Culture and Climate

Classroom Culture and Climate (7th-grade Math)

Observation Notes (What did you see?)

The classroom was set up with desks in columns and rows. In the front of the room was a white board with upcoming dates in the upper left-hand corner. A teacher’s desk was set up in the right next to a list of assignments. On the right wall was a side board with notes. On the left wall was a bookshelf. In the back of the room was a table with extra credit work, a teacher’s desk with a computer and two student computers.

In first period, the class was expected to be quiet and students were corrected several times. I saw more negative reinforcement than positive ones during this period. Teacher had to reseat a couple of students. Since today the students were working on review packets, I saw individual work and teacher-student interactions rather than student-student work.

During this observation, I don’t think I saw much of a transition so if there were transitions, I suppose they went smoothly. Classroom rules were posted in the front of the room. In sum: come prepared, courtesy, respect room. Though students should come prepared, I saw the teacher provide supplies. Most students were courteous but some were told to turn around and the teacher threatened to write students up for talking.

Most students seemed engaged and motivated most of the time. Some of the students thought the work was easy and were given extra credit work when they finished early. Some of the students needed more time and weren’t afraid to ask for help. I would describe this class as warm, colorful, and quiet.

Reflection (What do you think? How will this affect your teaching?)

The classroom layout was appropriate for the activity. Teacher’s desks were out of the way and since I didn’t see the teacher doing much sitting, their location didn’t matter. I would expect some flexibility with seating that would promote group work during different activities.

I think re-seating students was effective and threatening to write students up got the class to quiet down but didn’t provide a positive environment for learning. The teacher labeled Period 1 as “toughest group” but they were also treated differently than other classes later in the day. I saw more encouragement in other classes and would prefer positive reinforcement.

I don’t think much emphasis was placed on practicing and enforcing classroom rules. I think class would have run more smoothly if expected behaviors were taught. Teacher didn’t have to argue with student about bringing supplies so maybe it wasn’t worth worrying about.

I think teacher-student interactions were positive but would have liked to see more student-student interactions. Since there weren’t many acceptable outlets for student-student interactions today, student-student interactions tended to be disruptive. I think a review game and then a study guide for homework would have worked better.


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