“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Classroom news

I had an excellent psychology lesson today. We're studying
personality, and I asked my students to list as many personality
temperaments and traits that they could think of, then we shared them
by writing them on the board. I told them that I'm really quite shy,
but easy going, which surprised many of them. We really are such
different people in the classroom. As we brainstormed I added more.

My temperament: easy-going, shy, calm, patient

My traits: curious, perfectionist, multi-tasking, devil's advocate,

It was really interesting to see what my students wrote about
themselves. One of my quietest students wrote that she was talkative.
Another two students wrote that they nag! One student admitted she was
blunt, and I could completely see it. Others were shy, impatient,
bossy, aggressive, obnoxious, perfectionists, obsessive, optimistic,
pessimistic, meticulous. Two of the best actors in the school both
said they were introverted! It was all very interesting.


Last week I had a day where I had the best and worst lesson I've had
for a while. In Psychology (again), we were doing a lesson on ego
defense mechanisms (on how we cope with anxiety inducing situations).
I divided them into groups and gave them two mechanisms each. They
were then responsible for creating a skit to demonstrate that
mechanism. What fun!! The best skit that I can remember was a
combination presentation where the students had 'regression' and
'sublimation'. They organized two students as parents having an
argument. Then one student "regressed" doing every single thing on the
textbook's possibility list: she had a tantrum, she peed her pants,
she got aggressive, she cried and she stomped around!! The other
student had to express his unacceptable emotion (aggression in this
case) in a socially acceptable manner (i.e. a sport). Instead of
choosing something more logical like boxing or basketball, he decided
to horse-back ride across the classroom!! Hilarious! Other skits
demonstrated projection (putting unacceptable feelings onto someone
else), reaction formation (transforming anxiety-producing thoughts
into opposites in consciousness), rationalization, repression,
displacement, and of course, the classic: denial. So that was the good
lesson: fun, motivated, interested students enjoying and learning.

The following class is my difficult class. They aren't motivated,
complain about everything we do, and there are hyperactive boys that
make it very difficult to teach. One student was half an hour late,
began talking back, and refusing to do any work because I wouldn't
allow him to go and get water and overall made things incredibly
difficult. I wanted to scream and pull out my hair. Unfortunately it
soured a good day.


I'm having my students do another exercise at the moment. It seems
incredibly rewarding for them, or at least I hope it is!

These were bonus exercises: the first requested that they interview an
elderly relative and talk with them about their lives in the various
developmental stages. What went well? What didn't? What have they
learned about love? Money? Relationships? Growth? Happiness?

The second exercise involved two letters. The first letter was to be
written to their imaginary son at the age of 18. They had to talk
about their strengths as a parent, what their ideal characteristics in
a person would be (akin to Kipling's 'If' or 'Desiderata'), and where
they hoped their son would progress to. The second letter was more
self-reflecting. It was to be written to their parents, thanking them
for being parents. It had to mention something significant in terms of
development that they had an impact on as a parent. They had to write
one strength and weakness of each parent, what their personal values
were, and what impact their parents may have had on this. I've been
thinking that I could benefit from such deep self-reflection!! Perhaps
I should write such a letter!
Anyway, I may just write them!!

1 comment:

Rama said...

My temperament: uncommitted, introverted, overly-sensitive, passive agressive

My traits: curious, multi-tasking, cold, habitual, non-confrontational

Though I'm sure others may disagree. :) A cool exercise, nonetheless!!