An Ode to Attentive Classrooms

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The more and more I delve into the academia world with this program the more I am realizing that the classroom is a vital and important, yet extremely fragile diorama. My undergraduate degree is in communications and marketing so  teaching in a classroom was never  part of my daily learning environment. I had never given too much thought or energy into the creation of an optimal classroom setting. I never realized or comprehended the copious amounts of attention to detail that goes into creating a learning environment that is best suitable for the students at hand. This new found principle of ensuring that every particular step of a classroom is critiqued and planned has given me an admiring perspective of all my professor in the past. This reflection is an ode of praise to all the teachers that have worked scrupulously to maintain a learning culture in which my fellow students and I were allowed and prodded to be successful.

While I had many amazing professors that all enlightened my mind in distinct ways, the one professor that encapsulated all of the teaching devices of the prior two units was Dr. Betty White at Central Connecticut State University. Her classrooms were over flowing with vim and vigor. Her boisterous tactics and booming voice could be heard at the opposite end of the hallway and you know what, I learned the most from her classes and attempted to take as many classes as I could with her even though her grading was nearly impossible to come to terms with.

Her emotion and passion for teaching could be felt by each and every student in each and every one of her classrooms and that in of itself created an attentive atmosphere. Hearing a professor droll through a sludging lecture without any passion, is the quickest way to shut off the minds of the class. Dr. White ensured that this was never the case. Her emotion and character motivated the classroom to want to learn and succeed in her teachings. Her flamboyance and undeniable passion gave the classroom no other choice but to pay attention and learn. As Unit 4 described, “it made the game worth playing”.

To continue my heaping praise of her attentive classroom, Dr. White ensured that monotony and boredom were never an option. This style of loud, almost in your face teaching forced the involvement of everyone in the classroom. Throughout the entire lecture, she would force students into making connections on the spot by randomly calling on people in the class. She would never accept, “I don’t know” as an answer, instead she would openly prod and encourage the student to make connections and build concepts on their own. Doing this allowed students to retain information and truly learn it rather then just memorizing it for a test, reciting it, and then forgetting it once the test was over. In an era where technology rules the day at hand, she somehow found ways to get students to selectively focus and cognitively learn without expunging the learning in technological devices. It was awe-inspiring to see her transfer her motivation and emotions onto the students she taught by grabbing their attention and not letting go for the full length of the class.

In regards to my future as an educator, I have always told myself, even before taking Education classes, to be memorable. I have always hypothesized that being a memorable teacher should be the goal of every professor. I took 40 to 50 college courses and can only remember the names of about 10 professors. The evidence that i have noticed to solidify the claim is that I can still hear their teachings in my head. I can still hear their teachings as I’m debating back and forth on the marketing world with a colleague, reciting lessons that I learned. To be memorable, to be distinct, to have your ideas carry on through your students, you must be able to grab their attention and motivate them. It may be tough, especially in a high school or college setting, to motivate but it is imperative to be unflinchingly rigid in my attempts to grasp their minds and to get them to learn. Dr. White realized that and here I am carrying on her ideas, teachings and thoughts. Emulating her in a classroom would be the final paragraph to this ode of praise dedicated to an attentive classroom.

Related resource showing a different way to get students to pay attention and become involved in the classroom:

http://www.ted.com/talks/ali_carr_chellman_gaming_to_re_engage_boys_in_learning.html 

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