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The Possible and the Potential Essay

A Paper on Problems that a Teacher May Encounter in the Classroom Before a teacher steps into a classroom and valiantly imparts to the students whatever it is he/she needs to impart, there would inevitably problems that would be encountered. In fact, before, during and even after a lesson has been conducted and the chalk has been put away, there are bound to be problems encountered in each step. The art of teaching actually does not seem to run out of problems and yet, it is a glorious profession that only the best people on planet earth have the capability to practice.

Out of all these inevitable problems, there are those problems which are more prominent than the others—and believe it or not, can easily be solved. In the three articles that are featured in this paper, there are numerous problems which they have pointed out and which can be solved by instructional means. In Holly Hansen-Thomas’ article, “Sheltered Instruction: Best Practices for Ells in the Mainstream”, she points out that sheltered instruction—a form of instruction used to teach ELL students—can also be used in teaching mainstream students.

Sheltered instruction is defined as “a research-based instructional framework that provides clear and accessible content and academic language to ELLs in pre-K–12 grade-level classes” (Hansen-Thomas, 2008). This can help the potential problems that may arise in ELL classrooms wherein students of a different language are trying to learn English. Though Hansen-Thomas has specifically identified what are the things to keep in mind in ELL classes, the things that she also explained can also be applied in mainstream teaching and even other forms of pedagogy.

Potential problems (or things that should be kept in mind to avoid the cropping up of problems) would centre on the instructional materials and if the teacher is competent enough to handle such materials or to even implement certain programs or curriculum. This may be seen as one of the things that would hinder optimum learning from the students if the teacher himself/herself is incapable of optimum pedagogy. The fact that there is already something wrong when the teacher fails to deliver his/her lessons well or even the strategy he/she is trying to employ would greatly reflect on the learners.

Hansen-Thomas unfailingly reiterates that people who can deliver sheltered instruction for students are those teachers who specialize in such instruction. Thus, it is imperative to train and assist teachers in their professional development to solve and to even avoid potential problems in the classroom. This circumstance of incompetent teachers can be seen as a problem since time, money and effort would be wasted on all parties concerned—the teachers, learners, parents and the educational institution. Worst of all, the learners would not learn anything at all or if they do, it would be a misleading form of knowledge or skill.

On the other hand, a different problem is discussed in the article of Amanda O. Latz, Kristie L. Speirs Neumeister, Cheryll M. Adams, and Rebecca L. Pierce entitled “Peer Coaching to Improve Classroom Differentiation: Perspectives from Project CLUE”. Latz et al. (2009) discusses in their article about the decrease in teacher differentiation. This may pose a problem because such method is needed in meeting all the needs, styles and levels of the students. It is commonly known that not all people are alike and this same goes on how students learn, retain learning and desire learning.

Because of this diversity in students’ needs, desire to learn, level of learning, style of learning and other factors such as historical/cultural background, gender and age, there is a need to address everything (no matter how daunting and impossible it may seem) while implementing a strategy that would be fair to everyone. This is a problem for both the educational institution and most especially for the teachers since it would entail much assessment, research and preparation—and such factors are exactly the reasons why according to Latz et al. , fewer people are using differentiation on their teaching.

This decrease in differentiation would greatly pose a problem for the students since their individuality as learners are not met and addressed. When this happens, naturally, only students who are targeted in the objectives of the teachers would fully take advantage of whatever strategy implemented by the teacher. This would mean that those students who are having problems in school due to behavioral problems, psychological/ mental/ emotional instability and even those who are gifted and talented to the point that they are not learning properly due to the inappropriate learning level they are in would never be solved and addressed.

The lack of proper attention to their differences would prove insensitivity and maybe even laziness on the teacher’s part. Latz et al. (2009) sees peer coaching as the answer to support and catalyze teaching differentiation since it would allow help from the all the teachers to come together and cooperate to assess the individuality of the learners and come up with a game plan that would allow them to address that individuality.

In the third and final article wherein Nancy Padak and Cheryl Potenza-Radis (2010) showed an example on how teachers successfully motivated readers who are struggling in their efforts to read on the same level as everyone else. In the article entitled “Motivating Struggling Readers: Three Keys to Success”, Padak et al. (2010) explained that there are students who are having difficulties in reading since they are either not motivated to read or they are ashamed of their incapability to read on the same level as everyone else.

This situation is not new and can be seen as a threat to the learning of a child. Since the child would have such insecure notions about himself/herself, he/she will do anything to worm out of a situation that would entitle him/her to read in public, even to the point of being withdrawn or aloof to everyone else. Moreover, this would develop a psychological effect on the learner which would render him/her with the thinking that he/she is stupid or incapable of learning when in fact, such problem can be addressed. In the same article, Padak et al.

(2010) pointed out that the answer to such problem lies in a conducive environment prepared by the teacher, the zealousness and efforts of the teacher to motivate and to teach the students to read and lastly, a routine implementation of a strategy that the students would enjoy and greatly benefit from. Reading is one of four macro-skills that is considered as a life-long skill needed for personal growth and everyday communications—if an individual cannot read or is hindered from enthusiastic reading the tendency is that the individual’s over all character would be greatly affected.

To end, there are still many other examples of potential problems that may happen in the classroom and it is not up to the teacher alone to address or prevent the onslaught of such problems. It is up to the teachers, learners, parents, educational institution and even the government and the society to go on solving and preventing such problems. After all, a most educated learner who has received optimal capacity for learning would most likely mean a most efficient and valuable member of society in the future—and would not that be a pretty picture to envision?

References Hansen-Thomas, H. (2008). Sheltered instruction: best practices for ELLs in the mainstream. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 44 (4), pp. 165-169. Name of Database. Retrieved: Date of Retrieval, from <Website URL>. Latz, A. O. et al. (2009). Roeper Review 31, pp. 27-39. Name of Database. Retrieved: Date of Retrieval, from <Website URL>. Padak, N. et al. (2010). Motivating struggling readers: three keys to success. New England Reading Association Journal 45 (2), pp. 1-7. ProQuest Education Journals database. Retrieved: Date of Retrieval, from <Website URL>.


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