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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teacher Inquiry: Some more videos

So, as I've said in earlier posts, this year I am involved in an inquiry project with teachers from my cohort of the Bay Area Writing Project.

My question: What is the nature of discourse in my middle school math class?

I have several sources of information.

The one I am focussing on using at this time is video. I want to see both how I present material (ideas, cues, vocal style and physical style), how my students react to what they hear from me, and how they contribute to the conversation: both constructively and not.

I will be posting two short videos: one where I present the latest Problem of the Week and another where students are working at their table groups with y=mx+b.

I notice in both videos a very relaxed environment. My voice is extremely understated. I sound nice, I respond to students clearly, but at the same time, I speak slowly and a little lilt is in there. I believe my intention is to cue when what I say is important to hear: but I wonder whether this is what my students are hearing from this.

It was interesting, though, that when they asked about the video came (FLIP), I told them I was examining how I spoke in class, in part due to some feedback that I have a monotonous voice. Several key players in the class emphasized that I shouldn't worry about this: that I shouldn't have to change my voice. I think I agreed with them superficially, but I also recognize that I can pick up the speed, be a little less meditative in tone, while still maintaining a comprehensible flow of information in the class.

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