Contextual Factors: Knowing Your Students
Matrix of class demographics
The 30 students used in this paper are tenth-graders. Majority of the students are fifteen years old. Fourteen of them are girls while sixteen are boys. All the classes are positioned in different buildings depending on the lessons. Classes are equipped with boards, computers and digital projectors.
|Characteristics|| No of Students
|Ethnicity||7 African American, 10 whites, 5 Latinos, 8 Asians|
|Languages||3 have difficulties with English|
|Academic levels||2 gifted, 3 have special needs, 25 normal needs
|Disabilities||3 hearing problem|
|Socio-economic pattern||5 low income, 14 middle income, 11 high income|
|Family||15 both parents, 8 single parent, 4 grandparents, 3 foster home|
|Lunch||6 free lunch, 12 reduced lunch, 12 pay full lunch|
General and specific implication
Contextual factors can have both general and specific information. Specifically, student characteristics can have major implications on the teaching and learning process in an educational community. For example, ethnicity and race might influence the relationship between the teacher and the students or students and their classmates. Ethnicity can further influence the sensitivity of the student’s social economic background (Bosacki, 2005). The small size of the class allows the teacher to interact effectively with the students. The teacher can ensure that each student participates in class discussions and group work. In the same way, it is easy for the teacher to mark all the assignments and return them in time for the students to revise. Since only three students have special needs, the teacher has an easy time when issuing instructions.
The general implication is the society, district and other school factors. A good example is the policy of the school on disabilities. A school that respects people with disabilities will develop an environment for students with disabilities. Similarly, a school with efficient lunch programs will serve the students well regardless of their financial positions. In addition, socio-economic factors based on family and income levels influence classroom interactions. These factors mostly affect the self- esteem of students, which further the academic performance. Socio-economic factors determine the behavior of the students (Shamshuddin, Dayakara, & Bhaskara, 2007). If a community has diversity then issues of race and ethnicity will not be profound. The values and traditions of a community will influence the learning process.
How the differences and similarities impact daily interactions, instruction, planning, and classroom management plan?
The differences and similarities within a class will influence the daily interaction between the teachers and the students. It will further affect how the teacher gives instructions, plans lessons and manage the class. As a teacher with students from different ethnicities, I have to be careful when planning lessons on the history of America. When dealing with such lessons, I have to remember that there are students who were not born in America. Therefore, they might have limited knowledge on the history. Correspondingly, the assorted cultural makeup of the group is an important element to consider when picking materials to be used in class (Bosacki, 2005). All the materials used must promote positive interactions to avoid harassment or bullying in classrooms (Shamshuddin et al., 2007). While teaching, I have to refrain from using complex English words considering that some students have difficulties in relation to English as a language. During class, I have to speak clearly and audibly to enable the students with hearing problems understand instructions. For such students a teacher can arrange additional tutoring in order to bring the students at par with their peers. The aim of this action is to generate a productive learning environment for all the students. To deal with the students with special needs, I have to introduce a variety of class activities and tests to help these students strengthen their difficult areas. In managing the class, it is important that I stress the significance of respect. All my students are expected to show unconditional respect towards their peers, parents and instructors.
Analysis of data
Based on the information provided in the matrix, the academic abilities of these tenth graders are above average. Twenty-three students have normal needs; two are gifted while three have special needs. These three were categorized as special needs because they are slow in reading and writing. The same students also have problems with the English language because they recently migrated to America. The other students show average development. Like other scholars in different schools in the country, majority of the tenth graders face various challenges. Violent parents raised three of these students. Later, they ended up in foster homes. As a teacher, I have had to organize the class to support these students emotionally and financially while they went through their emotional turmoil. I had to reschedule tests or assignments for their sake. To deal with ethnicity and socio-economic issues the students have had to embrace unity in order to have the same spirit and purpose. Cases of discrimination have occurred a few times but generally, the students appreciate and respect their cultures. Regardless of their difference and similarities, students can be able to interact and learn effectively with the aid of their teachers. Teachers can only be able to achieve this goal by having the knowledge of the diverse needs of their students.
Bosacki, S. L. (2005). The culture of classroom silence. New York, NY: Lang.
Flagstaff Unified School District. (2007).Retrieved from http://www.fusd1.org/fusd1/site/default.asp
Shamshuddin, S., Dayakara, R. V., & Bhaskara, R. D. (2007). Values and academic achievement. New Delhi, India: Discovery Pub.