss things in small groups rather than in front of the class. Again, make sure your quieter students are paired up with those they feel comfortable with.

    Ultimately, if the class wasn't a small one with a lot of my friends in it, I only participated if it was part of the grade. You do run the risk of having students anxious about that, but at least you're not requiring them to do silly gestures or callbacks. You could try telling students that they need to participate in the discussion twice per day to earn their full points or something specific. If all else fails, send out a survey (before the end of the year!) asking kids what would get them to participate more. They may have some good ideas! Honestly I wish my HS teachers would have pushed me to participate more. My quiet nature hurt me in college. Some of my professors thought I wasn't cut out to be a teacher because I wasn't more extroverted. Luckily I had a really solid student teaching experience that changed their minds, but even as a "real" teacher now, I have learned that I have to speak up more in situations with adults like meetings. Even though I'm just a quiet person by nature, unfortunately it's often interpreted by others as disinterest or snottiness. It's harder to change as you get older and I wish I would have worked on this more when I was younger!
     
  37. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,226
    Likes Received:
    422

    Jul 9, 2015

    waterfall,
    I am the exact same way! I feel like I wrote that post!
    Even now, I get very anxious in certain situations...
    for example, it took me a LONG TIME before I was able to go through fast food restaurant drive-throughs on my own.... :D no joke!
     
  38. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,245
    Likes Received:
    450

    Jul 9, 2015

    Look into Kagan structures. I don't buy into the whole Kagan system, but some of them work really well. Also, Socratic seminars are the big thing right now in my neck of the woods. I also like to do gallery tours and other group projects just to keep things interesting. You can also have students write down their ideas and share them in written form. When we are watching a film, I have an opinion wall and students have to write their opinion on sticky notes (it has to be more complex than "it sucks" or "it's awesome.") I'll sometimes do a jigsaw where each large group has a task they must complete, and they each go to a small group to get a piece of the large task then bring it back to the larger group. There are so many ways to make sure students are involved and talking with each other. Just avoid the cheese factor. With gifted and honors kids, they need to have ownership of things, and things can't be cheesy. I always focus on skills needed for work/college and how the activities we do are getting them ready for that.
     
  39. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,275
    Likes Received:
    103

    Jul 9, 2015

    I teach seniors in a very similar district, and I also like WBT... But I limit myself to class/yes and an occasional use of a scoreboard. My students span the whole range of abilities, and they tolerate it fairly well.

    For students who are quiet in class, can you do something digital with a blog or Edmodo? Sometimes kids are much more comfortable writing out their thoughts than speaking up.
     
  40. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Thank you! These are really fabulous ideas and I am definitely going to explore them. This whole issue was really borne out me trying to find a way to better involve my introverts and really quiet kids -- super smart kids that I would just love to see open up a bit more and be more enthusiastic. As an extravert, there is a lot that I admit that I don't "get" about introverts, but I'm trying. I know that over-the-top class participation and "extreme" activities probably aren't in the cards for a lot of these kids -- I don't necessarily think most of them are shy, they're just reserved and very thoughtful and introspective, and I pretty well found out with WBT that they don't like the cheese-factor at all. Again, these are excellent ideas.
     
  41. Cali1997

    Cali1997 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2015

    Most of my kids even bucked on class-yes. Aside from one of my classes, WBT was pretty much a total failure for me, even though I was too stubborn and invested in it to give it up completely, which I should have. I didn't need it for behavior modification -- their behavior was fine before, and it was actually WORSE when I was using a lot of WBT techniques. I tried my best to make it work, but they just hated it.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Backroads,
  2. TeacherNY,
  3. teacherguy111,
  4. MrsL74
Total: 479 (members: 7, guests: 452, robots: 20)
test