There were lots of transitions and variety in activities. The teacher shared multiple personal stories, which was sometimes similar or relatable to the students’ personal lives, which was when students were most engaged, along with video time. The teacher was constantly asking for attention and silence. Videos were used. Students read aloud and had student discussions in groups, which was when the most disruption and disengagement occured. The teacher did not sit down; she was always standing and moving around.
Chromebooks were utilized for the majority of the class time, which was spent on independent work. The teacher was quiet and didn’t ask for silence or attention too often. There were few changes in activities. The teacher was sitting down for the majority of the time. The lectures were few and short. Most students were usually doing what they were supposed to do, but they did not seem eager and passionate about learning. This distinction between students doing what the teacher has asked them to do and students that were excited to learn was not part of my study and was only something that I noticed as I was observing the Biology class. This certainly would be something I would like to investigate in the future.
Classroom observations allowed me to examine KIPP’s different 9th grade teaching styles. These observations allowed me to view student’s actions in order to determine how engaged they are, and they provided me with classroom dynamics as I recorded the teacher’s actions as well. This method seemed to be most fitting because given the standard definitions I have created, it allowed me to record students from one unbiased and uniform perspective as I sat in a suitable position in the classroom from an angle that allowed me to view all students. In addition, because I wanted to minimize classroom disruption and student participation and focus, I chose not to administer surveys to students who, in some cases, had below sixth-grade reading levels. This method ensured minimal bias and inaccuracy from multiple student responses and guaranteed a consistent and reliable data-collection method.
One of the teachers mentioned that there were students with learning disabilities in the classroom. My project did not make that differentiation, meaning that some students that were maybe counted as passively engaged, passively disengaged, or actively disruptive could in fact have been actively engaged, but due to the uniform definitions created, were included in that category. I acknowledge that some students with disabilities that may have been more talkative, quiet, or learn in different ways than others may have been in contradiction with my definitions; however, since I had attempted to make the most replicable and detailed definitions possible, I had to create the definitions that I did.
Another limitation is that I may not have been able to capture all the student’s actions at all times. Since I was only one person observing a classroom of around 25 students from one area of the classroom, I may not have been able to see what a couple of students were doing at every 2-minute interval.
While my intention was not to create a science to english class comparison, since I only had those two classes to observe due to the time constraint of the class, I ended up choosing the successful teaching/classroom methods out of the two classes I had observed. When I contacted the principal of the school and let him know that I wanted to observe one 9th grade STEM class and one 9th grade humanities class, these were the two classes that I was allowed to observe.