Experiment Course—Establish Rules

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It has been a few years since the last time I taught the same class to different groups of students at the same time. I saw this as an opportunity to enhance my teaching skills. Specifically, I planned to combine my knowledge of child-development theories with practice to help me discover what I do well and what I could do better. To better my teaching effectiveness, I kept a record of each lesson I gave.

 

During the first lessons, students and I introduced ourselves. I used this opportunity to establish the class rules as well. Upon hearing the type of class we teach, the students showed great interest. However, we knew that we had to establish firm rules in the very beginning, otherwise they may get overexcited down the road. When introducing themselves, we first asked the students to come up with fun facts about themselves. Then, we asked them to draw those facts on paper for other students to guess. This method really stimulated the students’ desire to know each other. They did a wonderful job interacting with their classmates.

 

The next objective was establishing class rules. We started out by introducing the concept of “rules”, which were not received well by the students. Upon later reflection, I realised that it was probably because the idea of “rules” was too abstract. The students could understand the need for rules and that different circumstances require different set of rules. We were happy enough that we had achieved this level of understanding. We then moved on discussing the specific rules we wanted to uphold in this class. I noticed that Cao Laoshi was very effective in communicating her ideas to students. I approached her after class about “how she could always use a single sentence to communicate what she wanted”. After the first lesson, I tried to refresh my memory on when children  start developing the concept of rules. When kids are still young, parents would tell them what they should do, and what they should not do. This is the inception of the understanding of rules. 

 

In his “Educational Psychology: Theory & Practice”, I read about Jean Piaget’s theory on moral development. I remember him saying that up to 10 years old, children only has a notion of “forced moral” because adults always tell them what they should and what they should not. Subsequently, they are told that if they violate any rules, they will get punished. From 10 to 12, children start to realise that rules are established upon agreement. Therefore, if everyone agrees to change a rule, that rule will be changed. This is the second phase, called “self-disciplinary moral phase”. For fifth-graders, they are right in the middle of those two phases. Students at this stage prefer making judgements based on actors’ intentions and the specific situation rather than an action’s end result. After reading Piaget’s book, I understand the moral development process more clearer than ever. It also allowed me to recognise my own understanding of “rules” was incomplete.

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