Throughout the semester I have found myself checking out my classmates’ blogs, I have had the opportunity to learn about what they are thinking in response to some of the prompts and I am able to see what they are thinking when it is a free write. That being said, I found myself drawn to one specific blog post, it was Rianna’s first entry, where she discussed her experiences working with teaching writing in classrooms. One quote stood out to me, “...I have found that no matter the age or ability level that the biggest factor is making the students feel comfortable [sharing] ideas and asking for help.” This idea never really struck me as one of the most important facts behind teaching writing, that is, until I really started to think about it. I know that growing up I was a very timid student who never would voluntarily raise my hand to share an idea or to ask for help. I just would sit there and hope to god that I would somehow figure it out. Luckily for me, I somehow made it! Unfortunately, I cannot help but think about the many students who are probably not as lucky. I even think about my students at Jamison, many of them would never ask for help if they needed it, instead, they would make up answers and not even try to get any of the work correct. Many of my students were just trying to coast through the year. That was a very common theme for Jamison students I had been told. Moving students on just seemed like the easy way out for much of the confusion that happened in this failing school.
I cannot help but wonder, how can you make students feel comfortable enough to share their ideas or to ask questions? Especially being a student who falls victim to this scenario that seems to happen every day in every classroom. I can honestly say that the same students participate in even my college courses whereas the timid students still are not sharing their ideas on topics for the fear of being judged or even being wrong. I know that is my reason for still not being the first to share in a classroom setting. I know that because I am one of these types of students that I can somehow be able to make my students feel comfortable enough to share...but how?
This has been an idea I have been struggling with. Instead of always having to share ideas aloud, I will have my students write their ideas on post-it notes anonymously and hand them in for the teacher to share aloud. I believe if the fear of speaking aloud and being judge is taken away, students would be more willing to write their true thoughts down. This type of activity was given in a college course I took, I know that I personally wrote my true feelings on the topic without fearing I could be wrong. Rianna’s quote is going to continue to keep me thinking about different ways I could improve the comfort in my future classroom.