Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Avoir et Etre

Monsieur Lopez was very impressive in the way he managed his classroom. He had complete control and I think this was due to the children's obvious respect for him. This respect is key in building a good classroom atmosphere, especially when classes are large as they will be in India. Monsieur Lopez built this respect up by respecting the children as well. It's easy for kids to dislike someone who is simply there to be an authority figure and lay down rules. However, Mr. Lopez made it clear through individual time spent with the kids that he appreciated them and was looking out for their well-being. This way the kids grew to understand that everything he did was on their behalf and they were willing to be on their best behavior for him. He knew what was happening in the kids lives, for example when he asked about the one boy's sick dad, and the children knew that he cared about them. I think it will be important to really get to know the kids in India so that they understand that respect is a two-way street just as M. Lopez's kids learned. He was also able to hold the attention of all the students. He always got down to their level when he spoke to them so he could make eye-contact and make it more clear that he was on the same level as them. He also asked a lot of questions to the children, instead of him just having all the answers. This allowed the children to come up with the answers themselves which made them think more, but also gave them a feeling of pride for their work. It's important for the kids to feel good about themselves to they are inspired to continue working. He was also very flexible with his lesson plans. If one child asked a question in the middle of oe of his activities, he would allow them to talk about it for a while. By doing this they learned more about each other, and he learned more about them, which further strengthened their relationship. They also felt comfortable participating in discussion because he never shut them down. He made them feel as though their opinions were all very meaningful. I learned a lot from this movie about what it takes to earn the respect of a classroom filled with kids from different ages. It basically requires having an open ear to the everything that is said, and allowing the children to play a role in their own education. Also, simple things like calling someone directly by name, and eye-contact can really help demand attention. Mainly, I would like to get the message across that I respect the kids, and I expect the same from them, not that I consider myself a superior.

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