Friday, May 13, 2011
The weekend is upon us
I was reflecting with some other teachers earlier in the week (as we are prone to do), and the discussion turned to what effect having such a small class (14 in my case) has on the students' attitudes and dynamic with one another. It made me think, and I have really been paying attention to this over the last few days. My first conclusion was that there are probably positive effects in terms of the physical space we occupy. By not being able to run away or isolate themselves or others, students are compelled to work things out more often, and accommodate others in class. There is also a tendency to break down pre-existing cliques, and expose students' strengths and weaknesses as friends and "co-workers".
I attended an interesting seminar at the ACPI (Association Canadien des Professeurs d'Immersion) conference I attended last October. The speaker's main idea was that students in contemporary North American classrooms stand to benefit most in the long term if they learn to work collaboratively in a way that benefits themselves and others equally. The jobs of the future, as he put it, will be filled by people with a wide array of skills, good leadership abilities and the ability to solicit and assimilate information from other people and sources. I think that this end is served well by the small class size we have enjoyed this year, because students' physical, mental and emotional comfort zones are pushed frequently and they are forced to adapt if they would like to succeed.
Have a great weekend, and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Things will stay very busy up to the end of the year, so let's not slow down now!
Posted by Sam Paterson at 4:56 PM