Oct 30, 2008

Power Teaching

As part of my reclaiming my classroom and myself, I finally followed up on a reference to Power Teaching. My first impression is that it is a little gimmicky for me. But by the end of the 7 minute video I was seeing possibilities.

I started using the class/yes technique the very next day (Wednesday). I adapted that to clase/profe. I thought about keeping it with the yes response of sí, but I liked the way clase and profe both have similar cadence. Since the idea is to have the class call the response back to you as you say it, the cadence of the words struck me as important.

I also started the scoreboard. Now, this is a lot like the participation systems I have tried in the past, except that it affects the entire class rather than just an individual. And what a difference that has made! Students who have never cared how many points I took from them or how many págames they owed me are suddenly uncomfortable when their peers are pressuring them to behave.

My husband teaches at a detention center that is based on getting the students to change their attitudes and behaviors through implementing a positive peer pressure system. And this is exactly the same thing.

In addition to addressing some of the more egregious behavior, I have also been able to truly encourage the behaviors I have wanted to see all along. Yesterday we were reading the novel Pobre Ana, and we read that Ana's family rarely eats carne (meat.) One of my students who rarely participates actively pointed out that this was just like the word carnivore. Instant extra credit point. I have another student who struggles with academics. He volunteered to translate the paragraph. I coaxed him through the paragraph, breaking it into easily digestible chunks and pointing out the definitions for him. When he finished, I had the class applaud him and I gave the class a point. Yet another student asked me what a word meant, and I was quick to give a point. Up until now students have been conflicted about asking for help. They know they need it, but they are embarassed to voice that in front of their peers. And now, they are helping the class by voicing it so the stigma is gone. Cool!

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