I had the pleasure of observing Mr. David Knight. Mr. Knight teaches second grade at Bob Hope Primary School on Kadena Air Base. Mr. Knight and I decided that I would observe in the morning for three hours. I arrived at nine o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 just as the students were settling for the morning. As I walked in the door most of the students were seated on the floor facing the smart board. Those that were not seated were sitting in chairs or standing in the same area. Mr. Knight was in the center of the children. The desks were arranged in workstations with four to five desk at each station.
There were a total of four desk workstations. Computers were in the back corner of the room set up like a small computer lab. Across from the door was an area that he referred to as the library. The students turned in completed work, retrieved worksheets, and worked on reading and small group projects in the library area of the class. Mr. Knight’s desk was to the right as soon as you entered the door. This position gave him visual access to all workstations in the room. I entered the room with little distraction and took a seat in the back of the class behind the students.
I immediately identified the educational philosophy that Mr. Knight demonstrates. He demonstrates progressivism mostly, but leans heavily towards social reconstructivism. It was obvious in the first ten minutes of my observation that he allows the students to be the center of the educational process. He stressed teamwork in his responses during my interview. He feels that it is important for all students to succeed at their own level. He creates moment of success by assigning a class leader. The Class leader’s responsibility is to lead the class in reciting common facts like the day of the week and the weather.
Then the class leader led them in counting by fives on the hundreds chart, class fitness, the school song, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then Mr. Knight loaded the daily announcements on the smart board and the kids read the school mission statement, the school vision, and listened to the school announcements. This time of the day was referred to as “Morning Meeting”. I was impressed with the participation of the class. They really seemed to enjoy the morning meeting. I felt like it was a great way to model teamwork. The class leader made all the decisions and the class had to follow.
When in doubt Mr. Knight would remind them that it is the class leaders job to instruct and the classes responsibility to follow. I found it interesting that he never took the power from the class lead, even when she was not certain or did not clarify directions. Mr. Knight let her lead and allowed her the chance to figure out what needed to be done so that she could succeed. I personally would have made suggestions five minutes into the morning meeting to get the ball rolling, but he was completely comfortable with giving her the time she needed.
I thought that was great and realized I may need to work on identifying times to assist and when to step back and let the student be successful. Mr. Knight stated that technology is a valuable asset in the classroom when used properly and he used the smart board to support just about everything he presented. Doing so required the kids to leave their seats and go to the smart board area. I felt like there was too much movement and it caused distractions and confusion at times. The students never stayed in one place for longer than fifteen minutes.
Although I completely fell in love with the idea of using the smart board, I felt like there should be a better way to incorporate the board without having the students move around so much. I would even go so far as to say that rearranging the desk would eliminate this problem all together. Mr. Knight told me that he follows the Love Logic classroom management model. Jim Fay, Foster W. Cline, and Charles Fay developed love Logic. This method is supposed to set boundaries and place the power of problem solving on the student.
Mr.Knight held private conferences with students that were not conducting themselves within the boundaries of the classroom. I was not privy to the conferences but I am not certain they worked. I observed the same students in multiple conferences with Mr. Knight within the three hours that I was there. While I will not go so far as to say that it did not work, I will say that there should be an alternative to the private conference if the behavior is not corrected. I think that the idea of pulling the student to the side and having a private conversation about behavior is a great idea.
It sends the message to the rest of the class that the behavior will be addressed and it allows the teacher to make a private personal connection with the student. This will be a strategy that I use, but I will make sure to have a back up because I cannot spend the majority of the day having private conferences. Based upon what I observed and the way in which Mr. Knight responded to the questions I would have to agree that he is spot on in his theory and practice. References Love and Logic Institute, Inc. (2011). Love and Logic: Skills for home, school and life. Retrieved from: http://www. loveandlogic. com.