Monday, October 3, 2011

Introducing a New Student

A couple weeks back, a new student joined the 3rd grade class that I'm student teaching in. She's from Chicago. I noticed that my current mentor, Mr. Agajan, gave her a lot of attention. I don't disagree with that. But, it's still insightful to answer the question of why he does so. Before I think about why he gave her so much attention, I should explain how he gave her attention.

Sample of the First Day Introduction

All of this happened on the single day that she arrived. He put an emphasis on writing her name and having her loudly state how to write it. He made an exercise of the entire class pronouncing her name in chorus. He had her talk about the previous city that she lived in and school that she went to. We looked it up on a world map. He asked her to confirm for the class whether some of what Chabot Elementary and Mr. Agajan does are things that she is familiar with (I can't think of specific examples right now). He put a special emphasis over repeating all of the rules for the new student.

Consequences of the Introduction

Ok. That is what I can provide by way of examples in terms of how he focused attention on the new student. So, what exactly does giving all this attention to the new student do? It probably makes her seem pretty special since everything being talked about is her. As such, it definitely makes her feel more welcomed than alienated.

Also, by talking about the city she lived in, the school that she went to, and how Chabot Elementary and the city she lives in now is similar, it makes her transition to a new city and school feel less foreign. That gives her the idea that she knows how to deal with this seemingly foreign city and school.

The reason for repeating the rules is simple. Everyone else already follows them. If she doesn't follow them, her actions will sometimes conflict with the other students. This will not be conducive to a collaborative or welcoming classroom environment.

Justification for the Focused Attention

There is a good reason for why this new student is being given so much attention. It is easier to teach a student who feels welcomed, doesn't feel like they are in a foreign place, and gets along with the other students than a student who is not all of those things. Why? If she feels more welcomed, then she will be more inclined to both help others and receive help from others (whether that means adults or peers). If the place she lives in and the place she goes to school at doesn't seem foreign, then she will definitely not be distracted by worries of such things while she is in class. Lastly, if she gets along with the other students (due to following the established rules), then they will perceive each other to be on equal terms as far as behavioral expectations go. So, one less thing (a pretty ubiquitous thing throughout the day at that) to bicker about.

Anyway, that is a summary of what I think giving this new student so much attention accomplished and ultimately, why it was done. Feel free to let me know whether I'm missing anything.

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